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The Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel is trying to lessen SaskPower's rate increase later this winter.

Yesterday the Panel suggested a 3.5-per-cent rate increase to the Minister, 1.5-per-cent less than SaskPower was seeking in their August 15th, 2017 rate application.

Albert Johnston, chair of the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel, said they heard unprecedented interest in this rate application.

"It did play a pretty big role (in our suggestion)," he said. "When we looked at all the other thing (in the application) including the information from SaskPower we just felt that we had to suggest a lower rate."

Almost 100 individuals contacted the Panel expressing their concern that the rate increase was too high and even higher than inflation.

"There was a lot of concern about the competitiveness of these rates as they effect the province of Saskatchewan," Johnston explained.

SaskPower stated in their application the rate increase is necessary to fund ongoing growth and sustainment spending, something the Panel agreed with.

"The fact is that SaskPower is under a significant renewal and infrastructure renewal program to update not only the generation capacity but also the transmission and distribution network," he said. "So they do need a lot of money for capital expenditures over the next number of years."

Another factor in the increase is the conversion from coal fire plants to more green energy options such as solar and wind.

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