Spending our Money BEFORE Transmission Lines Approved
We have long worried that the AUC process set up by the government to review the impacts of so-called ‘critical’ transmission infrastructure was merely about adding a veneer of legitimacy to a decision which the government had already made. Those worries were confirmed today by a report in the Calgary Herald, showing that power companies have been authorized to spend hundreds of millions of dollars even though some of the projects in question have still not been approved. These costs will ultimately fall on rate-payers (you and I), even if the lines do not go ahead.
The lines at issue in this particular story are the two planned North-South transmission lines, currently the subject of a ‘review’ in Calgary and Edmonton. (As this story demonstrates, this review is yet another sham-consultation aimed at giving government action the appearance of being above-board). ATCO and AltaLink have revealed that they have already spent $200 million getting ready for these lines. The government has now asked the companies to avoid ‘unnecessary’ further expenditures, but either way these costs will likely be passed on to rate-payers. How absurd that Alberta’s consumers are already facing their sentence before they have even stood trial and had a chance to defend their interests!
The companies in this case spent rate-payers’ money before the approval process was over with the full knowledge and permission of the government. As noted by an Alberta Energy spokesman quoted in the article, companies were authorized to spend money to ‘prepare for the construction of the lines before the completion of the approval process.
When it comes to the Heartland Transmission Line, it has long been apparent that the provincial government and the power companies had decided exactly what was going to happen before we (the funders and those affected by this line) ever had a say. Our money was in fact being spent on an unneeded, unapproved, and un-reviewed line a long time ago. This demonstrates how complete the degeneration of our institutions of democratic consultation has been under this government. A change of leadership in this province is badly needed.
You can read the full story in the Herald here: http://www.calgaryherald.com/200M+already+spent+proposed+transmission+lines+under+review/6006888/story.html