Below are a collection of frequently asked questions. Click on the questions to display the information provided on the topic. If you require additional information, please use one of the contact methods in the left hand column to contact the Panel.
The Panel welcomes public participation as part of its review process. You can contact the panel using any of the following methods:
As it’s name suggests, the Panel is responsible for reviewing rate applications submitted by SaskPower, SaskEnergy and the SGI Auto Fund. The Panel reviews each application to determine the fairness and reasonableness of the rate request, keeping in mind the interests of customers, the Crown Corporation and the shareholders, the people of Saskatchewan.
Telecommunications is considered a national undertaking. SaskTel is regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The Minister responsible for the Crown Investments Corporation appoints the seven members of the Panel. The Crown Investments Corporation is the holding company for the province’s commercial Crown Corporations.
Panel members are selected for their understanding of the financial and economic environment in which the Crowns operate, and the issues involved with proposed rate changes. They are also chosen for their involvement in their communities, and for their volunteer work at the local, provincial and national levels.
The process involves several steps. When a Crown submits a rate application to the Crown Investments Corporation, the Minister responsible for CIC directs the Panel to conduct a review, and provides specific terms of reference for the review.
The Panel then posts the application and other relevant documents on its website, issues news releases and arranges advertising to inform the public, opens a period of public consultation, arranges for public meetings on the application, and assigns an independent technical expert to examine the application in depth.
During the review process the Panel gathers public comments through various channels, including through public meetings in most instances, gathers additional information from the Crown, and from its technical experts. Near the end of the review process the Panel’s technical experts prepare a report that includes their observations and recommendations. The Panel then considers all of the information that it has received and prepares a report that assesses the fairness and reasonableness of the proposed rate changes, balancing the interests of customers, the Crown corporation and the public. The report contains recommendations regarding the rate request, and may also provide other recommendations.
The Panel’s report is submitted to the Minister responsible for the Crown investments Corporation, and is then posted on the Panel website. The Minister for CIC then prepares recommendations that are submitted to the provincial Cabinet, which makes the final decision on the rate application, and issues its decision to the public.
Outside experts provide the Panel with the technical expertise necessary to examine the complex issues in the applications in greater depth. Most of these experts have considerable experience working on similar reviews with boards and commissions in other provinces. The Panel chooses technical experts from out of province to bring an independent perspective and unbiased opinions to the rate review process.
The Panel’s home page will indicate if a review is currently underway for any of the three Crowns.
The “Application Information” link at the top of each page has a drop-down menu that will take you to any current reviews, or to the most recent completed review for each Crown.
The “Application Information” link at the top of each page has a drop-down menu that will take you to any current review, or to the most recent completed review for each Crown.
Click on “Contact” on top of any page, or from the home page click on “Your Feedback” below the logo of the Crown that has submitted a rate application.
When no reviews are taking place, all communication with the Panel is private. However, social media platforms – such as the Panel’s Facebook and Twitter accounts – are usually public, unless someone sends private messages to the Panel. Such messages, and replies from the Panel, are subject to Facebook and Twitter policies regarding such messages. Communications received between reviews are saved in a database, but are not displayed on the Panel website.
During Active Reviews:
Comments posted to the Panel’s “Submissions and Comments” web page during a review are gathered into a database, and are screened before being posted. This includes comments received by email, mail, phone messages, the Panel’s Submissions and Comments form, and via Facebook and Twitter.
Comments related to a specific review are posted to the Panel website, as part of the public consultation process. All comments posted during the period allowed for public comment are gathered together in a database and remain part of the public record for each review, including completed reviews.
Drawing on the experience gained from several reviews, the Panel has developed some ground rules for this part of the public consultation process.
Often, but not always. In its reviews the Panel also examines the Crown’s longer-term financial situation, and how that might affect the corporation, its customers and the financial return to the shareholder.
For example, in its 2015 review of a SaskEnergy rate application, the Panel agreed that the proposed decrease in the commodity rate and the proposed increase in the delivery rate were reasonable. However, the Panel noted the potential for large increases in the delivery rate in future years as SaskEnergy expands its delivery system to serve new customers. The Panel also noted the potential for rate shock if the price of natural gas were to rise quickly, and suggested customers would be better served by more frequent and smaller rate adjustments.
Read the news release here.
As another example, in its 2014 review of the Saskatchewan Auto Fund rate proposal the Panel recommended a lower rate increase than requested, and made other recommendations regarding rate rebalancing and rate capping that deviated from the Auto Fund rate proposal, to mitigate rate shock in some vehicle classes.
Read the news release here