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Blackouts signal a broken system: Anglin

EDMONTON, AB (July 3, 2013): Yesterday’s rolling blackouts across Alberta that impacted families and businesses is a direct result of a broken system that needs to be fixed, Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin said today.

AESO reported that the rolling blackouts that impacted Lethbridge, Red Deer and Edmonton were a result of low wind generation, planned and unplanned maintenance and pointed to the single failure of a transformer at a substation near Edmonton.  Anglin said that after last year’s rolling blackouts, it’s unacceptable that for two years running  Alberta power consumers have been put at risk of being nickel and dimed by power shortages in Alberta’s electricity market.  “Despite Minister Ken Hughes saying that the system is working wonderfully for Albertans, it’s clear that the system is not working, especially given that consumers have been gouged by the system before because of planned power shortages,” Anglin said.  “We need leadership in this province that is willing to recognize that a problem exists and that it is time to roll up our sleeves to fix it.”  Despite yesterday’s peak use of 10,062 MW, it is still well below the all time demand record of 10,609 MW set in January 2012.  Alberta’s electricity system has a supply of up to 14,000  MW when all generators are running at full capacity.  “For our system not to be prepared for hot weather in July and leaving consumers at risk is simply unacceptable,” Anglin said. “The system needs to be more efficient and more stable so it’s working to benefit consumers, families and business owners instead of them getting gouged when another hot day strikes.”  The Wildrose believes that reform is needed in the way electricity is bought and sold in Alberta and in implementing a proactive strategy that would allow Alberta to utilize its abundance of natural gas for power generation, resulting in more secure and efficient generation for power consumers.