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Alberta Electricity Prices: Calgary, Edmonton Prices Among Highest In Canada, Study Finds

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ELECTRICITY SHOCK
Albertans are paying some of the highest rates for power in the nation, according to a new Hydro-Quebec study. | pidjoe via Getty Images
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Albertans are paying some of the highest rates for power in the nation, according to a new study.

An annual survey conducted by Hydro-Quebec, which compared power prices across 22 North American cities on April 1, 2013, found Calgary residents pay the third highest power bills in Canada and Edmonton the fourth highest.

Calgary's prices also rank seventh highest in North America, while Edmonton takes eigth place.

Only ahead of Alberta in Canadian power prices are Charlottetown and Halifax, based on residences that use 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

According to their calculations, Calgarians pay, on average, $216 per month on electricity while Edmontonians pay $202.

Halifax residents, who have the highest bills in the country, pay $225 per month while Montreal residents, with the lowest rates in Canada, pay just $100 per month.

South of the border, San Francisco residents pay $334 per month, in New York $317, in Boston $240 and in Detroit $226.

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However, Alberta Energy argues the Hydro-Quebec study is independently calculated, and told the Calgary Herald they go by a comparison done by Manitoba Hydro, with collected data provided by participating utilities and which ranks Calgary and Edmonton residential electricity bills and the eighth and ninth highest among 14 Canadian cities.

"The evidence I have seen is Alberta is in the middle of the pack among those Canadian jurisdictions that don't have hydroelectricity," outgoing Energy Minister Ken Hughes told the Herald.

"What we do have is a free market system that is functioning well in Alberta."

Wildrose critic Joe Anglin told the Herald, however, that Albertans "keep getting gouged" each month by their power bills.

Earlier this year the provincial government decided to accept most recommendations from an independent electricity review, saying consumers would see fewer volatile spikes in their electricity bills.

At that time, Hughes said Alberta power companies would purchase electricity up to 120 days in advance, instead of the previous 45 days, to help stabilize prices.

In August, Anglin called for a change to how the wholesale market operates and asked the government to stop purchasing power from wholesalers, after Alberta's wholesale electricity prices experienced a massive spike between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013.

The average price jumped from $40 to $123, a 207 per cent increase, according to a report by the Market Surveillance Administrator, making it the highest second-quarter price since 2000.

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