Written by Shanna Empey on Friday, 24 April 2015
Saskatchewan’s Crown Corporations continue to invest in capital improvements to soothe the growing demand in services brought on by the population increase.
Crown Investments Corporation reported combined earnings of $163 million in 2014, with an increase to $5.2 billion in total revenues.
“I certainly know that the infrastructure within our province, the infrastructure that is here right now is aging, so we need to have a renewal process on that,” said Minister Responsible for Crown Investments Corporation, Don McMorris. “As well as then with the growth of the province, new infrastructure needs to be built as well. That’s why CIC through the Crowns has invested 1.9 billlion in infrastructure this past year, which is a record amount of spending into infrastructure within the province. It will be every year as we move forward, whether it’s through SaskPower or SaskEnergy, making sure that the infrastructure that they have in place is as up to date and as renewed as we possibly can. We know that there are more people and more businesses moving to the province, and they need services whether it’s telephone, power or energy.”
SaskEnergy did $300 million worth of capital construction in Saskatchewan last year in order to develop the infrastructure for over 7300 new customers and businesses coming into the province.
“You need to have the infrastructure for people to come,” said Director of Media Relations for SaskEnergy, Dave Burdeniuk. “That’s where our capital program comes from, and for SaskEnergy as far as our earnings last year we also had to deal with a lot of weather events. We came out of one of the coldest winters in decades and that really challenged us and our system. We did have to go out and buy additional natural gas supplies in the dead of winter and that was all at very high market prices. We had flooding issues throughout mainly the south east and into east central Saskatchewan that we dealt with. We did have challenges with ground shifting in resort communities around some of the lakes in the province, so that did effect our earnings but we still were able to return positive earnings for the people of the province. Really, it’s building infrastructure and keeping in pace with the growth that we’re seeing. We’re seeing tremendous growth and we have now for the last 7 or 8 years, and really it’s showing no signs of stopping.”
McMorris added he believes the Crown Corporations have been serving the people of the province well.
“We realize that there are challenges as we move forward, but they’re serving the people well trying to provide the services that we need here in the province at a cost that is reasonable. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been increases, but I think our basket of our services are quite reasonable and continue to grow and meet the demands of the province,” explained McMorris. “It really does focus around our whole initiative as we move forward through CIC, it’s all geared around Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth. Looking at where we want to be as a population in 2020 and what we need to be able to meet that need. They’re working hard to make sure that we meet that growth target, and I think it’s good for the province and I think it’s good for the people in the province.”
Other projects included the launch of Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project, the continued expansion of Sasktel’s fibre network InfiNET, and the $6.5 million spent by SaskWater on asset refurbishment and replacement.
SaskTel, SaskEnergy, and SaskPower spent $1.9 billion in 2014, despite challenges of competition and high construction and operation costs.
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