City Reminds Ratepayers of Fixed Rate Option After Province Cancels Price Cap Program
Medicine Hat – In light of the Province’s announcement of the elimination of the price cap program for Regulated Rate Option, the City of Medicine Hat is reminding residents of the fixed rate option available to local ratepayers.
Introduced in 2017, the rate cap program ensured that Albertans did not pay more than 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. When rates were above the capped rate, the difference between the cap and the market rate was paid to utility providers by the province.
“Ratepayers did benefit from this provincial program,” says Jaret Dickie, Manager of Utility Business Support. “The City’s rate exceeded 6.8 cents five times in 2018 and seven times in 2019, meaning that customers were actually paying lower than market rate for their electricity during those months.”
With the provincial change, customers will likely see a difference on their utility bill in the coming months as market prices continue to show volatility. The City of Medicine Hat offers a fixed rate option for ratepayers who are looking for more predictable utility bills.
“The City offers a fixed contract rate of 6.8 cents and we do expect more customers will now sign up for this option,” added Dickie.
The contract rate is calculated based on a cost recovery methodology plus a return, and was part of the budget update process before City Council on December 2. The City compares the calculated contract option with a number of retailers (approximately 20) that are listed on the Utilities Consumer Advocate website to ensure City of Medicine Hat’s rates remain competitive.
While rates and associated fees have increased over the years, overall utility rates in Medicine Hat continue to be amongst the lowest in the province. Rates are impacted not only by commodity prices, but also rising infrastructure costs to maintain City-owned utilities.
“Our analysis shows that Medicine Hat utility rates continue to be lower than other municipalities in Alberta. For 2019, we’ve calculated that ratepayers in Medicine Hat pay approximately $30 per month less in utilities than others in the province, this represents around $11 million in total customer savings,” says Dickie.
The City also reminds residents to consider how they can lower their consumption, especially during the holiday season and cold winter months.
“Every year we get a lot of calls about high utility bills after the holiday season,” says Denise Schmaltz, Superintendent of Customer Service. “We see a big increase in consumption due to things like Christmas lights and holiday entertaining. Residents can find a number of tips on how to reduce their consumption on our website.”
For more information on the Fixed Rate Option, visit www.medicinehat.ca/fixedrate. To sign up for the Fixed Rate Option, visit City Hall or call 403-529-8111.
To learn more about your utility bill and how to lower your consumption, visit www.medicinehat.ca/yourutilitybill.
To sign up for e-billing visit eutility.medicinehat.ca.
- 30 -
For media inquiries, please contact:
Manager, Utilities Business Support
City of Medicine Hat