08/06/2013 05:16 EDT

Alberta Power Prices Experience A Huge Spike: Report


Alberta's wholesale electricity prices experienced a massive spike between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013, making it the highest second-quarter price since 2000.

The average price jumped from $40 to $123, a 207 per cent increase, according to a report by the Market Surveillance Administrator.

Prices were high as a result of higher market demand, lower imports, planned and forced outages and internal transmission congestion among other things, the report adds.

Albertans should abandon regulated-rate options for a stable contract deal for electricity, David Gray, an electricity consultant who previously worked for the province’s Utilities Consumer Advocate, told the Calgary Herald.

He advised floating-rate agreements for natural gas, adding high prices in the future were "the new normal."

The cost spike hurts families and businesses and demonstrates that Energy Minister Ken Hughes is "oblivious to the deficiencies in the power market," Wildrose utilities critic Joe Anglin said in a statement.

“As long as retailers purchase power from wholesalers, they will continue to pass along these massive spikes to consumers, which will mean higher power bills for families and small businesses," he said.

"We’ve got to change how the wholesale market operates so there aren’t these wild swings in electricity prices," he added.

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