Sunday , 29 May 2022

Alberta Government providing relief for fuel and utility costs

Albertans will see lower fuel and utility bills through action to address rising costs.

Alberta’s government will stop the collection of the provincial fuel tax to offer Albertans relief from current high fuel prices. Currently, Albertans pay 13 cents per litre in fuel tax. This change will come into effect April 1.

The federal carbon tax rate on gasoline is set to increase again on April 1, from just under nine cents per litre to just over 11 cents per litre.

“We’ve heard Albertans’ concerns about the rising cost of living loud and clear,” Jason Kenney, Premier said. “While the federal government is set to increase the carbon tax April 1, Alberta’s government is taking the opposite approach and stepping up to offer relief. Stopping the provincial fuel tax puts money back in the pockets of Albertans when they need it most.”

Alberta’s government will also provide $150 electricity rebates to help Albertans pay for the high bills they faced this winter. More than one million homes, farms and businesses are expected to receive a $50 monthly rebate for three months. These retroactive rebates will help defray the high costs that many families and businesses paid in recent months.

“Many Albertans expressed concerns about increasing prices on everyday goods when I consulted with them ahead of this year’s budget,” Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance said. “The best thing government can do during inflationary times is to spend less, borrow less and tax less. That’s why today we are introducing new measures to help with the cost of fuel by reducing the provincial fuel tax, providing much-needed relief to everyday Albertans.”

Alberta’s government says it will work with utilities and regulators to determine exact details, including rebate timing. This includes working to have the rebates applied directly to consumers’ bills.

This rebate will combine with the Natural Gas Rebate program announced in Budget 2022 to provide real relief for Albertans.

“Utility prices are in part due to market conditions, and in part due to punishing policies from the former provincial government and the federal government,” Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity said. “As our government works hard to responsibly manage system costs, we are also working tirelessly to increase generation investments to bring new supply on to the market. As this long-term work continues, a rebate to help offset these costs for Alberta families and small businesses will help provide support when they need it most.”

Collection of the fuel tax will be paused for:

  • gasoline – $0.13 per litre
  • diesel – $0.13 per litre
  • marked gasoline and marked diesel – $0.04

Because the GST also applies to provincial fuel taxes, the 13-cent reduction will also reduce the GST by 0.65 cents per litre, for total tax savings of about 13.6 cents per litre of gasoline and diesel.

The government will review the collection of the fuel tax on a quarterly basis and, if required, consider reinstating collection in stages, based on the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) over a number of weeks. The government will not start to reinstate collection before July 1.

Alberta’s fuel tax is reported and remitted by refiners and large wholesalers and included in the price Albertans pay at the pump. The government will provide information for stakeholders, including fuel retailers, on the fuel tax pause.

Alberta’s NDP says UCP attempt to reduce rising cost falls short

Alberta’s NDP says the UCP’s attempt to reduce the rising cost of living once again falls short.

On Monday, March 7, the UCP government announced a pause on the collection of the provincial gas tax. They also announced a $50 per month rebate on electricity for three months. There is nothing new for natural gas beyond the previously announced fake rebate program that will not start until next winter.

“Albertans are struggling right now. The cost of everything is going up, and many of these rising costs are a direct result of UCP policy. The UCP’s latest plan falls well short of what’s needed and Albertans will continue to struggle with basic costs,” said NDP energy Critic Kathleen Ganley.

The NDP says according to media reports, some Albertans have faced utility bills exceeding $1,000 – over $450 higher compared to this time last year. The NDP has also been sent bills from Albertans that regularly exceed $700 per month.

The NDP put forward an emergency motion in the legislature to address these rising costs.

The motion called for an immediate suspension of the 13-cent-per-litre provincial gas tax for three months. Should these prices continue, the NDP proposed the measures stay in place longer.

It also proposed either an electricity rebate program that takes effect immediately to offset rising costs or re-establishment of the rate cap of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour that was put in place by the NDP Government.

Finally, the motion called for a rebate program that takes effect immediately and for which the eligibility threshold is lower than the $6.50 per gigajoule threshold proposed by the Government’s current program.

The emergency motion was defeated after the UCP voted against it.

“Premier Jason Kenney needs to do his job, listen to Albertans, and follow through on the promises he’s made to them,” said Ganley. “Enough with these fake rebates that will never help Albertans.”

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.