EDMONTON, AB (July 10, 2012): Energy Minister Ken Hughes is misleading Albertans by suggesting that yesterday’s province wide blackout justifies this government’s plan to create a massive overbuild of new transmission lines Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin said today. As confirmed by the Alberta Electrical Systems Operator (AESO); six generators or power plants turned off unexpectedly at or about the same time causing rolling blackouts, and electricity prices to spike to $999 MWh. As a result AESO forced utilities to reduce demand by arbitrarily shutting off electricity in certain regions of the province.
“It doesn't matter how many transmission lines we build or connect to the generators, if the generators are turned off, the lights will turn off,” Anglin said. “It is completely irresponsible for the Minister of Energy to suggest that billions of dollars of new transmission lines would have played any part in preventing the power outage.” Wildrose would repeal Bill 50 and establish an independent, transparent and objective needs based assessment to determine power line construction and ensure that all future transmission line expansion meets Alberta's electricity requirements. Hughes also failed to provide an adequate explanation as to why the generators went off yesterday, saying that “officials don’t get much notification when a problem is on the horizon.” With too many unanswered questions from the government, Anglin asked for an investigation to clear the air. “The likelihood of six generators going offline independently at or about the same time in Alberta, on a peak demand day, is incredibly suspicious. We have seen the market manipulated before and as a result Albertans had to pick up the tab for higher power bills,” Anglin said. “This type of power outage is extremely rare and we need to bring these issues that impact consumers into the light to guarantee an electric system that works for all Albertans.”