Alberta Energy minister promises to release electricity market report by end of year

By Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal October 16, 2012

EDMONTON – Energy Minister Ken Hughes says he plans to release a major report on Alberta’s retail electricity market before the end of the year.

Hughes received the 390-page report in early September, but said he wants to make sure he and his department carefully review each of its 41 recommendations before letting the public see it. The release will include the government’s response to the report, which was conducted over the spring and summer by a task force known as the Retail Market Review Committee.

“The electricity industry is quite complex, and so we want to make sure we have a really good understanding of the recommendations before we bring it forward,” Hughes said Tuesday.

Hughes would not reveal any of the recommendations but hinted that at least some minor changes could be coming to the province’s deregulated market. The task force was commissioned before the spring election following outrage over a spike in power prices.

“This reflects a thoughtful look at the retail market and that’s a good thing,” Hughes said. “We have had it for more than a decade. It’s a good time to take a good, thoughtful look at it to see what’s working, and where there could be some improvements.”

But Liberal energy critic Kent Hehr said the minister has had plenty of time to review the document and should release it now.

“Minister Hughes might be a slow reader, but that report was in his hands on Sept. 5,” Hehr said in a statement. “By my math, that’s 41 days with a report that was said to have 41 recommendations. That’s ample time for a government department to read it over. At the very least they could let the rest of us take a look at it.”

Hehr noted a recent survey from Hydro-Quebec showed residents of Calgary and Edmonton pay some of the highest power prices in the country.

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