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It Takes Power to Grow — Chapter 1

Saskatchewan is growing, what about SaskPower?

Take a minute to think of the electricity you’re using right now: a computer, a modem, some lights, maybe your phone is charging or you’re drinking a cup of coffee. Electricity powers our lives every day, and every day we’re all using more.

We’re working hard to ensure that everyone in Saskatchewan has enough reliable, sustainable power. We’re also working to provide competitive rates for everyone in our province. But demand is growing— there are more people and more businesses that need power. We’ve seen a 16% increase in demand over the past five years. Just last year, we added 8,000 new customers.

We continue to set new records for power consumption., most recently on January 11th, 2016. As our province continues to grow, we’ll need more power.

There are things that make producing that power a challenge. Our power grid is past its prime, and much of it must be renewed or replaced. We also face stricter environmental regulations which make a lot of the electricity we produce now (coal) more expensive or obsolete. We need to secure enough power for everyone in Saskatchewan, while reducing environmental impact and finding new ways to generate power.

We have a very big job ahead.

So what do we do?

We’ll invest about $1 billion per year to meet the needs of our growing province. In 2016, we’ll reinvest 42% of what you pay for power into infrastructure.

A Growing Province

We are also focusing on innovative, environmentally preferred ways to generate and deliver power to our customers – like our carbon capture project, investments in wind generation and the evaluation of other potential sources of electricity – such as geothermal.

What if we do nothing?

If we don’t make investments to renew and grow, we won’t have the power we need when we need it. We’ll have a power shortage — it’s as simple as that.

With our aging power grid, we’re already experiencing more outages. Those outages will continue to increase and when demand grows beyond our capacity, we’ll have brown and blackouts affecting how you use power, and threatening the growth and prosperity in Saskatchewan.

Why now?

We have done what we can to maintain our assets over the years, but all equipment has a life cycle, and eventually must be replaced.

“If we continue to repair and not replace this infrastructure, it’s kind of like putting a Band-Aid on it. It’s just a matter of time before the power goes out again.”Jerrid Riegel, District Operator

For example, our distribution lines – which provide a vital link between our power generating facilities and our customers – are approximately 40 years old. We’ve done what we can to maintain them since they were first installed in the mid-1970s, but investments are required to ensure that our customers have the power they need.

LOOK

Over the past 5 years, over 30% unplanned outages were cased by aging infrastructure.

Our situation in Saskatchewan is not unique, with utilities across North America facing similar challenges.

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Talking About the Challenge
Chapter 2