Merry Xmas, Nunavut homeowners: the QEC just hiked your power bill

Utility imposes surcharge of 1.25 cents per kilowatt-hour

The Qulliq Energy Corp. is adding a special surcharge called a “rate rider” to all customer bills, equal to 1.25 cents per kilowatt-hour, as of Nov. 1. (FILE PHOTO)

By Nunatsiaq News

Homeowners, business operators and others who pay for their own electricity in Nunavut will see an increase in their power bills that kicked in on Nov. 1, the Qulliq Energy Corp. said on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

That’s because the QEC is adding a special surcharge called a “rate rider” to all customer bills, equal to 1.25 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The rate rider is in effect from Nov. 1, 2018, until March 31, 2019.

For a customer using 500 kilowatt-hours a month, this will add about $6.25, excluding GST, to their monthly bills, the QEC said in a news release.

Rate riders are intended to balance out the fuel price used to calculate power rates with the actual price of fuel that the QEC ends up paying.

So rate riders can sometimes be distributed as refunds, though not in this case.

The Nov. 1 start date for the rate rider coincides with increases in diesel prices that the Government of Nunavut announced last October.

“The requested fuel rider charge is the result of the recently announced increase in territorial fuel prices,” Jeannie Ehaloak, the minister responsible for the QEC, said in the release.

For the QEC, this means they’ll start paying more for the diesel fuel they burn in their generating stations throughout Nunavut.

The diesel price increases are as follows:

• Five cents per litre on all diesel products throughout Nunavut, excluding Iqaluit.

• Fifteen cents per litre on diesel fuel in Iqaluit.

Though the GN owns the power corporation, the power corporation is also a big GN fuel customer, and must adjust for GN-imposed fuel price increases.

And the rate rider surcharge is, officially, still a “request” that the QEC submitted to Ehaloak.

She’ll seek recommendations on that submission from the Utility Rates Review Council, and then make a final decision after the URRC gets back to her.

But people and organizations in Nunavut who pay their own power bills will start paying more now.

“QEC customers can expect the charge to be automatically applied to their monthly bills, starting with the November utility bill, with the exception of public housing tenants who are subsidized under the user pay program,” Bruno Pereira, the QEC president and CEO, said in a news release.

Public housing tenants not affected.

Under that user pay program, public housing tenants pay an extra-low rate of only six cents a kilowatt-hour, many times lower than average residential and commercial rates.

The Nunavut Housing Corp. pays most of the actual cost of power used by public housing tenants, which means these tenants aren’t affected by the rate rider.

This is the first rate rider surcharge since 2013, Ehaloak said.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Explain this again….. on

    So explain to me how oil prices are at record lows, specifically Canadian Alberta product, yet Nunavut has a fuel rider increase ? I am not expert, and there must be some other reasons, Nunatsiaq explain this?

    • Posted by Gas Man on

      The fuel used in powerplants in Nunavut isn’t what you put in your truck. It’s special fuel chemically designed for use in the arctic (temperature, humidity, volatility, long-term storage stability, etc.). It’s made in small batches by southern companies, who get to name their price when they sell to the GN since it’s such a niche product.

      It sucks, but until we move the grid to renewable energy, we are stuck with it.

      • Posted by Explain this….. on

        I understand that it is different than what goes in our vehicle and what goes to the power plants, but somehow in both cases the raw material cost crude is going down. To the other commenters reply in regards to the when the fuel is purchased, I also understand that this year may have cost more then previous, due to the timeline to ship up to Nunavut. However the rider is for future increases. So if the GN currently went and did its purchasing for next year now during the depressed market. The savings would be larger than what QEC will earn from charging the few customers it actually has more. (and don’t say they cannot. Airlines have negotiated multiyear fuel purchases in advance of when the product is delivered) Nunavut should be looking to secure multi year deals similar to companies all over the world to reduce the cost to consumers!

      • Posted by Wrong Gas Man on

        Wrong, the diesel fuel is exactly the same, we transfer directly from our tank farm to the power corp so BS on special fuel.

    • Posted by Jim Bell on

      Thanks for the question. I’m not an expert and you would really need to talk to someone at CGS or the QEC about this.

      But the oil price crash that you’re talking about started just a few weeks ago.

      In the summer and early fall months of 2018, when I presume the GN would have bought and distributed this year’s fuel supply, crude oil prices were much higher than they are now.

      This X-Y graph on the BBC web site shows the dramatic decline in crude oil prices since the beginning of October. Unfortunately, all or most of Nunavut’s fuel supply would have been bought and shipped before the price fell.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cmjpj223708t/oil

      • Posted by gyyy on

        understand but the rider is based on future change, if it went down, then why do they need a rider if i can be redistributed as refunds since it was cheaper than last time?>>

  2. Posted by Carbon Tax Payer on

    So in the end will QEC, or GN get their fuel carbon tax money back? If so then do we get our fuel rider money back?

  3. Posted by Putuguk on

    I do not think any fuel delivered to Nunavut this year came from Alberta. It all came off the east coast of Canada. The crude oil either came out of the middle east or the US and was refined into Arctic Diesel. The price of oil to watch is probably around March to May of any year. This is when the GN purchases fuel is to start being loaded into tankers headed north. In May 2018 the price of oil was $80 a barrel. That is around $30 a barrel more than same time in 2017 when the diesel we burnt throughout 2017/18 was bought. That is why the price is higher now. It is back down to around $60 a barrel today, so who knows, in 5 months from now when they buy for 2019/20 the electrical costs might be adjusted down.

  4. Posted by Fuel Man on

    The fuel that goes to the power corp is exactly the same diesel fuel that goes in your house. How do I know this? because I transfer that fuel.

  5. Posted by Concerned Homeowner on

    We purchased a home in Iqaluit iand received $1200 hydro bill this past month. $900+ the month before. Living in Iqaluit for the last 4 years have we ever had a bill over $200. Our concerns are going to be taken up to the company as this cannot be correct. We are energy conscious and have oil for heating. Makes no sense at all.

  6. Posted by Frozen_inuk on

    Why didn’t they ask for it when they purchased the fuel and not almost a year later after purchase

  7. Posted by The Native on

    The average household electrical use in Canada in 2010 was around 1000 kilowatt hours. I only imagine that this has increase specially in Nunavut due to the colder temperatures. Nice trying to sneak in the 500 hours to make it seem less.

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