Alberta Utilities Commission regains powers under new bill
The Alberta Utilities Commission will regain the power to approve transmission lines under a new bill introduced Tuesday by the government of Premier Alison Redford.
Bill 8, the Electric Utilities Amendment Act, amends the controversial Bill 50 which gave cabinet the ability to declare which infrastructure projects were critical without subjecting them first to a needs assessment.
Allowing the AUC to review and approve projects was recommended in a report released in February by the government-appointed Critical Transmission Review Committee.
"Different times, different needs," said Energy Minister Ken Hughes on Tuesday. "Right now it's important that we send this responsibility back to the utilities commission."
However, the projects approved under Bill 50 — including the Heartland transmission line — are still going ahead.
"The decision to pass that bill and to move forward with that critical infrastructure was needed at the time."
Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin believes the projects approved under Bill 50 are not needed and can still be stopped.
"Two are in the courts right now under major lawsuits," Anglin said. "So nothing's been built. We have time to correct this and we have time to save Albertans a tremendous amount of money."
Hughes says the projects are needed and he has no plans to kill them.