Letter – Concerned citizen raises questions about government conduct concerning PPAs

To the Editor:
On Page A4 of the Dec. 23rd, 2016 Calgary Herald, an article appeared that indicated our Minister of Energy had allowed her department to meddle with the work of the Balancing Pool, an independent agency formed to manage power agreements in Alberta’s deregulated electricity market.

The internal documents were obtained by the Wildrose, through freedom of information requests.

The Balancing Pool has been at the centre of an ongoing dispute over the past year “as utilities returned money losing Power Purchase Arrangements (PPAs) to the Balancing Pool Agency, in response to the NDP’s increase of the province’s Carbon Tax on large emitters that began January 1st, 2016, and which prompted legal action by the NDP.”

Previously, when the utility companies were making revenue, monthly rebates were given to Alberta residents and businesses.

Now that the utility companies are losing money, due to the NDP Carbon Tax on large emitters, the Balancing Pool wanted to implement a monthly consumer charge so that they, the Balancing Pool would avoid becoming insolvent.

In terms of political optics by the NDP, this was not seen as being advisable, as consumers instead of getting rebates, would start to be charged a monthly amount in order for the Balancing Pool to avoid going into the red.

Officials at the Balancing Pool, in the released documents, “discuss the NDP government preventing them from taking that action at a $17 million monthly cost to the Agency and in turn Albertans.

“The underlying theme is that McCuaig-Boyd’s Energy office and the Premier’s office knowingly interfered in the conduct of the Balancing Pool, who have a legal mandate to operate in a certain way,” said Don MacIntyre, Opposition electricity and renewables critic.

“Gary Reynolds, a former CEO of the Balancing Pool, said the NDP government’s handling of the PPA issue will still cost the Balancing Pool – and Albertans – hundreds of millions of dollars” – Calgary Herald

“He said Albertans should be concerned the government, including Premier Notley, appear to have interfered in the workings of the Balancing Pool.
“It’s ridiculous and in my view it’s all been done in order to downplay the fact that the PPA terminations, which were triggered by the introduction of higher Carbon Tax levels, created this whole debacle, said Reynolds” – Calgary Herald .

I think our MLA and Minister of Energy, owe all Albertans, including her Constituents an explanation on her alleged interference.

This is not the definition of Democracy.

David Lahoda
Spirit River, AB

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