Thank-you to Councillor Budd for quickly confirming the the City does in fact charge a 10 per cent premium on regular posted SaskPower rates.
As a reseller of power that is purchased at a wholesale rate and sold at a mark-up retail rate, the City has the right to set whatever rate structure they wish. Their hands are not tied by any clause in the Power Act, and SaskPower lets us resell the power at whatever rate we chose.
I have never argued that we don’t have a right to add a premium to rates posted by SaskPower, but equally we have no obligation to do so either. It is our obligation, when adding the premium, that we be transparent and upfront and not try to sell this thing as something that it is not. If we choose to have power rates higher than our neighbours, that is our choice, but let’s not suggest someone else is to blame. I believe the City also has the obligation and responsibility in the name of transparency to spell out the extra premium added to the SaskPower rates, both in their rate schedule documents and on our monthly electrical statements.
Our power rates are much like our property tax rates. Our council has the legal authority to set those rates at whatever level they deem. I would argue that much like the tax rate hikes, they have an obligation to be open and transparent and not try to get cute with the numbers. In his recent budget address to council the Mayor stated ”Our Light and Utility matches rates set out by SaskPower”. This statement is incorrect. If he needed to address the electrical rates, he could have said that our rates include a 10 per cent premium on posted SaskPower rates and he would have been accurate.
If the premium on SaskPower rates was common knowledge as our Councillor would have us believe, why is it that not even all members of Council were aware of the premium. Obviously some on the inside may have known but it appears they failed to disclose it to others. If not all members of Council were aware of the situation, how should they expect members of the general public to have that knowledge.
The Power Premium issue seems to have similar characteristics to our recent budget. Our budget was touted as having a 9.2 per cent increase, when in fact it was a 15.2 per cent increase when the previously announced 6.0 per cent increase is factored in. We need to have all the numbers, and not only the ones which seem to make for a better news release.
Our citizens are not unreasonable, all they want and deserve is open, honest, fair, transparent, and accountable municipal government.
Don Robinson - Swift Current