Posted on Jul 2, 2021
HEATWAVE PROVES THAT UCP GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE ACTION ON ELECTRICITY COSTS FOR ALBERTANS AND BUSINESSES
CALGARY - Concerns over potentially increasing electricity bills due to the ongoing heatwave highlight the UCP Government’s failure to protect Albertans from rising electricity costs.
“Albertans were already suffering from the impacts of the pandemic and many businesses are still struggling with high levels of debt. Now they’re facing even higher power bills because the UCP have completely lost touch with the costs that Albertans and small businesses are facing,” said NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley.
Alberta’s NDP is calling for relief on power bills as the province broke the summer peak electricity-use record this week on June 28, and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) says that electricity demand will continue to climb.
Analysis shows that bills have increased significantly under the UCP government, at a time when many Albertans can least afford it. The NDP capped consumer prices under the Regulated Rate Option in 2016. The UCP removed this cap and consumer prices have climbed. Albertans on a regulated rate (approximately one million) have seen a 31 per cent increase to their bills under the UCP. Albertans on a variable rate which is a direct reflection of market prices, have seen a much bigger increase of 69 per cent under the UCP. For a farm using an average of 44,000 kwh this increase would amount to an increase of more than $900 on the regulated rate. Similarly for a small business using 20,000 kwh the increase would be approximately $400 in the regulated rate
These estimates exclude the potential price increases this June and July to manage extreme heat including residential and commercial fans, cooling and misting for livestock, commercial refrigeration, and air conditioning.
In response to the latest price spikes under the UCP, the NDP are calling for the following actions to be taken by the UCP:
- Provide immediate price protection to keep monthly bills affordable for homes, small businesses, and small farms.
- Address rising electricity delivery costs, like transmission and distribution charges, that are an increasing burden on Alberta families and businesses, particularly in rural Alberta.
“Economic recovery needs to include all Albertans,” Ganley said. “One way to do this is to provide protection for consumers. Alberta’s NDP is committed to a stable electricity grid, and predictable pricing for consumers.”
- In 2012 and 2013, under the previous Progressive Conservative government, Alberta was hit by rolling blackouts in major cities and massive price increases.
- In 2016, the NDP Government capped electricity prices under the RRO at 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour in order to bring affordability and predictability to Albertans.
- Through three rounds of the NDP-era Renewable Energy Program, Alberta attracted $2.2 billion in private sector investment and created over 1,700 jobs in the renewable energy sector while setting a record low price for renewable energy in Canada that was competitive with fossil fuel generation. A recent study by the University of Calgary School of Public Policy found that the first three projects that have come online under REP have already generated $26 million in government revenue since coming into operation.
- In 2019, Jason Kenney and the UCP removed the price cap for consumers.
In June 2021, Alberta’s NDP proposed to build on successes of the Renewable Electricity Program to achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and make Alberta a powerhouse in North America of renewable energy. The plan is expected to create at least 60,000 jobs while creating a stable and affordable electricity system.