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2 Tuesday June 9 2015 POLITICS ENERGY NEWS BRIEFS Child tax benets no longer income for public housing tenants Child tax benets and payments to foster parents will no longer be counted as income in the rent calculation for public housing tenants in the NWT Minister Rob- ert C. McLeod announced last week. The NWT Hous- ing Corp. will be changing its policies to allow for full implementation by Oct. 1 2015. Total income will be based off the income tax returns of household mem- bers to calculate rent. Minister announces new incentives for NWT students NWT Education Minister Jackson Lafferty announced changes to Student Financial Assistance last week. In the 2015-16 academic year students will see improvements to loan remission rates for faster debt forgiveness 2000 for studentswhoresideintheNWTtobeappliedtostudentloan debtazeropercentinterestrateforstudentswhoreturnto the NWT after completing their studies increased funding for tuition and books and increased borrowing limits for students actively paying down their debt. An online appli- cation process was launched June 1. GNWT maintains Aa1 credit rating Moodys Investors Service again recognized the NWT nancial management regime with an Aa1 credit rating last week. The stable outlook rating is based on Moodys annual review of the GNWTs scal plans and outlook including borrowing activity and the impact of devolu- tion. The high investment grade rating reects prudent scal policies a low debt burden and a developed scal framework with a track record of positive consolidated surpluses. The highest possible Moodys rating is Aaa one tier above the GNWTs. 926 MACKENZIE HIGHWAY HAY RIVER NT 867-874-2771 Toll Free 1-866-327-0717 MONSTER NOW CARRIES FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION. Fishing Rods Tackle and a large selection of Hunting Knives also available DONT BE SASSEDBY A MOOSE BY MEAGAN WOHLBERG The battle over power de- livery in Hay River heated up last week as representa- tives from Northland Utili- ties Ltd. NUL turned the tables on the NT Power Corp. NTPC accusing their poli- cies of forcing the 30 per cent Northland blames Power Corp. for high Hay River power rates rate difference between com- munities in the South Slave. NUL vice president of Northern development Doug Tenney issued a press release early last week blaming the crown corporation and the territorial government for power rates in Hay River that are 0.31 per kilowatt hour kWh - 10 cents more than in Fort Smith. The current system is complicated and burdened with government policy that can only be changed when all players involved sit down and explore every option to reduce rates Tenney said. The current electrical sys- tem is governed by a policy that charges different rates based on location - whether in thermal or hydro com- munities - and proximity to hydro generation facilities. According to NUL Hay River is mandated to pay more for transmission costs which contributes to the rate disparity with Fort Smith. This is further com- pounded by the government- owned NTPC charging Hay River 30 per cent more than FortSmithforpoweraccord- ing to NUL. Current GNWT policy prevents this disparity from being corrected in any substantive manner. The minister responsible for NTPC Michael Milten- bergerwasquestionedexten- sively on the claims put forth by NUL in the legislature last week with Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny taking special interest in the matter. Dolynny asked why NTPC has been knowingly over- charging customers in Hay River since 2008 totalling roughly 1 million a year. The minister of NTPC and the premier have said many times during the ses- sion that the government has no intention to expro- priate Northland Utilities from the NWT. Its hard for me to believe that when this government has introduced government policy after gov- ernment policy and has pe- nalized Northland Utilities customers just because who serves them he said. Those assertions were backed up by Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley who said a 2008 Public Utilities Board PUBstudyfoundNTPCwas being compensated 130 per cent of costs for South Slave communities. Not only was this not cor- rected government ignored this fact increased their own legislativepoweroverthesup- posedlyarms-lengthPUBand crippled the PUBs ability to do their job with government feeissuedthisAprilBromley said. The directive limits the PUB to issuing rate adjust- ments of only one per cent or less with the result that NT- PCs 30 per cent overcharge is still true today will remain in place with only very minor adjustments perhaps for de- cades. So much for reducing cost of living. Dolynnyevenwentasfaras to accuse the government of market disruption imply- ing it was using policies to push NUL out of the territory and picking and choosing which communities benet most from NTPC subsidies possibly to benet Milten- bergers home riding of The- bacha Fort Smith. PUB sets rates minister The ministers response in legislature has been that the PUB sets the rates and that no secret nefarious ploys have been made behind the scenes. Miltenberger said a rate re- balancingprocessiscurrently underway to x a problematic systeminheritedfromthefed- eral government that is well supersededinmanycasesby therequirementforNTPCand the government to put money intothingstoprotecttherates forallpowerusersintheNorth- west Territories regardless of whoprovidesorwhodistributes the power including the 57 millionputtowardscushioning rates over the last four years. With some coaxing by Hay River North MLA Robert BouchardMiltenbergeradded thattheGNWTRateEqualiza- tionProgramsubsidizesNUL to the tune of half a million dollars per year to bring rates downinthefourNUL-serviced thermal communities. As well Miltenberger said NUL - an ATCO company based out of Calgary - makes 3 million per year in prot that leaves the territory while all of the money NTPC makes is reinvested in the NWT. Attempts by the Journal to arrangeaninterviewwithMilt- enberger were unsuccessful. Dolynny asked the same questions of Premier Bob McLeod who replied that Dolynnys numbers were incorrect. Im not sure where hes getting his numbers from but my understanding is its only a difference of one or two cents McLeod said of the rate disparity between Hay River and Fort Smith. DolynnyaswellasHayRiver MLA Jane Groenewegen ex- pressed disappointment that cabinet has refused to meet withNULtoworktogetheron bringingdownratesforcustom- ersashasbeenrepeatedlyre- quested by the company. This government vis a vis this minister has refused to sit down and communicate withaprivatesectorcompany thats been in the Northwest Territories for 60 years to see what they might bring to that discussion in developing an energy plan Groenewegen said of Miltenberger. PhotocourtesyofNUL A Northland Utilities powerline technician works on the electrical system in Hay River.