Electricity prices too high

To Alberta’s provincial government for failing to properly regulate electricity prices. It’s no secret that since the Conservatives, under then premier Ralph Klein, decided to deregulate the industry, Albertans have paid far too much for power.

Dart…

To Alberta’s provincial government for failing to properly regulate electricity prices.

It’s no secret that since the Conservatives, under then premier Ralph Klein, decided to deregulate the industry, Albertans have paid far too much for power.

Now David Gray, who was the executive director of the Utility Consumer Advocate’s office until late July, is saying that he expects “customers to be crushed by high gas and electricity bills at some point.

“I think you will see industry either avoiding or leaving Alberta,” he adds. “We’re also at some risk of blackouts on our system because of how long it has taken to get transmission built.”

Not surprisingly, a pair of companies that recently shut down their manufacturing plants in Alberta say they cut their electricity costs in half by moving to other provinces.

Erco and Canexus, which operated sodium chlorate plants near Bruderheim, say they decided to relocate largely because of Alberta’s exorbitant electricity costs.

But it’s not just businesses that are getting squeezed; consumers too are getting kicked in the head.

That’s why Gray is warning Albertans about a potential “catastrophe” soon to become apparent in our power bills.

This mess developed under Klein’s leadership, but it’s continuing with Premier Ed Stelmach at the helm.

It’s time for the matter to be formally investigated and the inquiry findings revealed to all Albertans.

— Lee Giles

Bouquet…

To the Capri Centre and wildlife officials who have taken loving care of one of the truly awesome creatures of nature — the peregrine falcon. A family of four falcons is enjoying its stay at the hotel in their luxury, penthouse suite on the rooftop of one Red Deer’s biggest hotels. The parents and two chicks have made a home there, much to the delight of hotel general manager Gil Vallee.

Vallee is inspired by these incredible raptors and whenever he gets a chance, he heads out to see what the peregrines are doing 14 storeys high.

The parents are teaching their young to hunt prey “very aggressively,” the manager is pleased to report. He has witnessed the parents catching birds and dropping them, while a young falcon swoops down to grab it.

What started out as a dismal story on that 14th floor earlier this year has turned into a conservation effort worth applauding. Four out of five chicks born there this spring died from exposure to harsh winds and driving rain. Fish and Wildlife officials stepped in with the help of biologist Dave Prescott and brought nourishment for the fifth tyke, then introduced a male chick from Edmonton.

Wildlife officials say this year marked the fourth time the falcons have chosen the Capri Centre for their high-nesting spot. Another three peregrine falcons are living atop the Telus tower on the north side of the city, where a nesting box has been built.

In the meantime, the Capri Centre raptors are being given the VIP treatment in their penthouse suite — isolation and relaxation. Nobody is allowed up there.

Vallee is pleased. “They took care of my pigeon problem,” he quips.

— Rick Zemanek

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