NDP Blames Sask. Party’s Carbon Capture Spending for SaskPower Failures

Preventative maintenance, inspections and planning have all suffered in recent years at SaskPower under Sask. Party management, the latest Auditor’s Report shows, and, with widespread power outages hitting the province this month, the NDP is calling for action to address the issue.

“The auditor’s report clearly shows that the Sask. Party has dropped the ball on the inspection, maintenance and record-keeping of SaskPower’s above-ground assets,” said NDP SaskPower Critic Cathy Sproule. “If SaskPower isn’t given the proper tools or funds to effectively serve the province, then we’re all left in the dark.”

According to the report, during 2017-18, SaskPower completed less than two-thirds of planned inspections, and less than one-half of its preventative maintenance on its assets used for distributing electricity throughout the province.

The auditor also highlighted that over the past five years, aging infrastructure was the cause of 34% of SaskPower’s unplanned power outages, with much of the Crown Corporation’s distribution infrastructure built between 1950 and 1965.

According to the report, SaskPower:

  • doesn’t have risk assessments in place to ensure maintenance of the above-ground assets,
  • lacks complete and consistent data about its assets,
  • has indicated it doesn’t have enough resources to complete all maintenance tasks assessed as very high or high priority,
  • has never inspected 71% of its switches (they’re supposed to be inspected every five years),
  • and in 2017-18 completed less than two-thirds of planned inspections and less than one-half of its preventative maintenance. 

“The government’s failure to properly manage SaskPower brings no comfort to the people of the province as we head into the colder months, where the last thing anyone needs is a power outage,” NDP Leader Ryan Meili said. “Just imagine how much further ahead we’d be if the $1.7 billion the Sask. Party sunk into experimental carbon capture had gone into maintenance, infrastructure, grid diversification, and keeping rates down for consumers instead. That’s why we’re proposing a major investment in distributed energy production and grid upgrades called Renew Saskatchewan.”