The power price bogeyman

On the face of it, the current effort by the Alberta Energy System Operator (AESO) to change the way power transmission is paid for looks crazy. It would result (we’re told by the forest industry) in grossly inflated power costs for Slave Lake Pulp (among a few others), putting their survival in jeopardy. In exchange for that, residential power customers would get a bit of a break. It sounds almost too goofy to believe, but the Alberta Forest Products Association and local municipalities are certainly taking it seriously.

When something sounds that out of whack, there must be more to the story. What it might be we haven’t yet found out. A call last week to AESO HQ in Calgary did not produce much in the way of illumination on the subject.

But here’s the thing: if AESO is that desperately in need of money, it is bound to come down to higher power prices across the board. Sooner or later and probably sooner.

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