Landowners group awaits response to complaint

A Central Alberta landowners group will find out next month how Alberta’s power regulator will handle its complaint regarding documentation of two proposed high-voltage transmission lines between Calgary and Edmonton.

A Central Alberta landowners group will find out next month how Alberta’s power regulator will handle its complaint regarding documentation of two proposed high-voltage transmission lines between Calgary and Edmonton.

Joe Anglin, leader of the Lavesta Area Group, filed a complaint on Nov. 16 to the Alberta Utilities Commission, alleging the Alberta Electric System Operator failed to provide the proper paperwork required by Alberta law on why these controversial lines are needed.

AESO, an independent organization that identifies the needs for transmission lines but doesn’t build them, has indicated two multibillion-dollar transmission lines are needed along the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, one of which would run through a corridor that straddles Hwy 2 while the other would be strung along a route further east and roughly in line with Castor and Hanna.

AESO representatives couldn’t be reached for comment, but in a recent interview with the Edmonton Journal, spokeswoman Dawn Delaney said the needs identification document wasn’t necessary due to recently passed legislation, the Electric Statutes Amendment Act (formerly Bill 50).

The act allows the government to decide if new transmission lines are needed instead of taking it to a public hearing — a manoeuvre opposed by Anglin’s group.

Commission spokesman Geoff Scotton said that this type of complaint lodged by Anglin is uncommon, but it’s a fairly “high level” one.

He said the commission not only takes Anglin’s complaint into consideration, but it also sought and received a dozen responses from other interested parties and individuals.

Anglin also gave a written rebuttal.

“We’re just in the stage of taking a look at all this material,” Scotton said. “It’s our expectation a decision on the next step will be sometime in January.”

The commission has several avenues it can take.

It can initially dismiss the complaint by sending it to the market surveillance administrator, which is responsible for monitoring the market.

“If it finds a breach did occur, the surveillance administrator would then bring it back to us,” he said.

An investigation and/or public hearing are other options at the outset. Once either or both is completed, the commission could direct AESO to take action or have the complaint dismissed, Scotton said.

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