REGINA — The 2021-22 annual report for SaskEnergy was released Wednesday morning. Here are five things you need to know about the report.
Another strong financial year
In its annual report , SaskEnergy reported net income from operations of $82 million, up $23 million from a year earlier.
According to Minister for SaskEnergy Don Morgan at a news conference Wednesday, this is due mainly to a one-time accounting adjustment related to conclusion of litigation which awarded SaskEnergy title to its head office building in Regina.
SaskEnergy had been in litigation over the ownership of the building for a number of years and this year were able to conclude the litigation. The accounting rules required them to make the one-time adjustment.
Morgan also cited higher demand for natural gas from industrial customers, and higher demand overall due to colder-than-normal winter weather and the addition of 2,800 new distribution customers.
Dividend of $22 million to Crown Investments Corp.
Because of the strong financial performance, SaskEnergy was able to declare a dividend of $22 million to Crown Investments Corporation, up $1 million from a year ago. “The dividend will go to the province of Saskatchewan's general revenue fund, where it will support public services like health and education and provincial infrastructure,” said Morgan.
Progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Morgan said over the past fiscal year, SaskEnergy also enhanced efforts to be environmentally sustainable, including progress on their commitment to reduce emissions from operations by 35 per cent by 2030.
"Throughout the past fiscal year SaskEnergy staff came together to develop a comprehensive roadmap that shows how this emissions-reduction goal can be reached," said Morgan.
He noted SaskEnergy had three national Environmental Stewardship Awards from the Canadian Gas Association in recognition of SaskEnergy's environmental sustainability efforts in 2021-22. Morgan also pointed to reduced greenhouse gas emissions from operations by 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and SaskEnergy “also helped its customers reduce their own end-use emissions through an additional $1.2 million in funding for customer energy efficiency programs, resulting in more than $3 million in rebates for residential and commercial customers who purchased high-efficiency heating equipment.”
Pressure on rates
It was acknowledged energy markets were volatile and could have an impact.
Morgan said the goal of the corporation was to provide stable, long-term rates. He noted SaskEnergy does some forward hedging to try and prevent those losses.
“You can’t anticipate what changes might be in consumption levels,” said Morgan, “… but there is certainly an expectation that rates will change over the next while.”
Morgan said it is “realistic to assume there would be higher rates going forward as the global prices of natural gas go up.” He noted SaskEnergy uses a program of forwarding-averaging in which prices are locked in for a significant portion of natural gas being sold. “What you see or hear about in the global pricing will not be reflected fully in the change of rates.”
Lowest bill for residential customers in Canada
Even with the uncertainty, SaskEnergy touted the lowest residential natural gas bills in Canada this past year, while also delivering strong financial results. Morgan said they expect Saskatchewan residents to continue to have the lowest natural gas bills in the country.