Media Releases


GOVERNMENT KEEPS COMMITMENT FOR LOWEST-COST UTILITY BUNDLE

November 17, 2004

Saskatchewan families will get a rebate of $137 in December as government keeps its commitment to have the lowest-cost bundle of basic utility services in Canada.

"We made a commitment to Saskatchewan families that they would have the lowest-cost bundle of basic utility services in Canada, this year and into the future, and we have kept that commitment," Premier Lorne Calvert said. "With this rebate, our 2004 bundle of basic utilities - residential electricity and natural gas, basic phone service, and auto insurance - represents a total annual cost that is lower than any other province in Canada."

In May 2004, Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) unveiled its methodology for comparing Saskatchewan's basic utility costs with other provinces. The first comparisons showed that the costs of Saskatchewan's basic utility rate bundle were significantly lower than in Alberta and most other provinces, but were slightly higher than in Manitoba. Projections for the full calendar year of 2004 show that Saskatchewan's bundle would continue to be second lowest unless action was taken.

"We looked at a number of options and decided that the best way to meet our commitment would be to provide a rebate to residential customers in Saskatchewan," Crown Management Board Minister Pat Atkinson said. "With this rebate, our bundle will now cost less than Manitoba's for the full year."

The $137 rebate will appear as a credit on SaskTel residential phone bills during December. Every household will receive a credit of the same amount. SaskTel charges will be subtracted from the credit until the full $137 has been used, even if that takes a few months. Saskatchewan residents who don't normally receive a SaskTel bill can fill out an application form to have the credit applied to their SaskPower or SaskEnergy bill. There will be no cash rebates.

"Applying the credit to the SaskTel residential phone bill allows us to reach as many households as possible," Atkinson said. "It's the fairest, most straightforward way to administer this rebate, and also the most cost-effective."

The rebate program is expected to cost up to $54.1 million, including the rebate itself and administrative costs. CIC will administer the program and pay the costs through a reduction of $54.1 million in its 2004 dividend to the province's General Revenue Fund.

For more information about the rebate, including how to apply for it if you don't normally receive a SaskTel bill for residential phone service, call toll-free 1-866-366-6611 between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday, or visit www.www.cicorp.sk.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Karen Schmidt
CIC
Regina
Phone: (306) 787-5889