Mr. Speaker, the cost of energy continues to be one of the leading contributors to the high cost of living in the Northwest Territories. This past winter, a drop in wholesale prices for heating fuel and gasoline gave the Department of Public Works and Services the opportunity to pass savings on to the residents of some of our most remote communities.
Through the Petroleum Products Program, the Fuel Services Division of the Department of Public Works and Services provides essential fuel services to 16 NWT communities where the private sector does not. Fuel is supplied via winter road to nine of these communities. This year, thanks to lower market costs, the Department was able to reduce retail heating fuel, diesel fuel and gasoline prices from four percent to more than 18 percent per litre.
With this in mind, Mr. Speaker, the Fuel Services Division is committed to passing on cost savings on fuel products it provides wherever possible. We anticipate that with the present stability in the market price for fuel, the Department will be able to pass similar savings on to those communities resupplied by barge this summer.
Lower fuel prices have provided some relief from the high cost of living to residents in Whatì, Gamètì, Wekweètì, Jean Marie River, Nahanni Butte, Trout Lake, Wrigley, Délįnę, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake and Tulita. As residents and as a government, we must continue to improve our energy awareness, promote energy efficient behaviour, and seek out affordable alternative and renewable long-term energy solutions in order to achieve our vision of an environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories.
The Fuel Services Division is a key function in the newly established Energy activity within the Department. The Energy activity is also actively engaged in identifying renewable and alternative fuels and energy solutions to better support the GNWT’s goals of energy efficiency, sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.