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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7

Re: City Residents may need new power meters 

The Herald suggests Lethbridge residents might be in for the shock of higher electricity bills if the province proceeds with a draft plan for new meters. We shouldn’t be surprised.  

Alberta Energy’s Provincial Energy Strategy dated December 2008 says; “We will promote smart metering, smart grids and better consumption measurement in order to help Albertans better understand their consumption patterns and incent greener responses. We will direct the migration of electrical meters to Advanced Metering Infrastructure.” 

This may actually be one of the more sensible initiatives underway to take advantage of changing technology. These new meters are intended to capitalize on the computer and communications technology developed over the past couple of decades to implement so-called “smart grids”. The Energy Strategy indicates consumer conservation through greater awareness of consumption. Another example of technology they could enable would be time of day pricing for electricity. Residents can contemplate the possibility of using low priced off peak electricity to charge their electric cars should those eventually materialize. The rational for overall cost reduction comes from the potential to level the load on generators, thus reducing the total generation capacity needed to meet consumption peaks.  

There are some much bigger price shocks ahead. One will be the expansion of the transmission system already underway to accommodate massive increases in fluctuating wind power.  Consumers will see that cost tacked on to the distribution tariff too. Someone will be expected to pay for electricity from those economically inefficient wind turbines should they be built. Consumers are first in line followed by investors. 

Those with vested interests such as ENRON, the Pembina Institute, and other lobby groups have exerted considerable influence on our government over the years to acquiesce to the implementation of dubious and expensive energy supply policy and technology options.  We consumers will be getting the electrical system and electricity bills we deserve as result of our disinterest and lack of input to provincial planning. 

Yours truly,


Duane Pendergast


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