Rising energy costs have many Albertans wondering how they will afford their next bill. The UCP announced earlier this month the province will stop collecting the Alberta fuel tax as well as introduce an electricity rebate.
The Opposition NDP said it’s not enough, and Albertans need more relief.
“We are calling on the government to extend the ban on utility disconnection over the spring and summer until the disconnection ban comes back into effect on Oct. 15,” said NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley.
Utility companies are prohibited from disconnecting essential services from Oct. 15 to April.
Ganley added with the ban ending in just under a month, Albertans falling behind on their utility bills are looking toward that date with increasing anxiety.
“I’m not proposing this in exchange for real monetary support, we still believe that this government owes Albertans a real rebate for natural gas and either a more substantial rebate for electricity or restoration of the utility cap.”
The province is introducing a $150 electricity rebate to help Albertans with the high power bills they encountered this winter. They will also stop collecting the province’s 13-cents-a-litre fuel tax on April 1.
The NDP said that doesn’t help those who still can’t afford to cover the monthly expenses now, and they plan to bring forward a motion on Wednesday.
“We’ve drafted legislation for the minister of energy and the associate minister of electricity that could be introduced and passed in a day as a government bill if they are willing,” added Ganley.
UCP respond to ask
In response to the NDP’s proposal, the press secretary for the office of the associate minister of natural gas and electricity said the government will “continue to encourage industry to show restraint during this unprecedented period of high prices.”
“Many vulnerable Albertans also have access to robust programs to avoid utility disconnections through the special needs assistance program for Alberta seniors, the direct to tenant rent supplement program, Alberta works and Alberta supports,” Taylor Hides said in a statement to Global News.
Hides also stated they encourage any Albertan struggling with their utility bills or those who fear being cut off after April 15 to contact the utilities consumer advocate to learn about the options available to them.