EDMONTON — The Alberta NDP government is going to court to challenge a regulation that it says could saddle consumers with billions of dollars in losses from coal-fired power agreements.
The regulation passed by the previous Conservative government allows power companies to hand back agreements to buy electricity from coal-fired plants when they stand to lose money.
The government estimates the power purchasing agreements could cost consumers up to $2 billion by 2020.
Enmax says agreement is unprofitable
Some companies such as Enmax Corp. are using the regulation to terminate agreements that were reached when Alberta deregulated its electricity market.
Enmax says the government's decision to charge companies a higher tax on carbon dioxide emissions this year and in 2017 made the agreement unprofitable.
The government says the Tories had no legal right to create a legal loophole and is seeking a court order declaring the regulation void.
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Here are some of the highlights of the Alberta 2016-17 budget. Story here: http://huff.to/1Nr7xhN
Revenue is pegged at $41.4 billion against $51.1 billion in spending. Projected revenue is down, as benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is expected to average US$42 a barrel. If oil prices drop to $30 a barrel, the government plans to add a $700-million buffer.
Province is amalgamating 26 agencies, boards and commissions to save $33 million. Salaries and supplies for government will be cut by 2 per cent.
The only new tax is a carbon tax, that will cost households earning more than $100,00 a year about $500 annually. The new tax is part of the province's new climate change plan.
The province has created two new tax credits to encourage investment in small- and medium-sized businesses. Small-business tax will be cut to two per cent.
The government says its spending on employment incentives and capital will create about 100,000 jobs in Alberta over the next three years.