Merry Xmas, Nunavut homeowners: the QEC just hiked your power bill
Utility imposes surcharge of 1.25 cents per kilowatt-hour
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.