CALGARY, June 1 /CNW/ - (TSX: FTS) FortisAlberta Inc. today filed its 2008 and 2009 Distribution Tariff Application with the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) for approval of annual operating and maintenance expenses and approximately $590 million in capital expenditures, net of customer contributions totaling $60 million. Capital expenditures are comprised of additions to the electrical distribution system to meet growth requirements and improve reliability.
"FortisAlberta has kept distribution rates stable over the past three years, despite substantial pressure on operating and capital costs resulting from strong economic growth in the province," says Karl Smith, President and CEO, FortisAlberta. "The company has focused on satisfying customer needs, controlling costs, and improving operating performance while completing extensive capital work."
FortisAlberta is requesting an increase in distribution rates of 8.5 per cent for 2008 and 9.0 per cent for 2009. For typical residential customers, this means an increase of approximately $1.66 per month on the distribution component of their electrical bill effective January 1, 2008.
"FortisAlberta has worked diligently to minimize the impact of the proposed rate increase on customers while balancing the need to maintain and improve its distribution system to continue to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective service for the benefit of all customers," adds Smith. "We recognize any rate increase is significant to our customers and we are committed to continuing to manage and control costs to keep electrical rates as low as possible."
FortisAlberta attributes these rate increases to significant customer growth, which has required an expansion of the electrical system and has put inflationary pressures on labour and materials costs. In addition, there are other cost drivers behind the proposed rate increases including the implementation of advanced metering technology across the service area, capacity upgrades and projects to improve safety and reliability.
More than 50 per cent of the company's electrical system investments in 2008 and 2009 are related to the construction of distribution facilities required to serve new customers. These investments will also strengthen the physical integrity of the existing electrical system and will be used to build additional facilities to improve capacity and reliability. To view the application, visit www.fortisalberta.com.
FortisAlberta is an electric distribution company with approximately 433,000 customers and more than 104,700 kilometres of power lines. It is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Fortis Inc., - the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. Fortis Inc. serves almost 2,000,000 gas and electric customers and has approximately $10 billion of assets. The Common Shares; First Preference Shares, Series C; First Preference Shares, Series E; and First Preference Shares, Series F of Fortis are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C, FTS.PR.E and FTS.PR.F, respectively. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.