Electricity bills in Red Deer are set to rise in January

On Monday, city council delayed the inevitable — a 20 per cent increase in the transmission portion on the bills. The increase will add about $5 to a typical monthly electric bill.

Red Deerians can learn how to save money on their power bills. The City of Red Deer is hosting a session Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch.

Red Deerians can learn how to save money on their power bills. The City of Red Deer is hosting a session Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch.

On Monday, city council delayed the inevitable — a 20 per cent increase in the transmission portion on the bills. The increase will add about $5 to a typical monthly electric bill.

Expressing frustration with Alberta’s electricity system, council did not give third reading on the bylaw amendment. Council will consider third reading at its final meeting on Oct. 15 before the Oct. 21 municipal election.

The increase stems from the spike in the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) transmission costs. They were set to increase by 35 per cent on Tuesday. AESO recently received approval to increase their rates effective Oct. 1.

Jim Jorgensen, manager of city’s Electric Light and Power Department, said AESO normally applies for new rates every three years and depending on costs that are encountered over that time frame, they can apply for interim rates based on their budget projections for costs incurred. AESO’s next regular rate application will come in 2014.

“They have requested and were approved for interim rates starting in 2013 to address their cost projections for 2013 as well as 2014,” he said.

Jorgensen said as a result, the Electric Light and Power Department recommended a 20 per cent increase to the transmission portion of the bill starting on Jan. 1.

Jorgensen said a typical resident consuming 600 kilowatt hours and who pays $100 a month can expect to pay $5 or $6 more on their bill.

Jorgensen told council the situation is not unique to Red Deer. He said all services and customers in the province are responsible for transmission costs in the same way.

He said the costs are levied by the province for building, maintaining and operating the transmission infrastructure.