SaskEnergy to launch rebate program for high-efficiency furnaces

SaskEnergy announced it will offer a rebate for purchase and installation of a new, high-efficiency furnace.

Crown corporation's annual report released Thursday

SaskEnergy released its annual report on Thursday and says it invested $299 million in gas line infrastructure projects. (CBC News)

SaskEnergy announced it will offer a rebate for purchase and installation of a new, high-efficiency furnace.

The Crown corporation released its annual report on Thursday.

The furnace rebate launches on Aug. 1, will run until November and offers a rebate of $650.

"We'll gauge support and see how much response we get to the program but I think the estimation is about 1,500 or so rebates will be handed out," said Bronwyn Eyre, minister responsible for SaskEnergy.

SaskEnergy said 53 per cent of Saskatchewan homes currently have a high-efficiency furnace.

"The type of furnace would be up to the to the individual and the contractor to determine what suits them best for their needs, " said SaskEnergy CEO Ken From.

He said SaskEnergy is also considering creating a carbon monoxide program.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning is something that comes from the combustion of our product. It's not really our jurisdiction in terms of furnaces but we just want to ensure everyone's safe and sound," From said. 

SaskEnergy pays $60M dividend

SaskEnergy declared a dividend of $60 million to Crown Investments Corporation, an increase from $39 million in 2017-18 and and $29 million in 2016-17.

The Crown corporation's debt-to-equity ratio is evening out. For 2018-19 it is 55 per cent debt to 45 per cent equity. In 2017-18 it was 56-44 and in 2016-17 it was 59-41. The net debt increased in 2018-19 from 2017-18.

"Given today's current interest rates in terms of having debt on our books is actually a most efficient manner in which to pay for those assets that are going to last 40, 50, 60 years," From said. 

The Crown said lower natural gas rates could create challenges for "asset optimization" but may lead to lower commodity rates for customers.

"SaskEnergy has already reduced its commodity rates to their lowest level in 20 years. Based on current market forecasts, the corporation anticipates that there will be no commodity rate increases for at least the next two years, which is good news for customers," Eyre said.

Other annual report notes:

  • SaskEnergy added 2,775 residential, business and industrial customers in 2018-19.
  • SaskEnergy tied its all-time natural gas usage record on February 8, 2019.
  • Invested $299 million in gas line infrastructure projects.
  • A 5.6 per cent reduction in gas line damage from unsafe digging by contractors and homeowners.
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) wireless modules installation now almost 98 per cent complete.