Alberta's deregulation of power called a 'failed experiment'
Hot-weather electricity woes show need to re-regulate industry, critics say
After Alberta's electricity grid was pushed to the brink for the second day in a row Wednesday, some observers say it’s time to re-regulate the system.
"We need to go back to the drawing board,” said NDP leadership candidate Rachel Notley.
Notley said it's time to bring back control over the province's electricity system so that Albertans can have fair prices without so many ups and downs.
"We don't have enough competition, we do have incidents of companies working together, and we do have economic withholding,” she said.
This week, with the electricity grid running at near capacity, two power plants went unexpectedly out of operation.
Keith Provost, a retired senior operating officer with Alberta Power, said Alberta's deregulation of electricity has proven to be a failed experiment.
"You simply cannot market electricity,” he said.
By Provost’s calculation, it has cost Alberta consumers $20 billion since 2001.
"That's the amount we are paying above and beyond the true cost of electricity."
Provost said the solution is to enter into long term contracts with power generating companies.
The Alberta government has ordered a review of its system, but the report hasn’t yet been released.
Harry Chandler, the province’s Market Surveillance Administrator, said there is no plan to investigate the plant outages that occurred this week.
"We have no indication to suggest that this wasn't a normal occurrence,” he said.
The Market Surveillance Administrator monitor’s the provinces’ electricity and natural gas markets for fairness and balance in the public interest, according to its website.