Power distribution rates increase

Town councillors were asked to approve electrical service rates and distribution rates Oct. 23.

Town councillors were asked to approve electrical service rates and distribution rates Oct. 23. Power distribution rates have increased by 18.2 per cent compared to last year, explained CAO Brad Watson.

“Fortis and other electric companies made major increase applications to the Alberta Utilities Commission,” he said.

Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services, said because Ponoka is a wire owner residents pay less than what Fortis would be charging. “Fortis charges us for shipping costs, if you will, to ship it to our doorstep. We parcel that out and put that down to each retailer and consumer.”

The distribution cost is calculated from previous years and she used the example of a consumer using 600 kWH. Their cost would go to $45.44 from $38.44, the Town of Ponoka collects 95 cents. Calculating the rate increase takes fairly complicated math as the town considers future and past costs to keep the system running.

“Basically we collect enough money to run our electrical system,” she said.

Other communities with their own power have rates just slightly higher: Comparable rates at 600 kWH in Fort MacLeod is $48, Cardston $49, Crowsnest Pass $47 and Fortis charges $50. County residents pay the Fortis rate, explained Quinlan.

Operating revenue and expenditures

Councillors received the Sept. 30 operating statement for the Town of Ponoka showing a current surplus of $606,645 and revenues at $10 million. Quinlan doesn’t expect the surplus to be as great at the end of the year as some projects have not yet been completed. Capital expenditures are fairly low, but the town has not yet received invoicing from contractors.

Tax revenue received is $3.7 million with a budget of $4.9 million. Large capital projects such as the southwest industrial park have, for the most part, been completed.

“The first lift of pavement is done, the second lift is going to be done in the spring,” said Quinlan.

Water and wastewater costs are at $1.7 million with a budget of $2.5 million. Where the cost can increase is for unexpected issues such as a watermain break, which can be fairly expensive. “That tends to really drive your costs up.”

She was glad to say there have been no major surprises, which is something the town wants to see in its operations.

Council meeting changes

To ensure councillors could be in attendance at the next meeting the date has been changed to Thursday Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.

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