Profiting from power lines

Thursday, 31 May 2012 02:01 Letter to the Editor

I must admit I am getting very tired of hearing ads on the radio from AltaLink and the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) telling us how much we need new transmission lines and how wonderful they are.
I asked myself why they would be advertising on the radio. Advertising is normally used by someone trying to sell something. Then I realized this is exactly what they are trying to do. They are trying to sell me something I don’t need. Why would they bother to do this? Because AltaLink stands to profit immensely from the planned transmission lines that Albertans don’t really need.
Interest rates today are amazingly low. The Canada Treasury Bill rate is currently under one per cent. Five-year mortgages at three per cent. Government of Canada 10-year bonds yielding 2.6 per cent. So we must be paying a low rate on these new transmission lines, right? Wrong! The generic return on equity for 2011 and 2012 is set at 8.75 per cent by the utility board.
Wow. How do I get a piece of that action? No wonder AltaLink is advertising. I would be doing everything I could, too, if I could get an 8.75 per cent return.
It is time for Albertans to rise up and be heard. Contact your MLAs and tell them that you are tired of big business profiting at the expense or ordinary Albertans.
John R. Davies
President, Lethbridge Iron Works Co. Ltd.