Alberta introduces Bill 13 to levy fines as way to resolve utility overcharges

FILE: A laptop with a pile of utility bills shown on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Sheila Boardman, The Canadian Press

Alberta is making changes to resolve problems with power and natural gas bills.

Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd has tabled legislation that would allow electricity and gas providers to be penalized for late billing and overcharging.

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Under the “Bill 13: An Act to Secure Alberta’s Electricity Future,” fines could be up to $10,000 a day.

The legislation would also give the Alberta Utilities Commission more latitude to investigate quickly and to levy the fines.

Disputes currently need to go through formal hearings, which can be lengthy and cumbersome.

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The bill also aims to bring in new rules to align with Alberta’s shift to a capacity electricity market in 2021.

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“It will help guarantee that our electricity system becomes a modern, reliable network,” McCuaig-Boyd said Thursday.

“(It’s) a system that will protect Albertans from price swings and poor service and a system that will attract investment.”

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The act will also provide more options to Albertans who want to generate their own electricity from renewable or alternative sources.

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