Atkinson Answers Northern Critics Of Relief Plan

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 at 13:58



Saskatchewan Crowns Minister Pat Atkinson is defending how her government’s recently-announced home heating relief plan will play out in the North.


The government will issue rebate cheques of up to $200 this winter to households and businesses that use propane or heating oil.


Commercial customers of natural gas in southern Saskatchewan will see a saving of $971 through the government plan, and that has some northern leaders and businesses crying foul.


However, Atkinson says the need for the plan came primarily from the Rate Review Panel’s recommendation for a large natural gas rate hike.


Atkinson notes there isn’t a rate review panel process for the cost of propane or heating oil, but the government decided to throw in a rebate for users of those types of fuel.


She also says the cost of those energy sources hasn’t been rising as substantially as the cost of natural gas.


As well, Atkinson points out that northerners on social assistance will have their additional home heating costs covered by the government, and there will be other rebates for people living on other types of allowances.