Transmission Lines

 Another example of the effects of overbuilding the transmission system and the death spiral of rate impacts . . .

 You will remember how Albert’s major industry groups (IPCAA and ADC) have been warning that the costs of overbuilding our transmission system will force plants to leave the province or go off the grid and generate their own power behind the fence.  They warned that this will cause those who stay to pay even more for the unneeded transmission lines because transmission lines are a fixed cost that we all pay for whether or not they are used or needed.

 Well, we found this article in the Globe and Mail about what is happening right now in Nova Scotia as a current example that proves the Industries’ point about over-building.  

 Mill closings prompt Nova Scotia power company to seek higher rates


HALIFAX— Published Wednesday, May. 09, 2012

Nova Scotia’s power company blames two troubled paper mills for forcing it to raise electricity rates for the second time in less than a year.

The province’s power rates are already among the highest in the country and now, Nova Scotia Power Inc. is asking ratepayers for even more, citing the shutdown of one mill and reduced operations at the other.

It’s all because of deep trouble at its two largest customers: the paper mill in Cape Breton, which shut down last September, and the Bowater Mersey Paper Co. on the province’s south shore, which is operating intermittently.

“We face unusual circumstances in Nova Scotia at this time,” the company says in its application. “The system’s largest customer is currently not operating.”

It goes on to note that it still has fixed costs, and its second-largest customer “Bowater Mersey” – will not be able to contribute because of its precarious circumstances.  It is expected to be shut down for several weeks this year.

“This is happening at a time when sales to other customers are not growing so we are not easily able to absorb those unavoidable fixed costs,” the document says.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the irony in this is that the two mills cited high power costs as a reason for their troubles.

“Now Nova Scotians are being told the answer to that problem is even higher power rates,” Mr. Baillie said. “We intend to pursue that aggressively. … It’s a vicious circle.”

The power company acknowledged its latest rate-increase proposal comes at a time when many Nova Scotia households and businesses are struggling to manage increases in the cost of heating oil, gasoline, tap water, groceries and other necessities.  “We realize customers will be unhappy to hear NS Power is asking for another increase.”

Haligonians pay the fourth highest rates in Canada after Calgarians and residents of Charlottetown and Regina, according to a 2011 Hydro Quebec study.

Heartland Appeal Update

 The procedural court documents for the next steps will be filed next week.  We will provide further details at that time. 

Again, we thank each and every one of you that contributed to the AUC Heartland decision Appeal.  We are still receiving the pledges that were made, and are very grateful.  If you still have a pledge that has not been sent, please do so, as we are counting on everyone’s commitment to support the Appeal.  It is moving forward, thanks to your help.

 Property Rights

 Attached is an Edmonton Sun editorial that addresses the importance of property rights and the troubling actions of the Alberta Government with the Land Bills.

 Also, last week the Fraser Institute released a report on property rights:  Stealth Confiscation: How Governments Regulate, Freeze, and Devalue Private Property. (summary attached)

 The report proves what we have been saying about the Land Bills.  Interestingly, the report uses the Alberta case of Nillson v. the Alberta Government as illustration of how provincial governments have attempted to use their law making powers to confiscate property without compensation. 

The report also shows why the government’s claim that “compensatory takings” will be compensated under Bill 10 is simply a sham.  No one will get compensated under Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act when the Cabinet uses its new central planning powers.

The complete report is available at this link:

 Land Bills – Premier’s Redford’s New Cabinet and Ministry Re-Organization

We have not heard anything from Ms. Redford or her new government as to their plans for the Land Bills. All that we know is what she said before the election:  she intends to move forward and implement them as part of her vision of “Alberta By Design” of government officials. 

 We do know that she has merged the department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.  This may be a first step to full implementation of the Land Bills.

 We will keep you posted if we hear anything more. 

 Alberta Landowners Council