Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit

The Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit (AFFB) Program allows eligible producers to receive a 9-cent-per-litre provincial fuel tax exemption on the purchase of dyed gasoline and diesel.

Eligible Alberta producers are fully exempt from the provincial tax on propane and aviation fuel used for farming purposes.

To qualify for the benefit, producers must:

  • be actively and directly farming by controlling farming assets and making the day-to-day management decisions
  • have annual farm commodity production worth at least $10,000 or $5,000 to $9,999 if the only other significant sources of income are Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security

For more information about the AFFB:

How to apply

Apply to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) for an AFFB registration number:

If your entire farming operation is not located in Alberta, attach a completed Schedule A:

Applications can be submitted by email, fax or mail (see Contact below).

If you qualify, AF will issue you a registration number. Your registration number is your approval number for the Alberta Farm Fuel Tax Exemption Certificate.

Renewal

Eligibility for the AFFB must be renewed every 3 years.

Personalized renewal packages are mailed to registrants the first week of December in their renewal year.

Registrants have until the end of February of the following year to return their completed renewal form.

Remote Area Heating Allowance

The Remote Area Heating Allowance (RAHA) program was established in 1980. It reduces the cost of heating fuels for Albertans who do not have access to natural gas service. These individuals generally reside in remote locations in the province.

The program has been extended several times, the last being November 2018.

The RAHA is currently scheduled to expire March 31, 2021.

Rebates

The program provides direct rebates to Albertans of up to 25% of the cost of fuel (less GST and carbon levy) on annual consumption of up to:

  • 18,185 litres (4,000 gallons) of propane
  • OR 12,275 litres (2,800 gallons) of heating oil
  • OR a proportionate combination of both

The average rebate is approximately $450.

Applying for RAHA

Apply for the RAHA rebate by using 1 of the following forms:

The completed application can be mailed or emailed to marie.matras@gov.ab.ca.

Rural Utilities Section
Remote Area Heating Allowance
Room 108 J.G. O'Donoghue Building
7000 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 5T6

Get direct deposit

If you are eligible for the RAHA rebate, it's a good idea to authorize Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to deposit your payment directly into your bank account. This provides you with quicker access to your rebate. It also provides additional security, since you will not experience a lost or stolen cheque.

We send confirmation letters advising that your rebate has been processed and will be deposited to your account.

Choose one of the following forms to apply for direct deposit:

Mail the completed form to:

Rural Utilities Section
Remote Area Heating Allowance
Room 108 J.G. O'Donoghue Building
7000 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T6H 5T6

Rural electric

Rural electrification in Alberta commenced in 1947. There are currently 32 member-owned Rural Electrification Associations (REAs) and two Investor-Owned Utilities (ATCO Electric and FortisAlberta) that provide electric distribution to rural Albertans.

Grants

The Rural Electric grant program helps farmers access a basic, essential service at a reasonable cost and aids in the diversification of our rural economy. It also provides partial equity with other Albertans living in urban areas. It aids those living in other western provinces who benefit from lower hook-up costs and power rates sponsored by their provincial governments through Crown corporations.

The grant program is administered through the Alberta Federation of Rural Electrification Associations.

Governance

REAs are incorporated under the Rural Utilities Act. This legislation outlines the powers and duties of the directors of the association, membership, and standard bylaws.

REA rates for electrical distribution are set by the member-elected board of directors. Members are encouraged to bring any concerns about their REA rates to their respective REA board.

Consumers with concerns about ATCO Electric or FortisAlberta rates can contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate office.

Annual returns

REAs must submit the following to Rural Utilities within 120 days after their annual general meeting (AGM):

  • Officers List (DOC, 41 KB) (PDF, 27 KB)
  • Minutes from the AGM
  • Audited Financial Statements
  • Any new Supplemental Bylaws

This guide provides additional information on completing an annual return.

Rural natural gas

More than 141,000 kilometres of natural gas pipelines make Alberta's the largest rural gas pipeline system in the world.

Under the Rural Gas Program, natural gas service is provided through 74 participating utilities to more than 228,000 consumers.

The Rural Utilities Branch is responsible for:

  • ensuring the safe and orderly development of natural gas distribution systems
  • conducting technical reviews
  • issuing approvals
  • developing policy issues respecting rural gas utility operations and business practices
  • regulating gas co-ops

Important regulations

Gas Distribution Act

As per the Gas Distribution Act, the chief officer sets standards for rural gas utilities and low pressure distribution-system:

  • design
  • construction
  • operation
  • maintenance

Rural Utilities has adopted Canadian Standards Association (CSA) code Z662 as the standard. This is a national standard set by CSA for utility distribution systems.

The legislation also provides for the issuance of rural gas franchise areas. This gives distributors, with very few exceptions, the exclusive right to provide natural gas service to all potential consumers.

Issues relating to the following are frequently brought to the department for resolution:

  • infringement on existing franchises
  • service rights to customers
  • expansion of franchises

Rural Utilities Act

Gas Co-ops are incorporated under the Rural Utilities Act. This legislation outlines the powers and duties of the directors of the association, membership, and standard bylaws.

Unlike the Investor-Owned Utilities whose rates for natural gas distribution are set through the Alberta Utilities Commission, gas co-op rates are set by the by the member-elected board of directors. Members are encouraged to bring any concerns about their Gas Co-op rates to their board

Consumers with concerns about ATCO Gas or AltaGas Utilities rates can contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate office at www.ucahelps.alberta.ca.

Safety

Under the Gas Distribution Act, the Rural Utilities Section is responsible for ensuring the safe construction, operation and maintenance of all gas distribution systems. Our responsibility extends to urban areas such as:

  • cities
  • towns
  • villages

The Rural Utilities Section undertakes the following types of initiatives to ensure the safety of the public and those involved in the distribution business.

Quality Management Plans

A Quality Management Plan (QMP) requires all distributors to commit to ensuring their system meets various standards of:

  • design
  • construction
  • operation
  • maintenance

The QMP also ensures the safety of customers, employees and the general public.

Under the Gas Distribution Act, the department can conduct audits of distributors' operations to ensure they are fulfilling their commitment under the QMP. These audits are conducted through third parties and by department staff.

System plans

Distributors must annually submit digital as-built plans of their systems to the department. These plans are critical to the safety of workers in the energy sector, utility business and third-party contractors involved in excavation.

Easements

Before any construction can take place, distributors must obtain an easement from the landowner. As a safety measure, easements indicate to the landowner and those conducting a title search that a buried facility is contained within the property.

Grants

Grants are available to rural gas co-ops through the Rural Gas grant program, administered by the Alberta Federation of Gas Co-ops.

Resources

The following resources are associated with the Rural Gas Program.

Manuals

Bulletins

Mapping

Guide

Leak/damage forms

In accordance with the Gas Distribution Act, gas utilities must submit a form to report leaks and third-party damages. The form must be completed online in the Rural Utilities Portal.

See examples of leaks and third-party damages.

Here are instructions for completing the form:

You can print and take this form into the field:

Other references

For extra information on Bulletin RU 2018-01, see:

Annual return

Gas co-ops must submit the following to Rural Utilities within 120 days after their annual general meeting (AGM):

  • Officers List (entered through the Rural Utilities Portal)
  • Minutes from the AGM
  • Audited Financial Statements
  • Any new Supplemental Bylaws

Rural water

There are 151 water co-operatives in Alberta. Many formed in the 1960s and '70s to provide water service to their immediate area. The co-operatives are incorporated and regulated by Rural Utilities under the provisions of the Rural Utilities Act.

Rural Utilities reviews and approves water co-ops' corporate filings, including:

  • incorporations
  • annual returns
  • bylaw changes

Water co-ops also receive advice and technical assistance from the Alberta Federation of Rural Water Co-operatives. Alberta Environment and Parks is involved in water quality and water licensing issues.

Incorporating

Incorporating a water co-op involves several steps. For details, see:

You must complete the following forms and submit them to Rural Utilities for review:

Annual returns

Water co-ops must submit the following to Rural Utilities within 120 days after their AGM:

  • Officers List (DOC, 41 KB) (PDF, 27 KB)
  • Water Co-op Rate Information (DOC, 172 KB) (PDF, 24 KB)
  • Minutes from the AGM
  • Audited Financial Statements

This guide provides additional information on completing an annual return.

Contact

To connect about the Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit program:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-9167
Toll-free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-427-5921
Email: affb@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Alberta Farm Fuel Benefit Program
Agriculture and Forestry
Suite 301 J.G. O'Donoghue Building
7000 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 5T6

To connect with the Rural Utilities Section:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-0125
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-1613

For information about the Remote Area Heating Allowance:
Email: marie.matras@gov.ab.ca

For information about the Rural Gas Program, Rural Electric Program and Rural Water Program:
Email: maureen.magee@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Rural Utilities
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Suite 108 J.G. O'Donoghue Building
7000 113 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 5T6