Enmax can boast the first victories in the race for corporate clients in the new, deregulated marketplace. The Calgary-based utility has secured multi-year contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the Alberta government and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

Enmax beat out Epcor and Enron for a five-year contract with the AUMA. It's worth $250 million and involves nearly 200 municipalities, not including Edmonton or Calgary.

Prior to deregulation, which took effect Jan. 1, each municipality got electricity from its local energy company, says AUMA executive director John McGowan.

The association's directors thought they could get a better deal by going with one supplier for the majority of their members. "We're already in the savings mode, versus what the power price is right now, and the default rate. We're below that," McGowans says.

Enmax snapped up another major contract with the Alberta government's Department of Infrastructure. It's worth about $32 million a year over four years to provide power for 2,500 government buildings across the province.

Edmonton-based Epcor isn't commenting on the significance of the two contracts. But spokesperson Lynn Hutchings-Mah says wins and losses are to be expected in a competitive environment. "Epcor is going to compete very successfully. We are going to have different contracts than our competitors are going to have."