MRO Magazine

Saskatchewan Crown corporations report earning losses; SaskPower faces steep hit

August 3, 2023 | By Jeremy Simes

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s Crown corporations are reporting sizable earning losses this year, with the government-owned electrical utility facing its biggest financial hit yet.

The reports, released Friday by the Saskatchewan Party government, show SaskPower is staring down a net loss of $172 million.

The Crown corporation said in its 2022-23 annual report that the loss is mainly dueto higher fuel prices. It also had to spend more on maintenance, as well as pay a $26-million cash settlement over a contractual dispute. It did not disclose the nature of the dispute.

The province’s other Crown corporations made money this fiscal year, but not as much as they did last year.


In total, the corporations reported consolidated net earnings of $7.4 million, well below the $361 million they reported last year.

SaskTel, the government-owned telephone operator, made $104 million, about the same as last year.

SaskEnergy, the natural gas utility, made $59 million, down from $158 million.

SGI Canada, which offers property and casualty insurance in five provinces, made $24 million, 70 per cent less than the $82 million last year.

A portion of a corporation’s net income is paid to the government as a dividend. This year, the corporations paid $143 million in dividends.

The government normally holds a news conference and technical briefing when it releases these reports, but it did not do so this year.

The Opposition NDP said the government is ducking accountability by quietly releasing the reports.

“I don’t think they’re fooling anyone here,” NDP Leader Carla Beck said at a news conference Tuesday.

There are three byelection campaigns underway in Regina and surrounding area, preventing the government from advertising in the city.

However, Beck said the province could have released the reports before the byelections were called.

“I understand why they didn’t want these reports to be particularly widely circulated, but that is a function of government,” she said. “It’s to provide that level of scrutiny to be accountable for those technical briefings and to the people of this province.”

The government said Tuesday that issuing news releases, as well as holding press conferences and technical briefings, would have “gone against the spirit” of election rules that prevent them from advertising in Regina.

It said it also would have been logistically difficult for the major Crowns to host such conferences because they are all headquartered in Saskatchewan’s capital.

“The Crown corporations’ annual reports were not ready to be tabled prior to the call of the byelections,” it said.

In its report, SaskPower said it plans to get back to black by next year, budgeting a $23-million surplus.

It said a four per cent utility rate increase, plus increased demand, should help offset expenses.

However, NDP SaskPower critic Aleana Young said the corporation has hiked rates in the past and still is showing a fiscal loss.

“If it wasn’t so depressing, it would be impressive,” she said.

Beck said SaskPower’s fiscal situation is not a simple fix.

“This is an unravelling, year after year, of mismanagement, overruns and lack of transparency,” she said.

“The list goes on and on with this government and it seems to not be really interested.”


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