On Thursday morning, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation announced electricity rates for its customers will increase “on average by two percent” – effective Friday.
According to the power corporation, that means residential customers using around 1,000 kWh per month in the winter will pay between $4 and $7.50 extra per month.
The announcement follows the conclusion of a two-year period in which the power corporation’s proposed rates were analyzed and reviewed by the territory’s Public Utilities Board, with the aim of ensuring customers do not pay more for their energy than is necessary.
That board filed its final decision on the power corporation’s proposed rates last week.
The increase is actually less than NTPC had initially requested.
In 2016, the power corporation filed documents proposing three years of increases: 4.8 percent in 2016-17, four percent in 2017-18, and four percent in 2018-19.
Rate hikes in line with that request were approved for the first two financial years, but 2018-19’s increase is not as steep as the corporation’s planned four percent.
Jay Grewal, NTPC’s president and chief executive, said in a statement: “The two years [applying for this increase] took to complete should reassure customers that decisions about electricity rates are carefully considered to ensure that rates are kept as low as possible.”
Figures provided by the power corporation suggest customers in the Snare hydro zone will pay an extra $3.60 on average per month, an increase of 1.1 percent.
The same increase applies in the thermal zone, which includes Aklavik, Colville Lake, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Fort Liard, Fort McPherson, Fort Simpson, Gameti, Inuvik, Jean Marie River, Lutsel k’e, Nahanni Butte, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk, Tulita, Ulukhaktok, Whati, and Wrigley.
Customers in the Taltson zone, though, will pay an extra $7.89, a three percent increase.
In Yellowknife and Hay River, NTPC supplies a separate distributor – Northland Utilities – which then provides that electricity to residents.
The wholesale price at which NTPC sells to Northland will increase by 1.6 percent in Yellowknife and 1.5 percent in Hay River. It’s then up to Northland to decide how it passes that increase on to customers.
What happens after 2018-19 remains to be determined.
General rate applications, or GRAs – which are used to set the rates NTPC can charge – do not have to run back-to-back. This particular general rate application ends with 2018-19 but need not necessarily immediately result in a new set of proceedings for 2019-20 onward.
In theory, the power corporation could leave rates untouched for 2019-20, although a freeze in rates has been a rare occurrence this decade.