Alberta announces measures to stabilize electricity prices
Alberta power companies will now purchase electricity up to 120 days in advance, instead of 45, in order to stabilize prices, Energy Minister Ken Hughes announced on Tuesday.
By increasing the window, the province believes that dramatic price jumps can be avoided by spreading the effects of plant shut-downs and bad weather can be spread over a wider period of time.
Hughes also announced that the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) will be given more power to review the costs of new power lines.
Under the old system, consumers had to challenge electricity costs they believed were out of line. Now transmission companies will have to prove the need for future price hikes.
The province is now lifting a freeze on ancillary power bill costs that Premier Alison Redford put in place just before last spring's provincial election.
Hughes doesn't believe that will result in higher power bills.
"That'll be quite transparent through the AUC process and it's quite clear they have a practice of also managing so that there is not rate shock as well for consumers," he said.
"So that that's managed over a period of time as opposed to a one-off kind of circumstance."
Hughes was responding to the 44 recommendations from an independent panel formed last year to look at price volatility in the electricity market.
The panel recommended that Alberta eliminate the regulated rate option.
But Hughes rejected the six recommendations dealing with that issue because 65 per cent of power customers have chosen that option.
Hughes is acting on two recommendations and has accepted the remaining 33 on principle.