Stelmach won’t be swayed by critics on power line policy

EDMONTON — Premier Ed Stelmach says it’s worth the protests his government is facing to pass legislation to build $8.5 billion worth of new power lines in Alberta.

EDMONTON — Premier Ed Stelmach says it’s worth the protests his government is facing to pass legislation to build $8.5 billion worth of new power lines in Alberta.

Critics of Bill 50 say the government is reducing public input on construction of new power lines even though consumers will bear the entire cost.

Critics say that will cause electricity bills to sky-rocket for the average Albertan.

But Stelmach says many more Albertans would be complaining if the province didn’t legislate a half-dozen new power corridors that are needed.

The premier says there will be a lot of upset people if there a blackouts two or three years from now because of lack of capacity on the power grid.

Stelmach says the new power lines will be built over several years, so the increase to consumer utility bills to recover the cost will be gradual.

He also says the new electricity corridors are needed to move wind energy from southern Alberta to meet the growing demand for so-called green energy.

Critics, meanwhile, say the power lines will mainly be used to send electricity to the United States.

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