Electricity System Improvements
Consumers to Benefit from electricity system improvements (News release, December 18, 2014)
Based on the advice of an MLA team, and the passing of Bill 201, government has taken action on two of the three items it committed to:
- Clarifying that the Local Access Fee on customers’ bills is set and collected by municipalities (March 2015); and
- Merging the electricity and natural gas codes of conduct to remove duplicate and cumbersome processes for companies that offer both natural gas and electricity. Additionally, retail advertising material can no longer be inserted into the billing envelopes of customers who are on the default rate. This will establish a level playing field for all retailers. (March 2015)
Government continues to work with the Alberta Utilities Commission on one further item:
- Changing the name of the Regulated Rate Option to reflect that it is a default rate, not a government-set regulated rate.
In addition, retail advertising material can no longer be inserted in the billing envelopes of customers who are on the default rate. This will establish a more level playing field for all retailers.
The MLA Retail Market Review Committee Implementation Team’s report, Enhancing the Retail Market for Electricity , was released on December 18, 2014. It outlines the extensive consultation work done by the MLA team and its resulting recommendations. The MLA team recommended an implementation plan.
Retail market enhancement recommendations from the Retail Market Review Committee (RMRC)
The Alberta government is taking actions to protect electricity consumers by increasing scrutiny of transmission costs, reducing volatility in month-to-month electricity prices and making it easier for consumers to exercise better retail choices.
The Retail Market Review Committee report made 41 recommendations to strengthen the electricity market. (January 2013) Thirty-three recommendations were accepted in principle and referred to an MLA implementation team (Terms of Reference ). The team worked with consumers, industry, regulators and others to ensure that we have effective, affordable and sensible solutions in place.
Retail Market Review Committee (RMRC) Report
Government acted immediately on two recommendations, approving 33 more in principle and rejecting six. The recommendations accepted in principle will be referred to an MLA implementation team.
The recommendations accepted in principle focus on increasing competitiveness in the market, providing greater information to consumers, protecting vulnerable Albertans and representing consumer interests. The MLA implementation team will determine how best to implement these recommendations.
The RMRC also recommended lifting the freeze on applications for new distribution charges put in place at the request of government in 2012, and government has asked the AUC to lift the freeze. Applications will need to go through the AUC process to ensure any distribution costs charged to consumers are reasonable and levied fairly.
- News release, Government moves to protect electricity consumers , Audio files; Your electricity, Transmission, AUC role and RMRC recommendations (January 2013)
- Fact sheets, in PDF
- RMRC Recommendations
- Reading your electricity bill and Sample bill
- Provincial comparison showing Alberta electricity prices are reasonable (graph of provincial bills 2002- 2012)
- Canadian utility debt, Alberta carries no utility debt (map of Canada)