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The high cost of Ottawa’s proposed electricity regulations

Posted on November 9, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

Neighbours and friends, Canada stands at a crossroads. The federal government’s proposed electricity regulations, if left unchanged, will profoundly impact families and businesses across the nation. As a province that has always been at the forefront of energy innovation and responsible development, Alberta’s government is deeply concerned about the direction Ottawa is taking.

The evidence is clear: Ottawa’s proposed regulations will make electricity more unreliable and unaffordable in our province. But this isn’t just an Alberta issue; it’s a Canadian one. From our province to Atlantic Canada, the repercussions will be negatively felt by every citizen.

In Alberta and in Cardston-Siksika, citizens will face increased power bills, a potential exodus of investment from our province, and a jeopardized electrical grid. The threat of blackouts and brownouts during the harshest moments of winter is very real.

I find it alarming that while we are in the middle of a public consultation period, Ottawa continues to provide misleading or inconsistent information on this issue. Canadians deserve better, without the right information how will they be able to speak up for themselves.

To address this significant threat, the provincial government is launching a national advertising campaign. Its goal? To raise awareness about the detrimental effects of these federal regulations on costs and grid reliability. We urge Canadians to visit and voice their concerns. There is a better path forward, one that doesn’t threaten our families with blackouts and skyrocketing costs.

Our position is unwavering: these proposed federal regulations are unconstitutional, irresponsible, and do not align with Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan. Our made in Alberta plan is ambitious yet achievable, aiming for a carbon-neutral power grid by 2050. 

Our Alberta plan is designed to balance the needs of our environment with the economic needs of the Alberta people. We can reach ambitious goals without bankrupting our province or imposing unnecessary financial hardship on our most vulnerable citizens.

Make no mistake, the federal government’s proposed electricity regulations will hurt people who are already hurting. As it stands, your Alberta government is determined that these harmful federal regulations will not be implemented in Alberta. Period.

Because the stakes are so extra-ordinarily high, this campaign is necessary. Not only do Albertan’s need to know what is happening, all Canadians need to understand how these ideologically motivated regulations will harm people from coast to coast.

Alberta has already reduced emissions from electricity generation by 53%. We have a roadmap to a reliable, affordable, and carbon-neutral power grid by 2050. Moving that timetable to 2035 is not only unrealistic, but also dangerous.

The draft federal regulations ignore our feedback, lack any flexibility or consideration for how our power grid is structured (it’s very different from some provinces), and don’t support the support we need. If unchanged, we risk frequent brownouts and blackouts. Imagine how dangerous this will be during extreme cold weather conditions?

There is clear evidence which suggests these regulations could lead to blackouts. Demand for electricity is set to soar, but these regulations will stifle the very electricity sources we rely on. Numerous organizations, including the Public Policy Forum and AESO, have raised concerns about the federal targets’ impact on Alberta’s grid reliability.

Power companies, too, are voicing their apprehensions. Just this week, ATCO’s CEO expressed disbelief at the accelerated targets without considering costs and public safety. Other industry leaders echo similar sentiments, emphasizing the impracticality of the proposed timelines.

Alberta is committed to a sustainable energy future. But the path Ottawa proposes is fraught with risks. I urge Albertans and Canadians to get informed, speak up, and advocate for a more affordable and reliable path forward. 

Joseph Schow

MLA, Cardston-Sisika

Minister of
Tourism & Sport 

Government House Leader

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