Home Up Services Contacts Commentary Letters Fora Input Publications GHG Emissions Guests What's New Contents


30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1704
Saturday, June 02, 2012
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7


Re: “Our System is Broken” 

John Davies provided a great one man review of the Alberta electricity system at SACPA on Thursday, May 24, as reported in the Herald by Nick Kuhl on May25. Congratulations to John, SACPA and the Herald for their initiative on this energy issue of vital importance to Albertans.  John’s presentation is available from the SACPA website. 

 John discussed, at some length, the role of the transmission system on the escalating costs of electricity. He pointed out that providing them to transport wind generated electricity to market is an expensive proposition as wind blows only part of the time so transmission lines are under-utilized.  

 As a matter of fact, transmission line expansion is defined as the cornerstone of Alberta electricity policy. Alberta’s Electricity Policy Framework from 2005 dictates an “unconstrained” transmission system. To quote; “To support the new market structure,  transmission must be available to all supply and load customers in a non-discriminatory manner and with sufficient capacity to ensure that neither load nor generation is constrained.  Transmission remains the agent of reliability and in Alberta’s electric marketplace is also the facilitator of the competitive market”  

As we know, the AESO slavishly follows this policy and is planning to massively increase transmission line capacity. While this policy may allow for competition in the market place between sellers and buyers of electricity, it does not place constraints on the cost of transmission. Transmission charges are the most rapidly escalating component of our bills. 

A review of the so-called ‘default” rate option has already been announced. The Utilities Consumer Advocate Advisory Board has been charged with that.  That is just one aspect of Alberta’s electricity system that needs a review. Perhaps the review should be expanded to cover the entire system. Our electricity system does not seem to be achieving the desired goal of providing Alberta’s citizens and industry with essential electricity at minimal cost. 

Yours truly, 

Duane Pendergast
Energy Collegium


    Home Up Services Contacts Commentary Letters Fora Input Publications GHG Emissions Guests What's New Contents