Enmax boosts annual dividend to help City of Calgary
CEO says an additional $6M can assist city with its COVID-19 fiscal challenges
A strong balance sheet last year is giving Enmax some latitude to boost its annual dividend to the City of Calgary.
After declaring a $48-million annual dividend for its sole shareholder, Enmax's board decided to declare a further special dividend of $6 million.
The money can be used by the city to help it with the growing cost of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said the city estimates that between the loss of revenues and some higher spending, the pandemic is costing it an additional $10-15 million each week.
Enmax CEO Gianna Manes tells CBC News that the company has declared a special dividend in the past but in this case, it wants to help Calgary financially with the crisis it's facing.
"It's not something we've done very often but we have from time to time," said Manes.
"So the decision was made — given the environment that Calgary continues to face — that we wanted to step forward and create this additional value and transfer those funds to the city," said Manes.
The total dividend is paid by Enmax to the city on a quarterly basis.
Could it be paid quicker if the city wants that to happen?
"We haven't had any conversation with the city about any change to the payment pattern on that at this point."
She said higher earnings in 2019 made it possible to declare the special dividend and the company's board approved it last month as a way to assist the city.
"We saw the needs increasing and we had the capacity to be able to make this special one time payment," said Manes.
Other contributions to help people
It's the latest move by the company to help the community during the pandemic.
Enmax recently contributed $100,000 to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.
That fund was recently established by the city, the United Way and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA).
It was set up to help community agencies keep vulnerable Calgarians safe during the pandemic.
Enmax has also implemented a COVID-19 relief program to help people who cannot afford to pay their utility bills.
It's offering instalment plans and deferrals to assist customers who have lost their jobs during this time.
As well, Enmax has suspended any disconnections of electricity service due to non-payment until further notice.