GN allows more time to critique Qulliq

Input deadline extended for proposed power surcharge



Energy Minister Ed Picco has bowed to pressure from the Iqaluit business lobby to allow more time for public submissions on the latest application to raise power rates.

The Qulliq Energy Corporation has asked the Utility Rates Review Council for permission to charge an extra surcharge on power rates, which would be used to help offset the costs of large capital projects, like upgrading power stations.

The original deadline for public submissions on the proposal was Aug. 5. It’s now been extended to Aug. 31.

Last week, the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce condemned the timing and substance of the surcharge proposal.

Ken Spencer, the president of the chamber, said he wants to know how much customers would pay for another proposed surcharge, to offset rising fuel costs, before analyzing the latest application. He also warned that the cost of increased power rates would likely be passed down from businesses to consumers.

Under the old scheme inherited from the Northwest Territories, customers in individual communities footed the bill for infrastructure upgrades themselves, which sometimes leads to astronomical increases in power bills when it’s time to replace an aging power station.

The new proposed surcharge would create a special fund to help pay for these capital projects on a Nunavut-wide basis. The application was submitted at the URRC’s request.

Much had been made of the timing of the energy corporation’s application, which coincides with summer vacation for many business owners. But the QEC had to make the application within 90 days of the URRC report’s release in mid-February this year.

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