July 29, 2015 9:29 am
Updated: July 29, 2015 2:05 pm

TransAlta plans review after Alberta ruling it shut down plants to raise prices

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WATCH ABOVE: TransAlta deliberately manipulated the electricity market to drive up the price of power, according to the finding of Alberta’s Utilities Commission. Tom Vernon has more.

CALGARY — TransAlta Corp. says it will undertake an independent review of its practices following the Alberta Utility Commission’s conclusion that the company triggered outages at power plants to raise electricity rates.

Chief executive Dawn Farrell says results of the independent review will be made public.

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The commission held hearings after Alberta’s market surveillance administrator alleged the company manipulated the electricity market by shutting down coal-fired power plants in 2010 and 2011 to drive up power costs during periods when demand was high.

READ MORE: TransAlta timed power outages to drive up prices: Alberta commission 

The commission also found TransAlta breached a regulation by allowing its energy trader to use privileged information related to plant shutdowns so that the company could benefit in the market.

But the commission found that the market surveillance administrator did not prove allegations that TransAlta’s compliance policies, practices and oversight were inadequate and deficient.

The company said it is reviewing the ruling, including the possibility of seeking leave to appeal with the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Farrell, in a statement, said the company’s first priority is acknowledging the concerns of Albertans and rebuilding trust.

“Although we are surprised by the Alberta Utilities Commission ruling, we recognize our responsibility to ensure confidence in Alberta’s electricity system,” the statement reads.

“We do not take trust for granted, and we apologize for the concerns that have arisen.

“Almost five years ago, when this case began and we became aware that the market rules governing forced outages were in dispute, we immediately changed our compliance procedures. The actions that led to this case have not been repeated.

“Today we are going further toward rebuilding trust. TransAlta will undertake an independent, third-party review of our current compliance procedures around forced outages – the timing of when generating plants are taken down for repairs or maintenance – including recommendations for improvement. The findings will be made public.

“We will ensure that this kind of event cannot happen with the highest standards in our industry.”

With files from Global News

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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