Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, would like to rise on the occasion of Power Rate Increase Day. Effective today, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation will increase electricity rates for its customers an average of 2 per cent. That means residential customers using around 1,000 kilowatt-hours in the winter will pay between $4 and $7.50 extra per month. This, compounded with the 40 per cent increase over seven years of electricity rate in the Northwest Territories, is increasingly making our cost of living untenable.
There is only so much we can do, being Northerners and having to accept the reality that some things will be more expensive here, but power doesn't necessarily have to be one of them. I firmly believe that the NWT has such tremendous hydroelectric potential that we could be a net exporter of hydroelectricity at some point in the near future.
To get there, we need a transformative plan and a real vision to expand our hydroelectric system and make connections with the south. This is the only real way, I believe, that we can effectively reduce our power rates. The current system is unsustainable. We are always going to see more and more increases year on year and more and more people struggling to pay.
That increases the cost to government. It increases the cost to our social programs. It increases the cost to the average household, the average Northerner. I do see the government is taking the Taltson hydro expansion seriously, but I have to question how seriously when they are committing their energy strategy and their climate-change strategy to this Taltson project and that 44 per cent of their greenhouse gas reductions depend on the completion of this project, yet we have received no federal funding.
If we are going to meet our commitments to climate change, if we are going to once and for all reduce the cost of living, we need to back this project. We need to make it a top priority with the time we have left in this Assembly and make sure we have the strongest case possible to finally put an end to the endless increases of the electricity rates in the Northwest Territories and make a real difference for our residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.