EDMONTON, AB (August 6, 2013): The massive spike in wholesale electricity prices between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013 demonstrates that Energy Minister Ken Hughes is oblivious to the deficiencies in the power market that continue to gouge families and businesses, Wildrose Utilities Critic Joe Anglin said today.
The spike, reported by the Market Surveillance Administrator over the weekend, saw the average pool price jump from $40 to $123 – a 207% increase. Anglin attempted to alert Hughes to the potential for massive wholesale spikes in Question Period on May 14, but Hughes dismissed the notion, saying Anglin was using “evidence that is unconnected to what people pay for electricity.” “Minister Hughes clearly doesn’t understand how the power market works,” Anglin said. “As long as retailers purchase power from wholesalers, they will continue to pass along these massive spikes to consumers, which will mean higher power bills for families and small businesses. We’ve got to change how the wholesale market operates so there aren’t these wild swings in electricity prices.” Wildrose is committed to changing how electricity is bought and sold in order to reduce price spikes, possibly by introducing a day-ahead market that would allow for lower wholesale prices and allowing consumers who choose the regulated rate option to decide between short and long-term prices. “The current market isn’t working for families and businesses,” Anglin said. “In order to have affordable power bills for families and predictable overheads for businesses, we can’t keep having these big spikes in power prices.”