Table of contents

This program concluded on June 18, 2020.

Overview

The Utility Payment Deferral Program successfully supported Albertans through the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 245,000 electricity customers and 181,000 natural gas customers – representing 16% of each consumer base – have deferred utility payments through the program, which concluded on June 18, 2020.

The program applied to bills for residences, farms and small businesses:

  • electricity consumers, who consume less than 250,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year
  • natural gas consumers, who consume less than 2,500 gigajoules per year

In addition, we ensured that no Albertan was cut off from these services or saw their services reduced while the program was in place.

Repayment and rate rider

Participants of the program had until June 18, 2021 to repay their deferred payments. Majority of the customers repay the full amount of their deferred electricity and natural gas bills.

All outstanding payments that remained unpaid after June 18, 2021 were added to a small, temporary rate rider – a fee paid by all utility customers in the province – with one for natural gas and one for electricity. Rate riders are commonly used to address unanticipated costs incurred by a regulated utility provider.

The Alberta Utilities Commission coordinates the rate rider process and finalized the total cost based on the outstanding amounts owed through the deferral process.

On August 18, 2021, the Alberta Utilities Commission released 2 decisions that approve the total amount of the Utility Payment Deferral Program to be collected from ratepayers for each of natural gas and electricity, and sets the rate for collection of these costs.

From November 1, 2021 to February 2022, “Utility Deferral Adjustment” rate riders – one for electricity and one for natural gas – appear on consumer utility bills.

  • Electricity rate rider – 0.045 cents per kilowatt-hour (an average residential consumption of 600 kilowatt-hour pays 27 cents per month).
  • Natural gas rate rider – 3.7 cents per gigajoule (an average residential winter consumption of 21 gigajoules pays 78 cents per month).

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