EDMONTON, AB (December 13, 2013): Despite former Energy Minister Ken Hughes insisting Alberta is “in the middle of the pack” in terms of rates for power bills, a new report from Hydro Quebec shows Edmonton and Calgary are paying some of the highest power prices in North America, Wildrose Electricity and Renewable Energy Critic Joe Anglin said today. The report is a comparative analysis of prices in effect on April 1, 2013. It shows that Edmonton and Calgary are among the highest cost cities for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.
“Once again, we are seeing how this PC government cannot be trusted. Last spring, we raised the alarm, yet the government insisted there was nothing to worry about,” Anglin said. “But this new report shows not only are Albertans paying among the highest prices in Canada, but are paying some of the highest power prices in North America. Clearly, Albertans are being asked to pick up the tab for an electricity system that is broken and failing to put consumers first.” The report found that large and medium size businesses in Alberta’s two largest cities pay the highest price for electricity compared to all cities listed in North America. Compared to Calgary, the cost of electricity to operate a large business was 22.3% cheaper in Toronto. In Regina, the cost to run a business is 50.1% cheaper. In Texas, where a deregulated self-contained electricity market is structured much like Alberta’s electricity market, large consumer prices are 49.7% cheaper in Houston. Moderate power users (small business) pay 41.4% less for electricity than in Alberta. Where electricity costs are a factor in running a business operation, Alberta’s dysfunctional electricity market is offsetting Alberta’s low tax advantage, and threatens the economic diversification of the province. With high power bills hurting families and businesses, Anglin said it’s time for the government to look at making improvements in the system. “Right now this government is plowing ahead with a reckless overbuild on transmission lines, is presiding over a broken market place and is failing to even recognize there is a problem,” Anglin said. “There is a better way. Simply put, the current system is not working for Albertans who rely on it.” Wildrose is committed to changing how electricity is bought and sold in order to reduce price spikes and implementing a proactive strategy that would allow Alberta to utilize natural gas, hydro and renewable resources for power generation, resulting in more secure and efficient generation for ratepayers.