Your Power Bill Questions Answered | Tuesday, March 19, 2013
A reminder that we'll be in Dawson City, Mayo and Faro this week and are offering to meet with any of our customers in those communities who may have questions about their electricity bills. We'll help you understand what the various charges are on your bill, how and why we estimate bills, and we'll help you identify any "energy hogs" that might be driving up your electricity bills. We'll also have some energy saving products to give away.
Dawson - March 20th - KIAC - 5 to 8 p.m.
Mayo - March 21st - Community Hall - 4 to 7 p.m.
Faro - March 22nd - Sportsman's Lounge - 2 to 6 p.m.
Please bring your electric bills with you.
If you can't make it, you may find this information sheet useful.
Estimates and Higher than Normal Bills | Monday, February 18, 2013
We have had questions from some of you lately about your recent electricity bills. Some of you said your bills were higher than usual, and wanted to understand why. Others asked when and how we do an estimate instead of an actual reading, since in some cases your January bills were based on an estimate.
First, to the question about the higher than normal bills. Please note we can only address queries from Yukon Energy customers; if you receive your power bill from Yukon Electrical Company Limited and have specific questions, you will need to contact YECL.
The bill you received in January was for energy consumption during December. As you know, it was a very cold month, and for some people it meant needing to plug in vehicles more often than usual. Added to that is the fact that at Christmas, most people tend to use more electricity. There is often more cooking done in the home and more use of electric lights. You may have guests, or children home from university, meaning more hot water is used; hot water can be a big draw on electricity.
During cold weather, some people tend to supplement their home heating by using small portable electric heaters. You may not be aware that those heaters use a large amount of power....perhaps $50 a month or more.
Because of the holiday schedule, your meter was read after 34 or 35 days instead of the usual 29 or 30 days. The longer time between meter readings can account for some of the bill increase.
On top of that, the Yukon Utilities Board approved an interim rate increase of 3.75 percent that went into effect on Jan. 1st, so that too will have been reflected on your most recent bill.
Now an explanation about estimates: we do our very best to read meters every month. However if we can't get to your meter for some reason, our system does an estimate. For example, there was an estimate done in early January for some of the communities we serve because it was -50 and we didn't want to send our meter readers out in such cold weather. Another reason we may have to do an estimate is because there is something preventing us from getting to your meter (a locked gate perhaps, an aggressive dog, or a path that has not been cleared of snow).
In doing an estimate, our system is set up to use the previous year’s usage. For instance, if you used approximately 12,000 kW last year, the system would take that number, divide it by 365 days and then multiply it by 30 days to come up with the figure for the month (in this case 986 kW). The next time your meter is read, we take your actual energy usage and true it up with the estimate gathered from the previous month.
We hope this helps you understand your electric bill. We are planning to travel to Faro, Dawson and Mayo (where most of our customers live) sometime next month to give people an opportunity to sit down with us and go over their bills face to face. Watch this blog for further details.
Be Kind to Your Meter Reader | Monday, November 26, 2012
With snow on the ground once again, we would ask that you ensure there is a clear path to your electric meter. Without access to your meter we can only estimate your power usage. We will typically estimate on the high side.
We also ask that you secure your dog(s) away from meter areas and keep the area near your meter free of obstacles.
If you see a Yukon Energy meter with cracked or broken glass, do not touch it and warn others to stay away. Please call (867) 993-5565 or 1-877-712-3375 to have it repaired or replaced.
Taking these steps will enable us to read your electric meter accurately and safely. Many thanks.
Investigating a High Winter Power Bill | Monday, November 5, 2012
No matter how careful you are, there's a good chance that you'll use more electricity during the winter months, especially if you have electric heat. Shorter days mean our lights are on longer, and we tend to use appliances such as electric stoves longer or more often. Winter is also when we plug in our vehicles, something that can be a big draw on power.
If you receive a bill and you think it’s higher than it should be, we'd be happy to work with you to investigate the cause. But first, you can do a bit of sleuthing on your own. For instance, compare your usage. Look at how many kilowatts you consumed compared to other months to see if it has increased. There’s a graph on your bill that shows your consumption each month for the past year.
Think about what may have been different in the last couple of months. For instance, did you have visitors in your home that might have accounted for higher energy usage (extra showers or higher washer/dryer and dishwasher use)? Have you recently used electronics such as portable space heaters, which draw a lot of power? If it’s around winter holidays such as Christmas, you might be baking more, using Christmas lights, your young adult children might be home from university, etc.
Note that we have asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve a rate increase of 6.5 percent in 2013, but it will be some time before we know if that will be granted (the YUB could approve the full amount of our request, a smaller percentage, or none at all). In the meantime the Utilities Board has granted an interim rate increase of 3.75 percent starting on January 1, 2013. We will notify you on this blog once we receive the Utilities Board's final ruling.
If you’ve considered all these factors and still can’t determine what would have caused your bills to increase to the extent they have, please contact us by email at email@example.com, call us at 1-877-712-3375 or 993-5565, or if you live in Dawson City, drop into our office.
How Do Our Rates Compare? | Thursday, October 21, 2010
We recently came across a Hydro Quebec publication that provided a comparison of the average electricity costs for customers in major North American cities. While it did not include Yukon, we have added the territory's residential rate on this map. You can see that Yukon residential customers currently pay 11.02 cents per kilowatt hour with the Yukon government's Interim Electrical Rebate (a subsidy provided to all residential customers for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used each month). That's the same rate that residents of St. John's pay and is less than that paid by residents in Charlottetown, Moncton, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary. It is much less than what residential customers pay in most major cities in the United States.
Without the subsidy, Yukon residential customers would pay 13.68 cents per kilowatt hour of power, which is still less than homeowners or renters in Charlottetown and in most major U.S. cities pay.
The complete Hydro Quebec report can be found here.
Lowest Power Rates in Years | Monday, June 22, 2009
At various times on this blog we have provided you with information about how your electrical bills are changing and what you can expect to pay for your power. Recent developments (a ruling by the Yukon Utilities Board on Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s rate application and a decision by the Yukon government to replace the Rate Stabilization Fund with a new program called the Interim Electrical Rebate) mean your bottom line is once again changing. In fact, your rates will be going down to the lowest they've been in several years. This post aims to explain what the changes mean to you in real dollars.
As we did in our earlier postings on this topic, we'll use the example of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month (the average usage in Yukon is about 750 kilowatt hours per month).
In January of 2008, this person's bill would have been $123.39, including GST.
By January 2009, a number of things had changed. The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve an 11 percent increase in rates. While the YUB considered the request, it approved on an interim basis an increase of five percent, starting on August 1 of last year. Then Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease of 17.8 percent for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours or less a month. While the YUB considered our request, it approved an interim decrease of 3.48 percent, starting December 1, 2008.
As a result of those events, by December 2008 our homeowner’s bill, based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used, was $134.56 a month.
A reduction to zero of the Fuel Adjustment Rider (Rider F), and a final decision by the Yukon Utilities Board on Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s rate application dropped bills to $114.05 a month this June. Almost all this decrease was due to the Fuel Rider reduction. The Yukon Utilities Board rejected most of Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.'s proposed rate increase.
Starting this July, bills will be reduced even further for residential customers. The Yukon government is replacing the out-going Rate Stabilization Fund with a new program called the Interim Electrical Rebate. Residential customers will receive a maximum rebate on their bills of $26.62 per month (before GST), which will bring the monthly cost of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to $105.60.
There's one more piece to this puzzle. The Yukon Utilities Board is still to rule on Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease for first block residential customers. If it rules in our favour this fall, the monthly bill later this year for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of power in a billing period would be $87.49…the lowest rates in several years.
A Break on Your Power Bills | Thursday, June 11, 2009
Starting on July 1, you'll see a new rebate on your residential power bills. The Yukon government is doing away with the existing electrical subsidy, known as the Rate Stabilization Fund, and replacing it with a new program called the Interim Electrical Rebate. It will give you a maximum rebate of $26.62 per month on the first 1,000 kilowatt hours you use. This is an increase from the maximum monthly subsidy of $18.67 provided under the Rate Stabilization Fund.
If you'd like to know more about this fund, you're asked to call the Yukon government at (867) 633-7949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Updated Bottom Line | Monday, May 11, 2009
A couple of months ago, we provided some information on this blog about bill changes you've experienced over the last several months and what you might expect to see in the future. Since that time, there have been some new developments that have changed the numbers. We wanted you to be aware of these changes.
As we did in the original blog posting, we'll use the example of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month (the average usage in Yukon is about 750 kilowatt hours per month).
Last July, this person’s bill would have been $132.80, including GST.
The Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. asked the Yukon Utilities Board to approve an 11 percent increase in rates. While the YUB considered the request, it approved on an interim basis an increase of five percent, starting on August 1 of last year.
Assuming our sample homeowner used the same amount of power in August as in July, their bill increased to $138.60.
Then Yukon Energy asked for a rate decrease of 17.8 percent for residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours or less a month. While the YUB considered our request, it approved an interim decrease of 3.48 percent, starting December 1, 2008.
As a result, our homeowner’s bill decreased to $134.56 starting in December. Again, this is based on 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity used.
Are you still with us? There’s more!
Early this year, the two utilities announced that the Fuel Adjustment Rider (Rider F) had been reduced to zero for bills starting March 1, 2009, and continuing until the YUB determines Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.‘s final rates. This will save our sample homeowner $19.53 per month during this period, decreasing his or her monthly bill to $115.03. With this change, power bills are lower today than at any time since at least January 2006. And they may go even lower soon.
We are still waiting to learn the final amount that the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will be allowed to charge its customers. But based on a recent ruling from the Yukon Utilities Board, the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. will not receive the full 11 percent increase it asked for. Instead, the revised rate changes that have been proposed would see the homeowner's bill dropping to $114.05 a month.
There's one more piece to this puzzle. The Rate Stabilization Program is a Yukon government subsidy you will notice on your power bill. The program is scheduled to end in July of this year. If that happens in combination with Yukon Energy’s request for a 17.8 percent decrease and all other expected rate changes, the monthly bill for a residential customer using 100 kilowatt hours of power in a billing period would be $115.44.
The bottom line for Yukon Energy is that we're doing everything within our power to keep your electric bills as low as possible.
Bill Comparisons | Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We thought you might find it useful to see how Yukon power bills compare with those in the rest of Canada, and across the North. You can see that we are the least expensive location in the North, and we are on par with a number of Southern locations. The blue portion of the chart indicates the average monthly total amount of a customer's bill; the red portion indicates any rate subsidy provided.
Our Rate Application Explained | Friday, March 27, 2009
One of the benefits of our new transmission line from Carmacks to Pelly Crossing is that it has allowed us to ask for a rate decrease. Before the line was built, we promised to pass along to Yukoners some of the additional revenue we would receive as a result of gaining a new customer, the Minto mine, through the construction of the Carmacks to Pelly line. That’s why in October of last year we asked our regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board, to approve changes to our rates that would result in an overall saving to Yukoners this year of more than $1.3 million.
We wanted to go further than just passing along revenues from the Minto mine. We wanted to provide the biggest reduction possible to the largest number of Yukoners possible. That’s why we have proposed changes to our rate structure that will reward those who practice energy conservation. Here’s how it works: rates would be substantially reduced by 17.8 percent for a household’s ‘first block’ energy charges; for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours per month of energy used. ‘Second block’ energy charges (energy over 1,000 kilowatt hours a month) would increase, the amount dependant on the amount of energy used. All the added money we would receive from ‘second block’ charges would go to further reducing ‘first block’ rates. Since most households stay within that first block of 1,000 kilowatt hours a month (the average monthly usage is about 750 kilowatt hours) this method would allow more Yukoners to benefit from greater savings.
Two tiered rate structures are not new. Similar systems are used by utilities right across the country, and Yukon Energy has had a two-tiered system in place for many years in which the second block is at a higher rate than the first.
It was important to us to encourage energy conservation though this application. There is a growing demand for electricity in Yukon. While we are aggressively looking for new renewable power to meet this demand, this process takes time. In the absence of new generation, we face the prospect within a few years of running out of hydro and turning on our diesels. That’s why it’s important to us that we send price signals to encourage energy conservation. Conservation is the cleanest and least expensive way to meet the increase demand for electricity (think of it as building a virtual dam). And it’s easier than you might think…turning the thermostat down one degree saves 400 kilowatt hours per year; washing clothes in cold water saves as much as 720 kilowatt hours. Hanging clothes to dry even half the time saves another 520 kilowatt hours.
However if our proposal is approved, there will still be some overall savings for residential customers who use up to about 1,300 kilowatt hours per month. For example, if you use 1,000 kilowatt hours per month you will see a reduction of $22.26 on your bill; if you consume 1,300 kilowatt hours you will still save $1.16 per month. Once you start using more than that, you will have to bear an increase. At 1,400 kilowatt hours a month, you will pay $5.88 more per bill. If you use 1,500 kilowatt hours, you will face increases of $12.91 a month.
The Yukon Utilities Board Response
In November last last year, the Yukon Utilities Board said it wanted to wait for a future hearing to consider the rate adjustments we have proposed for ‘first block’ and ‘second block’ customers. In the meantime, the Board has ordered us to implement an interim rate reduction of 3.48 percent. The interim rates went into effect on December 1, 2008.
The Utilities Board hasn’t said an outright ‘no’ to our request. It’s merely said it doesn’t want to make a decision about our proposal at this time.
The oral public hearings for our rate application are set for this coming May. We hope that at that time, the Utilities Board will be open to considering our proposal.