Saskatchewan residents will not only face an increase at the gas pumps come April 1, SaskPower and SaskEnergy will also be increasing their monthly charges to accommodate the federally imposed carbon tax.
The Government of Saskatchewan has challenged the carbon tax in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, however, the time-frame as to when a decision will be made on the matter is undefined.
Additionally, it has been reported that regardless of the ruling, whomever it is against, is likely to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. This naturally, will add to the time frame until a final decision is made and the tax is set to be implemented regardless of where it sits in the legal process.
According to SaskPower, “residential customers can expect to pay about $18 a year in 2019. This cost will rise to $63 a year in 2022. You’ll start seeing this on your bills starting April 1, 2019, and it will be retroactive to Jan.1”.
Dustin Duncan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower, said during a media scrum, the money customers pay to SaskPower for the carbon tax will be held in a trust account until the crown corporation is required to remit it to the federal government, which Duncan believes to be June 2020. If the provincial government is successful with challenging the carbon tax before then, those dollars will be refunded to those who paid them, if not, they will be remitted to the federal government.
Individual industrial customers with SaskPower, such as large oil and manufacturing companies, can expect to be pay an additional $164,600 this year and a total of $617,500 by 2022.
SaskEnergy has stated customers will see approximately a $109 increase on their bill for the first year and an additional $54 per year for the next three years. SaskEnergy clarified their remittance schedule is much more frequent than SaskPower’s and therefore will be not holding carbon tax paid by it’s customers in a trust account in hopes of refunding.
Bronwyn Eyre, Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy, stated the crown corporation worked hard to ensure no rate increases would take place this year, however, the federal carbon tax will still be adding to customer’s monthly expenses. Eyre said the carbon tax will collect $52 million this year and a total of $546 by the year 2022, from SaskEnergy customers.
Although it is being called a carbon tax, it will still be taxed. The provincial government stated it will not be charging PST on the carbon tax, or carbon charge as it is alternatively called, however, GST will still be applied to the carbon tax/charge.
The two crown corporations stated the new charges will be outlined on the monthly bills to differentiate from the other dues associated with their customers energy costs.