Government tables legislation to cap electricity prices

by Morinville News Staff

The NDP say proposed legislation introduced today would cap electricity prices and protect the pocketbooks of Albertans.

An Act to Cap Regulated Electricity Rates would ensure Albertans on the Regulated Rate Option (the default electricity contract for most Alberta consumers) would pay no more than 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour over a four-year period from June 1 of this year to May 31, 2021.

“With this bill, we’re following through on the promise we made last fall to protect Albertans from electricity price spikes,” said Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy in a release Tuesday. “Volatility and uncertainty have been hallmarks of our electricity system for years. Electricity is a basic necessity and Albertans shouldn’t have to worry about their power bills spiking from one month to the next. This cap would help make life more affordable by ensuring Albertans aren’t burdened with price volatility as we transition to a cleaner electricity grid and a more stable electricity market.”

The government says the Regulated Rate Option has been as high as 15.3 cents per kilowatt hour and as low as 2.7 cents over the past six years.

If passed – consumers on the Regulated Rate Option would pay the lower of the market rate or the government’s rate of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour for the next four years.

Wildrose Shadow Electricity and Renewables Minister Don MacIntyre said the government’s new power Bill is an admission the NDP expect retail electricity rates to more than double within the next four years.

“The vast majority of job creators in Alberta aren’t eligible for the RRO being capped under this Bill, and will bear the full cost of the NDP’s reckless electricity policies,” MacIntyre said. “The devastating impact of these decisions will risk further job losses in our province at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.”

The government says it will work to keep rates below 6.8 cents through a variety of market and other tools, including the transition to a capacity electricity market. Should rates rise above 6.8 cents, the rate cap would be automatically applied to the bills of consumers on the regulated rate.

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