February 22nd, 2024

NDP could have saved taxpayers a billion when in office


By Lethbridge Herald on December 9, 2023.

Editor:

Are you concerned or confused with everything regarding electricity cost now and in the future? All these discussions about increasing the carbon tax and net- zero carbon electricity grid. 

I certainly am. Up until recently I purchased my power from the City of Lethbridge. My bill went from an average of $0.03/kWh in 2016 to $0.06/kWh in 2020 to a whopping $0.15/kWh in the spring of 2023. Not to mention all the added charges. At the last count there are 11 additional charges.

My first instinct would be to blame the City of Lethbridge or the present provincial and federal governments. 

But hold on, there are a lot of complications and history behind what we are all facing when it comes to paying for electricity.

First let me say that I was negligent in my decision not to buy into a contract.

 I was warned by friends who are experts regarding how electricity is generated and sold in Alberta, and I didn’t listen and paid the price.

 Was there also negligence by not consulting experts by the provincial government? The answer is yes. 

• It all starts in 2000 when the then PC government decided to get out of the power generating business. The PPA (Power Purchase Arrangement) Auction was held in 2000. 

This auctioned the power output from the existing coal plants in the province, using 20-year contracts due to expire at the end of 2020.

• The government raised about $2.5 billion which was placed in the balancing pool, then was drawn down upon, crediting everyone’s power bills for the length of the contract.

• Companies were leery to enter into a long-term 20-year contract with government so a force majeure clause was added, to account for any unforeseen changes into the future, mostly due to government intervention which would adversely affect their profitability for the duration of the contract.

• In 2007 after consultations with the generators, the Progressive Conservatives instituted SGER (Specified Gas Emitters Regulation), which effectively added a $15/ton carbon price to the heavy emitters for producing greenhouse gases.

• After the NDP were elected to office in 2015, instead of repealing SGER, they added an additional $15/ton carbon tax on top of SGER.  

This increase in the carbon tax added to the PPA auction contracts amounted to a total of $30/ton, thus triggering the force majeure clause.

 The contract holders then nullified the contracts, handing them back to the province.  

The NDP tried to falsely call this an Enron Clause and tried to sue the PPA holders to force them to keep the contracts.  The NDP lost the lawsuits and were forced to buy out the duration of the contracts to the tune of approximately $1 billion.

• If the NDP government would have let the remaining four years of the contract run out or at least consulted with power producers they would have saved the taxpayers $1 billion. 

Instead they made the decision to no longer generate energy from coa, committing us, the Alberta taxpayers, to pay $93 million a year until 2030 even though we will no longer be generating energy from coal by 2024!  

That’s a cost of over $1 billion with absolutely no tangible benefit to the taxpayers!  

To the readers of the Hearld, I hope you found this informative, and I am guessing, you might want to know what happened to the $2.5 bBillion that placed in the balancing pool? 

More to come.

Barrie Orich

Lethbridge

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SophieR

“More to come.” … Oh, boy. Another dead horse beating.

If you want to see ‘no tangible benefits to the taxpayer’ just watch the current government in action.

Fedup Conservative

While the oil executives said that the targets set by Ottawa were reasonable and with the help of green energy they can be reached so she deliberately shuts down the additional creation of more green energy so they can’t be met, destroying 24,000 jobs and killing an estimated investment for the Alberta people of $33 billion just so she can grandstand against Trudeau. She is not interested in looking after this province or our children’s future this is all about her, isn’t it?

johnny57

Yeah you are right SophieR only a billion dollar dead horse! Its only tax-payers money so who cares! Your lack-luster care for the public purse is a prime reason we cannot have your kind no-where near the controls for running this province!

SophieR

Oh, johnny. To spell it out, blaming the NDP for trying to protect citizens from a system of electicity-gouging put in place by the PCs is absurd. Too big an ideological commitment to an unregulated market for what is typically considered a monopoly.

And it is a wonder that BO would have the inclination to bring this up after a half decade of mismanagement by the UCP government … you know the list of waste they are responsible for. Maybe you cheerleaders should put down the pompoms and look around.

Last edited 2 months ago by SophieR
Fedup Conservative

Barrie Orich needs to wake up and learn the true facts. First off it was Ralph Klein who deregulated the power industry creating the mess for Albertans are in and only Ontario was dumb enough to follow. Notley had nothing to do with it and I will never forget how up set our former Lougheed Conservatives MLAs were with Klein for doing it.
It was Conservatives who created the Carbon Tax under Ed Stelmach and it was Stephen Harper who stopped the use of coal to create power, but of course these ignorant Albertans are so easy to fool the Reformers have had no problem doing it. Yet it’s these Reformers who are spreading the lies about Trudeau and Notley>
Maybe you Reformers need to learn some of the the true facts:
“A Brief History of the Canadian Carbon Tax”
“2023: The year Alberta says goodbye to coal ”
While you fools keep believing these Reformers lies and had you bothered to do the math you would have found like we have that the Carbon Tax has actually made us money.. Yet these Reformers have you believing that it’s going to financially destroy you, yet it’s been in place in Sweden since 1991 and it’s never financially destroyed anyone. It’s our oil industry that want’s it implemented.
“When It Comes To Emissions , Sweden Has It’s Cake and Eats it Too”
“On the world stage, Canadian Oil majors promote a Carbon Tax”
To put it bluntly, you have allowed these Reformers, pretending that they are Conservatives to treat you like Morons, so why have you let them? People in the Edmonton area haven’t been that dumb.
While Danielle Smith shows that she doesn’t care about Global Warming and what it’s doing to this planet and our Children and Grandchildren’s future why haven’t you helped us try yo stop her?
Yet now we see Pierre Poilievre doing the same thing. The same Poilievre who along with Jason Kenney and Brian Jean helped Stephen Harper lie about the Income Trust Investments costing Canadians $31billion in lost income and tried to help Harper destroy our Public Health Care System and it got Trudeau elected.
And while they continue to beat up on Trudeau my Conservative friends and I know that he has been a hero to Albertans and these prove it:
“Alberta received more funds from feds than from revenue for first time in decades”
“Alberta got more federal Covid support per capita than people in any other province”
So how does that make them the bad guys. I think the majority of Albertans need to wake up, don’t you? You’ve been treated like morons for long enough.

buckwheat

Thanks for your detailed explanation Barry. Look forward to your next letter.

Fedup Conservative

You can bet our residential genius never read what I had to say he doesn’t want to know the truth he can’t handle it, he isn’t man enough as our lawyer friends would say.

lumpy

pucker up.

Fedup Conservative

By the way wait times in emergency rooms in the Edmonton area have now reached 11 hours from what we are hearing just like they were under Ralph Klein when they were killing people. So much for them being so much better under Smith while she fired doctors and hired her friends and we continue to hear about doctors leaving the province can you blame them, after the way they have been treated?

buckwheat

I presume that as the person had to wait 11 hours at emergency there are several factors One: being there according to the triage department, didn’t constitute an emergency over someone shattered in a car accident. Two: Person found out that they are not that special, and Three: with whining attitudes I can’t believe they didn’t go to the USA for the emergency. Only a 7 hour drive to Benefis in Great Falls and voila, they cut four hours off their wait time. Four: Most triage departments can smell righteousness and indignation a mile away and triage as such. And another blanket statement of doctors leaving the province. List please and destinations.

Fedup Conservative

What a wonderful idea just what people in Peace River would want an emergency room trip to Great Falls. There buckwheat has it all figured what a hero.
Sadly he still hasn’t been smart enough to figure it out. When you can’t find people to agree with you don’t you think that you might be the problem? But he doesn’t have any friends to have coffee with to help him get educated or maybe he would be a lot smarter but it doubt it.
He reminds me of the guy I met 2003
He told me that he didn’t care what Klein had done to the Health Care System he was 69 years old and in perfect health. He died in the a back of an ambulance about 8 months later. He was outside an Edmonton hospital with no beds available, no doctors or nurses to help him. We asked his wife if she was going to sue Klein said no he got what he was deserved he refused to listen to anyone in his family about what Klein was doing to this province. She was a retired nurse and certainly knew the horrible mess Klein had made and Smith is making it worse once again.

biff

what the ndp should have done is take back ownership of our power and natural resources, rather than have us ripped off and beholden to corporate greed and exploitation.