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Albertans to shoulder outstanding gas and power balances from utility deferral program

Alberta ratepayers will cover unpaid gas and electricity bills from utility deferral program the province announced Friday, July 16. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Expect to see a jump in your utility bill this fall.

The Alberta government says ratepayers are on the hook for outstanding balances through the Utility Payment Deferral Program.

Read more: Alberta homeowner questions unexpected, shockingly high power bills after deferring payments

The program’s intention was to provide relief to those hardest hit by the pandemic while having a minimal impact on utility bills for consumers as a whole.

“The initial economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many Albertans being unable to pay their electricity bills and natural gas bills,” said Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally in a news release Friday.

“This is why Alberta’s government created the Utility Payment Deferral Program, which successfully supported hundreds of thousands of Albertans. While retailers worked flexibly and compassionately with customers who had outstanding deferral balances, a small portion of those debts were never settled.”

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This fall, you will see a small and temporary ‘Utility Deferral Adjustment’ rate rider on your electricity and natural gas bills.

It’s not clear how much consumers will be charged, but the province expects it to be a “fraction of a dollar” for a few months.

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