FNPA Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership With SaskPower
Saskatchewan is changing, and the way the province is powered is changing as well. SaskPower is a provincial leader in innovation. Ten years ago, SaskPower and the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) established an important partnership to ensure Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities have a voice in power generation. FNPA serves as the voice of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous electricity interests and is an important, valued SaskPower partner.
Many Saskatchewan First Nations are pursuing economic development through power generation and ownership. The FNPA streamlines the process for these communities to move their projects forward for consideration.
The decade-long partnership between SaskPower and the FNPA is driven by mutual respect, collaboration understanding, and a clear vision for the future of power generation in Saskatchewan.
Ten Years of Partnership
In 2011, the initial Master Agreement, ushered in a new era of collaboration with various First Nations in Saskatchewan and SaskPower. The Master Agreement acknowledges the need for Indigenous communities and businesses in SaskPower’s power generation and sought community partnerships through collaboration and advocacy. As a company, SaskPower understands the need to engage with
Saskatchewan Indigenous communities to help shape the province’s power future. SaskPower also recognized that in order to deliver its services to all Saskatchewan residents, a more diverse collection of voices needed to be part of the decision-making process.
In 2012, SaskPower implemented a new Indigenous Procurement Policy aimed at enabling participation of Indigenous communities and businesses in the company’s supply chain.
In 2015, SaskPower established an Indigenous Procurement Standard and dedicated a team of employees to implement this initiative. This standard is geared to increase Saskatchewan’s Indigenous participation in SaskPower’s supply chain and create economic benefits within Indigenous communities who are interested in working with the Crown corporation.
The relationship between FNPA and SaskPower is one that enables and authorizes Indigenous communities to participate in power generation, and then sell this power to SaskPower. FNPA has been very involved in the SaskPower Power Generation Partner Program (PGPP), helping First Nations meet with SaskPower to discuss potential projects. Some of the First Nations that have successfully applied and been accepted into the PGPP include the Ocean Man First Nation and the Muskoday First Nation.
In the Community
Since 2014, SaskPower has awarded more than $302 million to Indigenous project procurement, with over 500 purchase orders to Indigenous companies.
The commitment to reach and serve Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities goes beyond business. In 2019, SaskPower introduced the Indigenous Customer Care program focused on engaging with six northern and remote Indigenous communities, in order to address challenges with high and fluctuating electricity bills. The Indigenous Customer Care (ICC) team works directly with these communities to build energy literacy, improve home efficiency, and hires local members to share energy knowledge and answer common questions about bills. The ICC program also offers the opportunity to work with the FNPA to create a Community Energy Plan, which envisions the community’s future energy efficiency.
The First Nations Power Authority has also helped the ICC to develop a community-facing workshop focused on reducing power bills by teaching energy conservation and efficiency concepts that can be easily done at home.
Investing in the Future
Innovation isn’t a one-time thing. SaskPower recognizes that to continue to meet the demands of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities, the company must continue to evolve. With this in mind, SaskPower promotes the next generation of power leadership through funding to Indigenous-based education institutions, including Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) and the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC).
SaskPower is committed to fostering and supporting Indigenous innovation in Saskatchewan. In 2020, SaskPower provided more than $800,000 in grants to Indigenous- focused programs at Saskatchewan schools, including $450,000 to the Power Engineering Program Maintenance and the Powerline Technician Pre-Apprenticeship Programs at SIIT, $100,000 to FNUC to upgrade computer labs, and $250,000 to the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Achievement Pathways Program.
A Bright Future Ahead
SaskPower is proud to have shared in ten years of partnership with the First Nations Power Authority, and the benefits it has brought to the communities SaskPower serves. It is a partnership that has benefited all sides. Through establishing mutual goals, reducing emissions, and fostering continued economic development, it’s clear that the future is bright.
After a decade working together, in 2021 SaskPower and the FNPA will review the Master Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding and determine a future that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. The focus of these documents remains on moving Saskatchewan’s power future to a place that is sustainable, responsible, and innovative. The partnership is a transformation in Saskatchewan power generation, emission reduction and economic development, and has laid the groundwork for a brighter future.