Alberta electricity operator insists new power lines needed to keep lights on

The chief executive of the agency that operates power transmission lines in Alberta is defending a proposal to spend billions of dollars constructing new lines between Calgary and Edmonton.

CALGARY — The chief executive of the agency that operates power transmission lines in Alberta is defending a proposal to spend billions of dollars constructing new lines between Calgary and Edmonton.

David Erikson, chief executive the Alberta Electric System Operator, says he’s puzzled by suggestions by opponents that the organization is trying to “hoodwink” consumers.

He says more power transmission lines will help prevent power shortages.

Erikson says if there’s no extra capacity added to the province’s electricity grid, it could lead to some homes periodically going dark.

Enmax, a power subsidiary owned by the City of Calgary, says consumers could see electricity costs triple if the province goes ahead with a proposal to spend at least $15 billion on new transmission lines.

Premier Ed Stelmach has said that new power lines are needed because the province’s electricity infrastructure is decades old and leaks electricity, especially during periods of peak demand.

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