CSG Weekly Review- April 23, 2018

Posted by | July 12, 2018 | News

Session Schedule & Activities

  • UCP Founding AGM to be held in Red Deer May 4-6, 2018
  • 13 months until expected provincial election

Government News and Announcements

Trans Mountain Discussions Continue
Following the announcement 10 days ago by Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean that the company would be suspending work on the project, discussions have continued between the Federal government, Alberta government, British Columbia government and Kinder Morgan.

The result of last Sunday’s Ottawa meeting between Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was indecisive with Trudeau saying they would be entering into talks with Kinder Morgan to ‘de-risk’ the venture but no concrete announcement was made.

On Monday, the government of Alberta unveiled Bill 12, Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, which would allow the province to restrict exports of crude oil and other products to BC or any other jurisdiction. The bill has been met with mixed reaction and oil executives warn that the sweeping powers created in the legislation could have
unintended consequences. On Wednesday, BC Premier Horgan announced he was launching a new legal challenge and sending a reference question to the BC Court of Appeal by the end of this month to determine if it can legally restrict bitumen shipments.

Late this week Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean said despite the ongoing talks with the provinces and federal government and Alberta’s Bill 12, the last 10 days have not altered his decision to hault the project work. Public opinion polling released this week shows the majority of Canadians and also the majority of British Columbians support the project.

Alberta’s Auditor General Releases Report
Merwan Saher, Alberta’s Auditor General, released his final report on Thursday, as his term as Auditor General is ending this month. In the report Saher , who has served as Auditor General since 2010, said long term fiscal projections would help the province deal with swing in oil prices and non-renewable resource returns. Saher also said the province will risk not capitalizing on its remaining oil and gas revenue if it continues to use short term future planning. Additionally, according Saher “a surplus of $3 billion per year every year for 25 years would be needed to pay off the debt that will be accumulated by 2021”. The report does not make any official recommendations.

Government Legislation

The following details key legislation tabled between April 16th- 19th:

Bill 12: Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act (Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy)

This bill enables the province to restrict the export of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels across its borders. It was introduced as a result of the ongoing controversy with the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Specifically, the legislation would give the province the authority to require any company exporting energy products from Alberta to obtain a license. Export restrictions could also be imposed on pipelines and transport on truck or rail.

The Minister of Energy would issue a license if its determined to be in the public interest. Companies would not be automatically required to apply for an export license, rather they would be directed to do so if the Minister deemed it necessary. Companies that do not comply with the terms of the issued license could face fines of $10 million per day and individual’s fines of up to $1 million per day. The bill would not restrict imports into Alberta.

Bill 13: An Act to Secure Alberta’s Electricity Future (Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy)

This act empowers the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to penalize electricity and natural gas service providers for breaches of customer service. Breaches would include sending late bills or over charging consumers. If passed the legislation would allow the AUC to issue penalties to ensure all service providers are following the rules. Penalties would be developed in consultation with stakeholders and service providers, however fines of up to $10,000 daily per infraction have been discussed.

Other changes introduced in the legislation include:

  • Clarifying how infrastructure losses and profits are split between consumers and utility companies;
  • Providing more options to Albertans who want to generate their own electricity from renewable or alternative sources; and
  • Regulations to enable the creation of a capacity market to protect consumers from price volatility

Bill 14: An Act to Empower Utility Consumers (Hon. Stephanie McLean Minister of Service Alberta)

This bill expands the mandate of the Alberta Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) to allow consumers to resolve disputes with utility bills. Currently the UCA mediates disputes between electricity and natural gas providers and consumers but the bill would expand this to include water, sewage and drainage.

Additionally, the bill would allow the UCA to report on how natural gas and electricity providers are performing. The UCA would be able to report the following online:

  • customer service performance
  • history of consumer complaints
  • history of investigations and penalties
  • compliance with laws and standards, such as orders from regulators

Alberta Weekly Review – 04-23-18 Weekly Review