The Redford government has outlined new regulations

EDMONTON- The Redford government has outlined new regulations it says will protect consumers by bringing more transparency to electricity costs. However, not everyone is convinced the move will benefit consumers.

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The new regulations come after a review of Bill 50, the legislation that allowed transmission lines to be approved without the regular public hearing process, and deemed lines like the Heartland Transmission Line critical infrastructure.

Now, companies will now be required to prove the cost of all transmission projects is reasonable and prudent. Prior to this, it was up to consumer groups to challenge the cost before the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and prove it was unreasonable.

“We’ve said to companies, ‘you’re going to have to prove that every cent that you say that this is going to cost is a reasonable cost,’” said Bart Johnson, communications director with Alberta Energy.

Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin says the changes don’t go far enough to protect consumers from escalating electric bills. He says the regulations don’t do enough to ensure costs aren’t overrun.

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“We’ve got a real problem with this because we’re not talking hundreds of millions, we’re talking billions and billions of dollars and consumers are going to pay this and there’s absolutely no accountability,” Anglin explained.

The new regulations will apply to all transmission projects, including those that have already been approved, like the lines that will run between Edmonton and Calgary and the portion of the Heartland Transmission Line that is yet to be built.

Karen Shaw, who has long opposed the Heartland because of its cost and location, says it’s too little too late.

“They weren’t willing to do it when these lines first went to the AUC,” she said.

A portion of the line runs right behind her Fort Saskatchewan area farm. She says she hopes the new regulations will be effective in the future.

“To me it’s like closing the door after the horse has gone out.”

With files from Vassy Kapelos, Global News.