Rising utility costs drawing ire of Alberta towns

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Another Alberta town is expressing concern over rising utility costs and wants the Alberta Utilities Commission to do something about it.
“Well written,” said Town of McLennan Councillor Sue Delaurier at council’s April 11 meeting.
“It’s said what everyone is thinking.”
Fox Creek Mayor Sheila Gilmour wrote the commission March 23 regarding rising natural gas and electricity charges.
“Over the course of the past two years, our residents have dealt with the strain of the pandemic, rising costs of groceries, rising gas prices, and job insecurity,” wrote Gilmour.
“Now they can add the stress of maintaining utilities in their homes to that list.”
Gilmour added non- profit groups are also feeling the pinch.
“Our non-profits offer us services that are greatly needed for our physical, mental, and social well-being; however, these services are now in jeopardy as they focus what funds they have on paying utility fees.”
Gilmour charged that the utility fees are “exorbitant”.
“We, at the Town of Fox Creek, believe now is not the time to be taking more and more money from the pockets of Albertans, now is the time to support our people.”
She asked the commission to review fees being charged on top of actual usage while giving “strict attention to the profits utility corporation are making off Albertans.
Rising costs are not lost on municipalities as they deal with this year’s budget, including McLennan, who agreed to send a letter of support.
“It definitely puts a strain on everything,” said Mayor Jason Doris.
It is not the first time the Utilities Commission was asked to look into the matter. In March, the MD. of Smoky River and Northern Sunrise County both supported the Peace Library System’s request asking for relief from utility costs.
“The private corporations that are making huge profits off the backs of bodies funded by public money are taking money out of the hands of citizens who need it most,” wrote PLS chair Carolyn Kolebaba.
PLS requested non-profits be exempt from rising costs, or be granted a reduced rate.

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