The NDP Opposition is pushing against the Saskatchewan Party government over SaskPower rates in northern Saskatchewan.
Over the years, many northerners have spoken on the high SaskPower rates they experience in their communities.
Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger told the provincial legislature on Tuesday afternoon that his office is consistently questioned about these high rates.
“People in both northern constituencies come to us all the time with huge power bills that are caused by higher rates charged to northern communities,” said Belanger.
The NDP’s First Nations and Metis Relations Critic claimed government spending was to blame. He called on the government to address this issue in the upcoming 2018/2019 budget.
“When will the Sask. Party’s budget finally include action to address the unfair power bills that so many in the north are struggling with?” Belanger asked the legislature.
(PHOTO: Screenshot of Dustin Duncan during Question Period)
In response, Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says the way SaskPower calculates their rates is the same across Saskatchewan. Duncan also claimed northerners were experiencing the same problems under the previous NDP government.
The provincial government has been vocal in their opposition to a federal carbon tax. Duncan believes imposing a carbon tax on Saskatchewan would increase the already high power rates for northern residents.
“A carbon tax would make many services and products that people in this province purchase all the more expensive,” he said. “We will fight (a carbon tax) every step of the way.”
Back in 2014, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce released a Northern Business Task Force Report. Among the several recommendations in the report was a suggestion to change the way northerners are charged for power.
The Chamber recommended that SaskPower give northerners a break on their power bills by making northern electrical rate codes the same as urban areas.
(PHOTO: Screenshots of Buckley Belanger during Question Period.)