Albertans deserve answers on blackouts: Anglin

EDMONTON, AB (July 11, 2012): Today Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin is asking for Energy Minister Ken Hughes and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to release the information on what caused six generators to shut down on Monday resulting in province wide power outages.

The details of the number of individuals and locations affected by the blackouts will also not be released.  The blackouts caused power outages in Edmonton and Calgary, impacting residences, businesses and road intersections, yet neither municipal officials nor police were notified in advance about the shutdowns. 

Anglin pointed out that, up to this point, very limited information has been made available to the public about what mechanical issues caused the individual generators to shut off.   He agreed with Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel calling the lack of notification “unacceptable,” and went on to say the government must implement a fully transparent process and AESO must release the findings in their investigation about the blackout, so Albertans can be assured that consumers are protected. 

“Premier Alison Redford had promised a more open and transparent government, but right now it looks like the same old PC government keeping information of public interest behind closed doors,” Anglin said.  “Given that there have been instances in the past where power consumers have been gouged by the system because of planned power shortages; Albertans deserve answers to clear the air.  The government is misleading and trying to get Albertans to believe that more transmission lines would have prevented the crisis, but the problem was generation, not transmission. This is why it is so important for the findings to be made available to Albertans.” 

Anglin also criticized the government for lacking leadership in an electrical system that is not getting results for Alberta consumers, arguing that the blackouts on Monday could have been avoided. 

“Had the PC government put together any proactive strategy that would allow Alberta to utilize its abundance of natural gas for power generation, Albertans would not have had to experience the rolling blackouts,” Anglin said. “The system would be more efficient, more stable and would cost Albertans a fraction of the billions of dollars the government is proposing to spend on unnecessary new transmission lines.”

A demand-side management strategy was also proposed by Anglin to increase energy efficiency and conservation that would save Alberta consumers from higher power bills in the long-term.  Many other jurisdictions throughout the world have successfully implemented demand-side management strategies benefitting both producers and consumers. 

More on the Wildrose policy on energy and electricity can be found here.

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