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Alberta regulating utility bills, bringing relief to Calgary

The Alberta government has announced that they’ll be making changes to legislation surrounding local access fees for utility bills.

A local access fee is a charge by municipalities to electricity providers, with the charge passed on to those paying the bills.

This new legislation will make it so that the Alberta Utilities Commission must approve local access fees, with the charges not being able to exceed 20 per cent of the distribution charge for electricty, or 35 per cent of the charge for natural gas.

However, Edmonton and Calgary are exempt from approval as they already have agreements with municipally owned subsidaries, with Edmonton using a consumption-based fee, and Calgary basing their fees on market rates.

This causes Calgarians to pay considerably more for their utility bills, paying an average of $240 a year in local access fees alone. In Edmonton, residents pay an average of $75 a year on local access fees.

This new legislation, which has already been placed in effect, gives the Alberta Utilities Commision oversight for all local access fees while also preventing municipalities from charging these fees based on variable rates.

According to the province, this could save the average Calgarian about $13.75 per month on their local access fees.

Photo: The Alberta Legislature Building, taken by Kenneth Hynek – CC BY 2.0

The Alberta Legislature Building. Taken by Kenneth Hynek - CC BY 2.0
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