5 Questions with Leanne Jarocki About Learning From Our Customers as We Plan the Future Power System

January 20, 2020

Leanne Jarocki

Quotables:

  • It’s important people can ask questions and give feedback before decisions are made. We want to talk with people, not at them.
  • Public engagement isn’t about asking people to tell us what to do. It’s about listening and using what we learn to make better decisions.
  • It’s about building relationships and understanding each other’s challenges, concerns and perspectives. 

Hitting a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is one of the things SaskPower is thinking about as we plan the future power system.  

We're evaluating a range of ways to generate cleaner electricity. Each has pros and cons. As we plan, we’re engaging in new ways with:

  • customers
  • stakeholders
  • Indigenous rights holders

We sat down with Leanne Jarocki from SaskPower’s public engagement and stakeholder consultation team to find out more.

  1. Why is SaskPower doing this? 

    So much is changing in the power industry.

    To address climate change, the Federal Government introduced new greenhouse gas emissions regulations. This means we need to find cleaner ways to generate power. Some of the options we’re looking at are new. There’s a lot of work to be done to evaluate these options and lots of big decisions to be made.
     
    The way people want to use power is also changing. There’s more interest in self-generation and electric vehicles, which means we need to re-think the power grid.

    With all this change, it’s important we engage with people across Saskatchewan to exchange information about what we’re doing and learn what they want us to be thinking about as we plan the future power system.  

  2. What do we mean by “engage” or “engagement”? 

    It’s important people can ask questions and give feedback before decisions are made. We want to talk with people, not at them. This means sharing information, inviting questions and listening to other points of view. Then, considering those points of view in decision making. 

  3. What do we hope to learn? 

    We’re hoping to learn 4 key things as we plan the future power system:   

    • What do people need or want to know?
    • What do they want us to consider?
    • What do they know that can help?  
    • How do they want to engage with us?

    We also want to know if and how people want to talk with us!  Last November we asked some of our larger stakeholder groups that question. The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) was one of the first to show interest. 

    We hosted a workshop on the future power system for their members. There were lots of questions. Some asked about how we'll reduce emissions and still provide cost-effective, reliable power. Others wondered why we couldn’t build all wind or all solar if we care about the environment. Some didn't like wind and solar at all. Others asked us for guidelines for building community energy projects. There was a lot of interest in our plans for more hydro from Manitoba and nuclear power from small modular reactors (SMRs).

    We shared a summary of feedback with SARM. We’ve also posted it on our website, here.

  4. What will SaskPower do with this information? 

    We’ve agreed to consider this feedback as part of our  planning. We’re very up front about the fact we won’t be able to act on every idea brought forward. Engagement isn’t about asking people to tell us what to do. It’s about listening and using what we learn to make better decisions. It’s about building relationships and understanding each other’s challenges, concerns and perspectives. We’re all in this together.  

  5. What’s next? 

    We’re planning a few events for 2020, including an “energy road show” with the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. We’ll co-host luncheons or workshops in several cities across the province. 

    We’re supporting the City of Regina’s “Sustainable Cities” workshop in May.

    We’re also in discussions with First Nations Power Authority to design a workshop or symposium for First Nations and other Indigenous rights holders.

    We’re looking for opportunities to collaborate. If you’re interested, let us know! Get in touch with us at publicconsultation@saskpower.com.

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