June 22nd, 2024

City Notebook: Averaged out, it really wasn’t that bad here – at least comparatively

By COLLIN GALLANT on October 28, 2023.


Around this time last year – when Hatters were set upon by a host of power contract options – this column spelled out how to analyze your options.

You may have realized there’s been some action on that front since then.

In fact, there’s been little else talked about since Canada turned 156 years old last July.

So, get some paper, sharpen a pencil. You can even use a calculator.

Get your bills.

Add each month’s usage (in brackets on page 1).

Multiply that by that month’s rate.

Repeat 10 times, then make a best guess for the last two months (the rate will be 10.6-cents). Add it all up, then divide total cost by total usage.

While we’re waiting… I’ll let you know mine works out to about negative-two cents per kilowatt hour.

That’s right. Negative. And yours may, too.

Such was the action required to quell power price uproar, a new rate, promise of business model review and – the key point – credits.

How? Well, I’ll pay about $690 for commodity this year, yet will receive $800 in credits – keyed by council this fall to largely make up for its inaction on the file earlier in the summer.

Without the credit, my rate averaged over the year will be about 9.6 cents – actually pretty close to last year’s 8-cent mark. (I don’t use a lot of power, comparatively… and don’t you just love it when people tell you that?)

The average user (750 kWh per month) would pay about 10.3 cents over the course of the year (or just less than a penny considering the $800 credit), if they’d made all deadlines to sign up for contract rates.

Had they stayed on the default price, and it’s 18 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s a far sight higher than usual, agreed, and works out to about $1,600 for the year. Apply the credit and you get 9 cents, about where power was six years ago.

This is back dropped by a 130 per cent rise in power costs for all Albertans, about 10 times anywhere else in the country.

So will the city start crowing about having the lowest residential rates (all told) in the free world any time soon?

Mayor Linnsie Clark told the News recently that “communicating better” is one thing, but folks have had a stressful summer.

“To a certain extent it’s the price shock month to month,” she said after being presented with the math.

“People don’t average out their budgets over the year – they have a certain amount of money each month, and if their costs go way up it doesn’t matter what’s going to happen next month.

“Overall I think we wound up at a good solution.”

Of course, everyone got touched differently by power bills. Businesses, too, of varying sizes can argue that one-size-fits-all credits don’t fit them.

A look ahead

Monday’s Speech from the Throne will open the new Legislative session following last spring’s election. Tuesday’s observance of Halloween will also elicit some cheers, laughter and boos.

So, too, Wednesday night’s come-and-go open house at city hall where respective municipal departments will answer questions and walk residents through some key priorities.

(The News also posts a Monday morning update on its website for those missing that day’s print edition. It’s there at about 9 a.m.)

100 years ago

Federal Liberal cabinet ministers, including former Alberta premier Charles Stewart, earned “hearty applause” at the Empress Theatre on Oct. 27, 1923, arguing that the opposition Tories were summoning a “blue rain” for the nation by overstating economic concern.

No Canadian should limit his vision to local personal interests, said Fisheries Minister Ernest Lapointe, but instead to his share to improve conditions in the whole of the country.

The News editorial called the event a refreshing change from the “gloomy diatribe of Arthur Meighen” recently heard at the Empress.

On the stalled Hanna to Hat line of the CN system, the men told Redcliff Mayor Bott that completion would only come with conditions for the heavy indebted, recently nationalized railway improved. The Elkwater Lake Cottagers Association was also granted an audience.

The Canadian Pacific will seek to fully prosecute any of its conductors who accepted discounted cash fares in exchange for passage, the company announced after a Winnipeg judge dismissed a case against a newly immigrated man found without a ticket. The judge reasoned the man thought he was only following local custom.

The News published a proof of the ballot ahead of the pending Nov. 5 provincial liquor plebiscite to avoid confusion on the four options involved, including total ban, government or licensed sale on either beer or other spirits.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him, as always, at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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