Albertans to Pay Even More for Power During Upcoming “Price Spike”

The Alberta Government Utilities Consumer Advocate is warning Albertans to brace themselves for an expected 30% to 40% spike in electricity prices in May (Calgary Herald). This will cost consumers in Canada’s only fully deregulated market millions of dollars; Albertans are already paying among the highest prices for power in the country.

RETA AESO logoThe price spike is triggered by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), which has announced several planned power plant outages and the shut down of a major 500kV line so it can be connected to AltaLink’s controversial new Western Alberta Transmission Line (WATL). (One could certainly argue that whatever additional costs electricity consumers must pay for the 12 days over which this connection is to take place in May should be added to the cost of the WATL which is already over budget at $1.65 billion.)

RETA dollar sign image (smaller)NDP Leader Brian Mason said the situation is another example of how the deregulated electricity market, brought in by the P.C. government, doesn’t work in consumers’ interests. “It subjects them to sky-high prices and very volatile prices”, he said. Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said an energy-rich province like Alberta should have the lowest-cost electricity in the country, but instead it has among the highest. “The cost going up even more is very disconcerting. It’s going to hurt seniors. It’s going to hurt families”, he said. Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin said, “Without knowing any of the particulars, I can tell you there has to be a better way of doing this. They have created a false scenario that will cost consumers millions of dollars.”

A P.C. MLA Committee is supposed to be recommending changes to the retail electricity market to reduce price volatility, but it has still not reported to the Alberta Energy Minister, and is not expected to until the P.C.s have sorted out their leadership issue.

~ by RETA on April 18, 2014.

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