SaskPower Claims for Volunteer Fire Departments Operating within Rural Municipality Boundaries
Res #: 29-18M
Responses Received: Yes
WHEREAS SaskPower equipment and powerlines are known to spark grass fires in right of ways and spread to surrounding ratepayer property in rural municipalities and endanger the lives of occupants and their property;
WHEREAS volunteer fire departments bill SaskPower directly as their equipment and powerlines are directly responsible for the cause of the fire;
WHEREAS SaskPower investigates the cause of the fire and states that SaskPower is not responsible for any fire resulting from equipment failure or acts of nature and the fire call is not deemed to be the responsibility of SaskPower, and therefore SaskPower will not pay compensation for the invoiced firefighting services;
WHEREAS municipal ratepayers are left to cover the cost of the firefighting services and the actual damages to their property;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to have an independent body investigate SaskPower fires to determine the root cause of each fire;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to set up a separate fund for volunteer fire departments to provide for the cost of the fires started by SaskPower equipment whether it be due to equipment failure or acts of nature.
Responses From: SaskPower
October 24, 2022
Effective March 2017, SaskPower will voluntarily reimburse firefighting costs in certain circumstances not involving negligence. The circumstances include (a) fires caused as a result of the failure of our equipment, (b) wildlife contact, (c) vegetation contact from within our right-of-way, and (d) snow/ice.
SaskPower’s compensation policy has been communicated to SARM members via newsletter(s) since the guideline was implemented; however, SaskPower will commit to contacting SARM’s Communications and Marketing Coordinator to engage in discussions on a communications plan for the SARM members.
Since the inception of this policy SaskPower has paid municipalities approximately $2,500,000 for firefighting costs, which represents a payment ratio of 85%.
The Honourable Don Morgan – Minister Responsible for SaskPower, SaskPower