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NORTHERNERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT SASKENERGY'S NATURAL GAS SERVICE OFFERING

March 8, 2007

NORTHERNERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT SASKENERGY'S NATURAL GAS SERVICE OFFERING

The La Ronge area will be joining Saskatchewan's natural gas pipeline system, thanks to the overwhelming response by northern residents, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and businesses to SaskEnergy's customer service offering.

Close to 800 homeowners, businesses and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band have signed customer offers with SaskEnergy, far surpassing the utility's customer goal for this project. SaskEnergy required 500 customer commitments to ensure the viability of extending a high-pressure natural gas pipeline from Montreal Lake to the La Ronge area.

"The communities have recognized the economic and environmental benefits natural gas will bring to La Ronge, Air Ronge, Weyakwin and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band," Crown Investments Corporation Minister Maynard Sonntag said on behalf of Minister responsible for SaskEnergy Andrew Thomson. "While our government's $14 million investment paved the way for this project to proceed, based on the response to SaskEnergy's customer service offering, the people of the area have truly embraced the opportunity to reduce their energy costs and diversify their economy."

The total capital cost to extend SaskEnergy's natural gas pipelines from its current northern limit of Montreal Lake a further 152 kilometres to La Ronge is $20.8 million. The Government of Saskatchewan provided a $7 million grant for this project, matching SaskEnergy's $7 million investment. The remaining $6.8 million will come as a result of residential and commercial customer contributions.

"Besides the obvious lower energy costs and environmental benefits," Northern Affairs Minister and Cumberland Member of the Legislative Assembly Joan Beatty said. "The construction of this pipeline provides new job opportunities and skill development for workers throughout the north. The introduction of natural gas service will reduce the region's high energy costs significantly, and further protect the environment so important to the northern way of life."

Residents of La Ronge will be able to save up to 40 per cent on their energy costs by converting from current fuel sources to natural gas space and water heating. The average residential customer will be able to convert their home to natural gas with a payback period of approximately five years. "The Anglin Lake - La Ronge Natural Gas Committee began its work 10 years ago because people had a vision of economic growth that included an energy source everyone in the region could benefit from," Anglin Lake - La Ronge Natural Gas Committee chairperson Alice Tataryn said. "This is a proud day for all committee members, past and present, who never gave up the chance to make their communities stronger."

Phase I of this project extended SaskEnergy's natural gas pipeline from Prince Albert north to Anglin Lake, McPhee Lake, Waskesiu, Elk Ridge and Montreal Lake in 1999. Phase II construction will begin later this spring, completing the natural gas service extension from Montreal Lake to the La Ronge area by spring 2008.

Customers in the La Ronge area can still sign up for SaskEnergy service by calling toll free at 1-877-664-8324 or receive more information online at www.saskenergy.com.

For more information, contact:

  Dave Burdeniuk
  SaskEnergy
  Regina
  Phone: (306) 777-9842
  Email: dburdeniuk@saskenergy.com
  Cell: (306) 535-6569