Utility Costs for Recreation Facilities

Res #: 20-07M
Number: 20
Year: 2007
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskPower

Resolution No. 20 – 07M
Utility Costs for Recreation Facilities

WHEREAS there is a lot of promotional emphasis placed on encouraging people to move to rural Saskatchewan;

WHEREAS Saskatchewan Health is promoting healthy living in communities as being the lifestyle that we all want to achieve; and

WHEREAS communities in rural Saskatchewan are struggling to not only maintain current facilities, but also to pay the ever increasing power and energy bills;

BE IT RESOLVED that in order for rural Saskatchewan communities to be able to offer their residents an operational recreational facility, that SARM approach the Government of Saskatchewan to have power and natural gas rates for recreational facilities reduced; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Saskatchewan offer a grant program to rural recreational facilities that would subsidize the power and natural gas costs.

Response from SaskPower

 ·        SaskPower receives numerous requests from various interest groups such as rink boards, civic authorities, figure skating clubs, and others with an interest in recreational activities for special treatment with regard to their rates.

·        SaskPower has consistently denied these requests on the basis that it is unfair to other non-profit, community or charity minded groups, and also to all classes of customers who must then pay more.

·        While SaskPower recognizes the financial challenges faced by recreational facilities throughout the Province, the electricity rate structure is designed to reflect a fair and balanced approach for all customer classes.

·        SaskPower encourages its customer to conduct an energy audit to identify cost savings that can be achieved through the efficient operation of equipment and appliances.

·        Grant and Loans for Energy Retrofits to Recreational Facilities, an attachment, included with this response contains a list of several financial assistance programs for energy efficiency improvements for commercial, institutional and municipal buildings.


The increases in utility costs municipalities have been faced with are significant, and must be challenging for a smaller community to manage, as they are for many individuals and groups in Saskatchewan.  Unfortunately rising utility prices have been the norm throughout Canada and the United States.  SaskPower's cost, in particular fuel and purchased power costs continue to rise.  SaskPower is subject to the same commodity prices as the rest of North America and regrettably, has hda to implement rate increase over the past several years in order to pay for these commodities.

SaskPower has made efforts to apply a rate design philosophy under which all customers pay their fair share for the services provided.  Customer classes who, historically, have been doing the subsidizing, that is paying more than their fair share, continue to lobby SaskPower, Government officials, the Saskatchewan Rate Review panel and others to eliminate the subsidies as quickly as possible.  To this end, rate rebalancing initiatives are incorporated into SaskPower’s rate applications which include a plan to gradually eliminate subsidies to “special customers”.  The reduction of electrical charges for recreational facilities at this time would, in effect, introduce an additional subsidy, contrary to the fair and equitable treatment that SaskPower has been striving to attain for all of our customers.

While SaskPower recognizes the financila challenges faced by recreational facilities throughout the province, the electricity rate structure is designed to reflect a fair and balanced approach for all customer classes.  In an effort to reduce such costs, SaskPower encourages its customers to conduct an energy audit to identify cost savings that can be achieved through the efficient operation of equipment and appliances.  For instance, SaskPower has available on its website,, the Energy Management Manual for Arena and Rink Operators for free download.  The manual is a comprehensive guide to assist rink operators and community recreational boards manage the energy used in their facilities, as well as determine financial viability of energy efficiency and energy conservation improvements.  

The introduction of subsidized rates for Recreational Facilities would result in other customers (including Residential and Farm customers) having to pay more than the actual cost of their service or alternatively, lower SaskPower’s profitability and result in lower dividends paid to the shareholder. 

SaskPower is committed to providing reliable and affordable energy to the people of Saskatchewan, in the most fair and reasonable manner possible.  As such, SaskPower will continue to strive to provide affordable rates to all of their customers. 


Financial assistance for commercial, institutional and municipal buildings in Canada 

Your community project may qualify for financial incentives from different levels of government and supporting organizations.  The web site links listed below will direct you to the proper locations to obtain further information on current assistance programs. 

Federation of Canadian Municipalities – Green Municipal Fund
Municipal governments and their partners can apply for funding for sustainable community planning and infrastructure projects from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 

Office of Energy Conservation – Saskatchewan
The Office of Energy Conservation is a resource for information on cost-effective energy conservation initiatives and practices for Saskatchewan. For more ideas on saving money through energy efficiency, visit the OEC web site at or call the OEC Hotline at 1-800-668-4636. 

Natural Resources Canada
Incentives and Rebates:  

Existing Buildings:
Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) wants to help improve energy efficiency in municipal, institutional and commercial buildings to provide financial assistance, publications, training and tools for commercial business, public institutions and other eligible organizations.Eligible organizations: Commercial Sector (Examples)» Retail» Hotels» Restaurants» Office buildings» Multi-unit residential buildings» Warehouses without manufacturingInstitutional Sector (Examples)» School boards» Colleges and universities» Health care» Non-profit» Provincial and municipal governments  

New Buildings
Energy-efficient designs of new facilities may qualify for the Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP). 

Regional Incentives
Some utilities and provincial governments offer incentives and rebates that can be combined with Natural Resources Canada funding. 

Renewable Energy Visit the Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI) web site for information on funding for solar heating or biomass systems. 

Other Financial Information Understand payback, arrange financing and track your savings. 

Cross-Canada Database
Search for financial and other initiatives from governments and utilities with the Directory of Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Programs. 

Buildings, Industry and Equipment
Quick links to initiatives and incentives. 

Tax Incentives
Visit the Renewable and Electrical Energy Web site for information on tax benefits for large scale investments in energy efficiency.  

Environment Canada
Community Programs, Prairie and Northern RegionEcoActionThe EcoAction Community Funding Program is an Environment Canada program that provides financial support to community groups for projects that have measurable, positive impacts on the environment. EcoAction encourages projects that protect, rehabilitate or enhance the natural environment and build the capacity of communities to sustain these activities into the future. 

Saskatchewan Contact(s):
EcoActionEnvironment Canada
Room 150123 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4W2
Telephone: (204) 984-5952
Fax: (204) 983-0964
Toll-free (information): 1-800-567-1570
Inquiry Centre  

For general information on the programs, services and publications of Environment Canada:
Inquiry Centre
70 Crémazie St.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-997-2800 or 1-800-668-6767Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736 (Teletype for the hearing impaired)
If your browser does not support fill-in forms, please email 

Response from SaskEnergy

Resolution #20-07M clearly states the value of recreational facilities and the impact they have in rural Saskatchewan.  Our employees know this all too well as they live and work in some 55 Saskatchewan communities, with many of them active volunteers at their local recreational facility.

All our employees work hard to provide the most competitive natural gas rates to our customers.  In fact, SaskEnergy’s natural gas rates have consistently been among the lowest in Canada for more than a decade.  SaskEnergy cannot provide special rates to certain customers, such as recreational facilities, as is being requested in the SARM resolution.  This would create an unfair situation where one group of customers would subsidize the cost of another.

Although SaskEnergy cannot provide a special rate, recreational facilities can still reduce energy consumption and save money.  The SaskEnergy website at of many energy-saving tips and suggestions as well as links to other sites such as Natural Resources Canada.  The website also allows commercial customers to locate the nearest members of the SaskEnergy Commercial Network – businesses that can be of service to recreational facilities wanting to change out their existing heating equipment in favour of new energy-efficient models. 

The federal government’s ecoENERGY Efficiency Initiative may also be useful for recreational facilities – it provides a number of programs to help reduce energy usage.  You can learn more about these opportunities by visiting the Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency website at

Within the province, Saskatchewan’s Office of Energy Conservation (OEC) is working with communities to implement energy-saving solutions in recreational facilities.  If any rural municipalities feel they could benefit from consulting with the OEC on how to make their recreational facilities more energy-efficient, I would encourage them to call the OEC at 1-800-668-4636.

Thank you very much for expressing your concerns with us.  I hope the information I’ve provided to you is useful.

Doug Kelln
President and Chief Executive Officer