Landowner Rights vs. Industry Powers in Alberta

Amy Cunningham of Eckville, Alberta has written one of the best summaries RETA has seen about how powerless Alberta landowners and homeowners are when it comes to electricity transmission in Alberta.  Cunningham’s summary appears in letter form in the Rimbey ReviewEckville Echo and Lacombe Globe.

As an intervener in the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL) hearing, she describes the Alberta Government’s abuse of power and the government’s arrogance in bestowing power upon corporations like AltaLink.

Cunningham writes about the provincial government’s passing of Bill 50 in 2009 which stripped the rights of the public, industry and the AUC to determine the need for new high voltage power lines. This is particularly frustrating to Cunningham because Alberta ratepayers must pay 100% of the cost of new transmission infrastructure, while the transmission companies, like AltaLink, own the lines and reap a guaranteed 9% annual return on our investment. She goes on to say landowners who get stuck living next to these monstrous new overhead power lines have to pay even further by having their health, safety, property values, farming operations and overall quality of life negatively impacted.

Cunningham points out the Alberta Government’s well-known interest in exporting electricity to the United States through transmission lines that Albertans pay for. She refers to the cozy relationship between AltaLink, it’s parent company SNC-Lavalin and the Alberta P.C. Party, and describes how AltaLink was handed the contract to build the WATL without any competitive bidding.

Cunningham describes her frustration in dealing with the AUC hearing process, and suggests the P.C. government, AltaLink and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) collaborate in the role of puppet master, holding the strings, and the AUC plays the role of puppet.

We encourage our followers to read Amy Cunningham’s letters in their entirety in the Rimbey ReviewEckville Echo and Lacombe Globe. She has captured the very sad state of Alberta’s electricity transmission in very accurate and bold language.

~ by RETA on July 8, 2012.

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