In Mid-Summer, Rural Residents Worry About Heating Costs

Rural residents of Saskatchewan are facing a crisis when it comes to home heating. Those currently using oil or propane have seen the costs more than double due to inflation and carbon taxes. While the province can rightly point the finger at the federal government for causing most of this, Premier Scott Moe’s government has done nothing to assist those who need help to mitigate against it.

As a result, in mid-summer, I have been fielding calls from these residents who know that once winter hits, they will face crippling heating costs. On their behalf, I have written the following letter to the Minister of Crown Corporations, the Honourable Don Morgan.  If this government has any compassion left at all, it must create solutions to assist our rural residents.

July 24, 2023

Dear Minister Morgan,

Over the past two years I have received numerous calls from rural residents as to the extraordinary costs being quoted by SaskEnergy, to connect rural properties to natural gas lines. Residents are looking to this option due to the skyrocketing costs of oil, propane and electric heat. It is not unusual to be quoted $80,000 or more.

Often, there are multiple property owners in the same area that want to connect. Logically, SaskEnergy could allow the cost to service an area to be shared amoung property owners, but from the information I have received, each property owner is given a quote to service only their property, with no option for cost-share.

Additionally, SaskEnergy does not allow for any type of installment payments. The service must be paid in full immediately.

As a Crown Corporation, SaskEnergy is owned by the people and it should be finding ways to help citizens who have found themselves at the mercy of inflationary circumstance. Many of the affected residents are seniors, people who spent their lifetimes building our province and are now on fixed incomes. The exorbitant costs to just heat their homes is forcing some to leave their lifelong homes for more affordable options.

I urge you, as Minister responsible for SaskEnergy, to direct this Crown to investigate how to provide natural gas service to rural residents in a manner that is within financial reach of these property owners. Cost-sharing and installment plans should be considered as options.

This is an opportunity for the government to effectively serve these citizens by having the Crowns work for the people, not against them.