SaskPower customers residing on the Lac La Ronge Indian Band reserve are paying a higher monthly basic charge, than those living in Air Ronge or La Ronge despite using the same connection and being neighbours.
This SaskPower said has to do with how your community is classified under the provincial Municipalities Act.
The different classifications allow the Utility to charge more for rural communities.
“The vast majority of First Nations and reserves are classified as rural. So as such, we charge them a different rate than say a customer in Saskatoon or Prince Albert,” said SaskPower spokesperson Scott McGregor.
La Ronge reserve members are charged an additional $10 per month for their basic charge, compared to those in La Ronge and Air Ronge.
As for any consideration or leeway provided for First Nations in this circumstance, McGregor said SaskPower defaults to the wording of the Municipalities Act on how it will apply charges.
“It doesn’t make any sense. I just think the government needs to amend it, change it, do whatever to make sure that we’re all paying in the tri-community, the same basic monthly rate. Why would you charge on-reserve more than Air Ronge and La Ronge,” Cumberland MLA Doyle Vermette asked.
“Are there other First Nations communities, that border a municipality that are paying the same rate? Why would you do that? It doesn’t make any sense. I’m hoping SaskPower will just say that this is wrong, doesn’t make any sense. And we’re going to correct it.”
Any changes will have to be made at the Minister’s level. A request for comment from Minister Don Morgan on this situation was not immediately returned.
(Photo of SaskPower Rates for the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Air Ronge and La Ronge. Courtesy of Tayven Roberts Facebook.)