The Crown Corporations have devised an interest referral program to help ease some of the financial stress residents are facing due to COVID-19.
SaskPower, SaskEnergy, and SaskTel all have interest waiver programs in place. This means that no interest, no late penalties, and no disconnections will be applied for six months. After that 6-month grace period, people will then have an additional 12 months to catch up on their bills.
For example, if the average cost of utilities is $100 per month, then with the interest deferral program, there would be no interest applied during those six months. Once the six months are over, the average cost for utilities for the next year would be $150 per month.
Minister Responsible for SGI, Minister Hargrave explains,
“It's an interest deferral program. For six months, there will be no interest or late charges for late payments. No interest charges for any payments. We are not collecting for 6 months. We are still encouraging people to pay their bills. Eventually, they are going to have to pay it but after the 6-month program, the next 6 months, what will happen is that bill will still be due but what we will do is make arrangements so that you can pay it like over 12 months.”
He stresses that it is in the best interest of the individual if they can continue to pay their bill, if possible.
This interest deferral program applies to businesses as well. Especially for those businesses that were forced to close due to the provincial state of emergency. Other businesses, that are closed to public traffic but are still operating, are still experiencing a huge decline in income, can also apply for this program.
Minister Hargrave adds,
“There are a lot of businesses that have to be closed and they are still going to have some bills coming in but they'll have no revenue coming in or limited revenue coming in (like the restaurants). Many businesses will want to take advantage of this program and they should.”
The Minister did mention that SGI does not apply under the program guidelines as insurance is not typically a monthly expense that is based on usage.
The Crown Corporations, according to the Minister, is in a financial position that they can afford a disruption in cash flow to assist those in need during this difficult time.
Residents and businesses in need can simply contact SaskPower, SaskEnergy or SaskTel and sign up with any or all the Crown Corporation’s interest deferral programs.