The Town of High River has municipal franchise fee agreements with both ATCO Gas and Fortis Alberta. Both of these companies provide natural gas and electricity, respectively, to residents and businesses of High River.
In 2004, The Town of High River entered into a franchise fee agreement with ATCO Gas and Pipeline Ltd. to deliver natural gas services to residents and businesses in High River. At that time, the Town’s franchise fee was set at 13 per cent.
During the 2019 budget approval on January 2019, Council made the decision to increase ATCO’s franchise fees to 20 per cent. This increased rate will supplement the 2019 operating budget by $85,000, and $176,000 in 2020 and beyond.
The new rate will come into effect on May 1, 2019. This means that an average residential customer will see a $2.61 charge on their monthly gas bill ($31.32 per year). This amount is based on an average consumption rate of about 115 GJ per year.
For a small use non-residential customer, the increase would result in an increased payment of $23.89 per month ($286.69 per year). This amount is based on an average consumption rate of about 2,800 GJ per year.
Residents and businesses may send their support for, concerns about, or objections to the Town of High River Finance Department (to the attention of the Chief Financial Officer) on or before April 1, 2019.
For more information on franchise fees or to receive a copy of the franchise agreement please contact Kola Oladimeji, Chief Financial Officer, at 403-652-2110 or email@example.com.
Franchise fees are a source of revenue for the Town as part of the organization’s operating budget. Such revenue helps to diversify and offset property taxes.
Over the last 15 years, ATCO Gas has been the sole provider of natural gas within the community. Over this time period, the Town has not increased the franchise fee.
The highest allowable rate for natural gas franchise fees is 35 per cent. Even at 20 per cent, High River holds one of the lowest rates among community of our size. Both Stony Plain and Vulcan currently sit at 30 and 35 per cent, respectively.
The increased fee will now also be in line with the Town’s electricity franchise fee agreement with Fortis Alberta (currently set at 20 per cent) to provide electricity service to High River.