Capping electricity rates for residents and businesses is smoke and mirrors, according to Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre.
Included in Thursday’s throne speech was the province’s plan to cap rates below the average price over the last decade.
The Wildrose MLA said Albertans will still have to pay, only it will be through their taxes.
“Government will pay generators the difference between what they need to have and what they can charge us. All that does is it puts the burden on the taxpayer instead of the ratepayer,” MacIntyre said.
“The long and short of it is they’re buying us with our own money. We’re being bribed with our own money.”
He said the province also forgot to mention that the electricity rate is only a tiny portion of electricity bills. There’s also transmission, delivery and fixed costs.
“There’s no cap on any of that.”
MacIntyre said the actual price for electricity will be pushed onto younger generations who are ultimately going to have to pay the provincial debt.
Reg Warkentin, Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce policy and advocacy manager, said he was also concerned about how the province was going to pay for all the infrastructure projects, cuts to school fees and electricity rates mentioned in the speech.
“They are all great things and things we’d like to see happen, but considering the current state of government finances, I think it’s going to be very, very difficult to accomplish these things without totally breaking the bank,” Warkentin said.
He would have liked to have heard about additional efficiencies in government and ways to maximize tax dollars, but was pleased the province was going to bat for Trans Mountain Pipeline and Line 3.
“When we have Elizabeth May and Gregor Robertson actively saying they’re going to be doing everything in their power to stop these things from being built it creates concerns. It’s good to know our government is not giving up.”
He was curious however that the province didn’t mention the Keystone XL pipeline project.
“It’s a really big opportunity, but the government doesn’t seem to be focused on it.”
Warkentin said Central Alberta farmers will be happy with the focus on orphan well reclamation, and entrepreneur incubators are positive too.