Electricity Transmission Costs Out of Control in Alberta
Today in the Edmonton Journal, Darcy Henton writes, “Transmission costs on Alberta power bills are climbing at unsustainable rates with increases that are unprecedented in North America, consumer groups warn.” The Alberta Consumers’ Coalition, the Direct Connect Consumers Association and the Industrial Power Consumers Association have warned in a paper submitted to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) that “transmission rates have escalated to the point where they threaten to affect development of electrical generation and the energy market” in Alberta.
David Gray, former Executive Director of the Utilities Consumer Advocate, recently said that transmission costs, which typically comprise about 15% of North American power bills, are expected to soon make up 45% of electricity bills in Alberta. Gray attributes the soaring transmission rates to the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) grossly overestimating the growth in demand for power and, together with the transmission industry, overbuilding the transmission system. Gray said, “Where Alberta has drifted way off the track is in the distribution and transmission of power. These charges are regulated but have become extraordinarily high – even with a firm regulator overseeing the costs.”
RETA has pointed out for the past 7 years that the AESO, AUC and transmission industry in Alberta have worked in collusion to invent electricity demands that did not exist and to consequently build massively expensive transmission lines that were not needed. RETA, many other associations, businesses, industries, municipalities, and tens of thousands of Alberta homeowners have argued repeatedly at AUC hearings on the building of new transmission lines that most of these lines are unnecessary, or at minimum, are gross overbuilds. Well, the ratepayer experts have now confirmed, jointly, that Albertans will likely soon be paying the highest electricity transmission rates in North America. The chickens have finally come home to roost.