The Power of the Alberta Government’s Bill 50 Shocks Keith Wilson

If you thought that the Land Stewardship Act (Bill 36) was crazy well you have to check out what Keith Wilson, Wilson Law Office is saying about Bill 50.  In an effort to export power to the United States the Alberta government is going to over build the transmission infrastructure inside this province.  Also note that this alleged overbuild is bigger than the infrastructure required in Ontario which is a much larger province.  Who is going to pay for this you ask?  Well you are.

According to Keith Wilson, industrial users of power within the province are going to see their power bills as much as triple and still the transmission lines will be owned by the line companies. It does not take much common sense to realize that your farm is going to impacted directly and indirectly. Your pivot and hog barn will cost more to operate and the factories, mills, and processors within the province will be passing their new added utility costs down onto your farm.

The real beans were spilled last week when a WikiLeaks cable was released that exposed the reasons for this significant infrastructure overbuild.  Even Ted Morton the Bill 36 creator has decided that Alberta should re-evaluate Bill 50.

In my latest discussion with Keith Wilson he continues to expose the current Alberta Government’s carelessness in protecting the agricultural community.

If you cannot see the below embedded video, click here

See more links on Bill 50

Wikileaks Shines Light on Alberta’s $16-Billion Electricity Scandal

Business leaders get concerned about Heartland Transmission Line

Ted Morton reconsiders position on Bill 50

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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30 Comments

wayne

With Bill 50 the PC party has clearly stepped on it’s toes!!! Maybe it is time for a complete house cleaning in Edmonton.

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Anonymous

In light of the Wikileaks cable, and PC leadership candidates trying to change spots, how can any of us believe that the Bill 50 transmission lines and Bills 19 and 36 were nothing more than a way to line the pockets of a few power companies, and give government absolute power. This interview, and the Tyee article put in all in perspective. Thanks Keith and Shaun, for helping to expose the truth.

Tyee link is: http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/05/26/WikileaksAlbertaElectricity/

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Anonymous

The Bill 50 Transmission Lines will be the demise of the PC government. With Alberta in an uproar over the legislations, who would you want to trust? A government that tries to tell us that the legislation is great, then their leadership candidates change their minds for fear of loosing an election. Of all the candidates, who would be a good leader? None of them!!!! Repeal Bills 19, 36, and 50, and maybe then we’ll think they are capable of running this province.

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Anonymous

Sounds like Government, Altalink, Epcor and Atco are trying to take from Albertans, but they got caught. I think we figured you guys out, and now Wikileaks is showing up everywhere. Keep up the good work Keith Wilson. You have been Alberta’s voice, and we hear you now.

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Tristan

Transmission lines for export? WOW!!!!!! If this government doesn’t repeal these bills,19, 36, 50, 10, 24, then they may as well start practising their farewell tune. Not a chance Albertans will put up with this crap anymore.

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Roland

Very productive when the President can be PC party Pres. and Altalink Pres. at the same time, I smell rotten FISH.

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Andy

The problem that I see is how various companies only are interested in their part in electricity. When everything was under one umbrella (TransAlta) decisions could be made regarding the entire electricity landscape.

However, now Altalink needs to make transmission the most important part because that is what they do. Rather than build generation where the demand is, Altalink wants to build lines from generation to the demand.

The way I see it, Alberta has province wide energy distribution already -natural gas pipelines. Natural gas is cheap, plentiful and the cleanest fossil fuel. Pipelines go virtually everywhere in the province. Generate the power where the demand is. Then we don’t have to worry about seeing transmission lines everywhere (like the 138kV one 1000 feet from my house).

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Karisa

Wasn’t Leigh Clarke the vice president of PC party and vice president of Altalink? How could we be so blind? Our government has made this easy for Altalink and Epcor and Atco. Need a transmission line, sure, then let’s make legislation so you can run rough shot over all Albertans. Put bill 50, and the rest in place, and then, voila- do what you want. Smells like Coruption!!!!

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Jeremy

Thanks to people like Keith Wilson, the truth is on the table. Look at the press this thing has received. I read lately that Wildrose would repeal these bills and I think we have to get rid of 40 years of power mongers that want to take landowner rights away. We need to look to the future. Albertans deserve and want a government that acts in our best interest. Repeal the Bills!

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David

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Origin

This arose as a quotation by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

Another English politician with no shortage of names – William Pitt, the Elder, The Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778, is sometimes wrongly attributed as the source. He did say something similar, in a speech to the UK House of Lords in 1770:

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”

IT’s time the conservative government in Alberta hits the road, but the problem we have is that the average Alberta joe is afraid to vote for a different political party. The reason is quite simple the average joe believes free enterprise will make him rich. I believe that the joes votes PC because they have no understanding of politics and are brain washed.

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Colleen

One of the most dangerous aspects of the legislated Bill 50 Transmission Lines is the threat to large businesses who will pay the lion’s share of the Transmission costs. At the five week long Heartland Hearing, the first of the Bill 50 Transmission Line hearings, large businesses testified that increased power bills, doubling or tripling, would force them to move out of province, or close their doors. The economic impact would be devastating to Alberta, and all Albertans would suffer the consequences. Our Alberta Advantage would be a distant memory, and the only benefactor would be the transmission companies and SNC Lavalin. Bill 50 transmission lines will break Alberta, guaranteed.
Link to Calgary Herald article revealing the concerns of businesses.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/Business+leaders+concerned+over+cost+Heartland+transmission+line/4790641/story.html

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Andre

Clearly the PC party needs to revoke these three bills and do a legitimate needs assessment on our power requirements.

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Roger

You gotta love conspiracy theories. Shaun you might want to check a few facts on this one though. Here are a few examples.
1:10 Incorrect – Bill 50 CTI projects currently total 6.6 billion
1:15 Incorrect again Ontario 5.48 billion BC 4.33 billion
4:05 Incorrect Bill 50 lines are not export lines – do you see any of them crossing the border?
5:16 Incorrect again, 16 billion transmission build over 10 years is a drop in the bucket compared to heath care and education
5:44 Industrial “power rates” will not triple; there will be an increase to the transmission cost which could add roughly $20 per MWh
6:00 What happens if the price of cattle goes up? What about diesel? Or labour?
I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now.

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Tracey

You want facts? Bill 50 lines connect to lines being built, as we speak, from Montana. December 2010 National Geographic interactive article shows the North American Power Grid from Ft.McMurray to Portland then San Francisco (information supplied by the US Dept of Energy). Check out the National Geographic link: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/07/power-grid/grid-interactive

Or how about this: Tonbridge Power Inc. Provides the Construction Update of Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. Transmission Line Project http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=33803301

This fall, the crews will begin pole insertion and stringing in Canada starting at the border and moving north. Once the Canadian elements are finished, the team will move back to Marias, MT and complete the portion south to Great Falls, MT.

Hmmm…Conspiracy?? You’re dead right. Wikileaks whistle-blower caught AB Energy red-handed.

The grid is for export. Ratepayers in Alberta are on the hook to line PC corporate sponsors coffers. It’s time for an election. We’ve got corruption. It’s the biggest bald-faced lie I’ve ever seen. And it continues… even when they’ve been busted.

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Roger

1.The transmission line you refer to shown on National Geographic’s website was proposed around 2002 and has been off the books for quite some time.
2.Calling the MATL an export line is grasping for straws. Their website states the line is built to allow for wind generation to flow from turbines to either the Great Falls or Lethbridge areas. This is a small 230kv AC interconnect between Montana and Alberta for better reliability. Power will flow both ways on this line, please note that Alberta is currently a net importer of electricity.
If you enjoy reading up more on this subject, here is a recent article in the Calgary Herald. http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/Corbella+believe+Morton+power+lines+needed/4854008/story.html

Reply
Keith Wilson

Roger,

You are entitled to pick at the nuances of this issue, but please don’t lose sight of the following facts:
1. Alberta’s major industrial users have studied the proposed $16 Billion transmission build and concluded that it is a massive overbuild, unnecessary, intended for export, and will result in industrial and some commercial power rates tripling over the next 6 years.
2. Alberta ratepayers are forced to pay the full costs of the transmission build unlike other provinces where the utility companies have to pay for some or all. Under the new rules set by our provincial government, we pay the full cost plus a rate of return of 9% to the utility companies and after the lines are built, the utility companies get to own the lines.
3. If the new lines are for export, then the utility companies should be paying for them, not Alberta ratepayers.
4. The government removed the public needs assessment for several of the most expensive of the proposed new lines amd shifted the power to make those decisions to the Cabinet room.
5. Independant studies done on Bill 50 by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and the Fraser Institute concluded that Bill 50 is dangerous, would lead to an overbuilding of the system and hurt Alberta’s economy.
6. Question: Are you the same Roger who is land agent working for the utility companies?
7. Question: One of the reasons why the cost is so high in Alberta is because the government approved 2 HVDC lines. What other jurisdiction in the world has put a DC system in the middle of an AC transmission system? Answer: none but for Alberta b/c it costs too much.
8. Question: What other jurisdiction in the world is trying to build a “congestion free” transmission system? Answer: none but for Alberta b/c the rest know it is not economic.
Thanks for helping educate everyone Roger. Much appreciated.

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Concerned Albertan

I was at the Heartland AUC hearing about the route for the first Bill 50 line. I was amazed how Altalink just walted into the room and expected to get its routing approval without having to provide any cost-benefit study for the huge cost of the line. Later I was equally surprised to hear the witness for the Industrial Heartland Association testify that the Association does not want the line, does not need the line, and that the costs of the line will make it harder to attract businesses and value-added activities to Alberta. Wow! This is jsut crazy and needs to stop real fast.

Reply
Kevin

You have to love a government that puts legislation in place so that the hard working citizens can help line the pockets of greedy power companies. Bill 50 is one of the worst pieces of legislation. Even the PC leadership candidates don’t like it anymore. Repeal it along with it’s ugly stepsisters, Bills 19 and 36.

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Anonymous

The panel of business owners at the Heartland Hearing have indicated that the province cannot afford a transmission project of this magnitude and that a “needs” assessment should have been part of the regular checks and balances. Seems like the government decided to gamble with our economy when they passed Bill 50!!!!

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Caley

When the cost of transmission is too high for anyone in this province, and businesses leave, I wonder if anyone will be praising the Stelmach government? Certainly a sad legacy for everyone in the PC cabinet associated with Bill 50. They’ll also have 19 and 36 to really hang their heads with.

Reply
Eric

These power lines are a huge scam.  The government has blown it again.  The issue is not what is required to keep the lights on, but what is the cheapest way to keep the lights on.  The utility co’s are having a feeding feast on our wallets. 
 
These lines are for export:  why else would the plan be for 2000 MW (the same amount of power as the City of Edmonton uses) to terminate at Brooks in addition to all of the lines that already go to Brooks?

Reply
Chance

When the Bill 50 Transmission Lines were first proposed to pass close to my house, I felt that initial sense of panic and wanted to do everything in my control to have them go elsewhere. Then, when the motives behind Bill 50, the Wikileaks cable about export, the lack of a “needs assessment”, the lack of a cost committee, or the lack of a competitive procurement process, it became evident. I recognized how wrong and devastating this will be for all Albertans. The “public interest” is still a part of the AUC mandate, even though the government has managed to give the power companies the unfair advantage of legislation that bypasses all checks and balances. We have to stand up and demand that the these transmission lines are not “in the public’s interest” at the next EATL and WATL hearings. If we unite as Albertans, righting a wrong, we can stop these lines and force government to repeal these ridiculous bills. I believe Albertans have a great sense of pride. We know how to watch out for our neighbor, and these bill 50 transmission lines are like the big bad thief that will make his way into everyone’s home, and steal as much as he can. Albertans………. let’s send this thief running.

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Jack

Thanks Keith for your ‘dog with a bone’ tenaciousness…. The retorical question “How many lies does it take to be a liar?” keeps coming to mind. Trust is hard to come by when changes are made only after being caught with your hand in the cookie jar. The days of huge Conservative majorities are hopefully over. Danielle Smith could use a guy with your integrity and vision.

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Shin

Hello Shaun,

Thanks for shedding some light on this subject.

A key question to ask is: What steps can Albertans take to stop this insanity?

I say Albertans because from what I have researched, the cost will effect the power bills of ALL power users, Not just Rural Albertans.

If this goes thru, its just not Farmers, Ranchers and the Production sector that will have to pay business crippling electricity bills. It is the Urban Albertans as well. How will these “extra” costs effect the Retirees on fixed incomes, young families and those struggling to get by?

What can Albertans do to stop this massive Alberta subsidization to the Private US Power Corporations?

Reply
alex

Notwithstanding general ignorance and apathy, I believe the people of Alberta (or anywhere for that matter) have a general mistrust of politicians. By giving themselves more unilateral power via Bill 50 they further widen the gap of trust and transparency that Governments should maintain.

I personally resent the fact that my electrical bill is heavily weighted on the side of delivery charges, approximately 65% of my
monthly total goes towards distribution. I suspect this will increase substantially in the future.
Personally, I believe we should be putting 16 billion towards alternative energy developement, solar and wind, with incentives to go off the grid and reduce energy consumption. This insane focus on growth and larger capacities will ultimately cause a reduction
in quality of life for most Albertans, wheather it be financial or psychological , as property owners watch helplessly as the
Government and the special interest groups bulldoze another swath of machine mentallity across the land.
I’m heading off the grid…. good luck to those who don’t have that option.

Reply
Eric the Engineer

I’m just a simple P.Eng., but 3 points of logic jump out at me:
(a) How can we trust ANYONE in the pc government after they unanimously voted to approve Bill 50 which made it illegal for the regulator to refuse projects which were not in the best interests of Albertans. If you don’t believe me, read Bill 50 which states: ““The (provincial regulator, or AUC) shall not refuse the approval of a transmission line . . . on the basis that . . . it does not meet the needs of Alberta or is not in the public interest.” Wars have been started for lesser issues.
(b) The provincial electricity policy is based on the (controversial) premise that if we build enough transmission, generators will move into Alberta, and we’ll get the cheapest electricity delivered to our homes & businesses. Yet just last week, Energy Minister Ron Liepert responded to the Wikileak Export scandal that Alberta barely has enough generation capacity for domestic use. In other words, he admitted that the provincial electricity policy and its grid operator, the AESO, is a failure. In the past decade, regardless of how much transmission we build and how much the AESO ‘plans’, generators simply aren’t entering the marketplace (just because the pc government and the AESO build transmission and hope they will). Another example of how government intervention in a marketplace invariably fails.
(c) The AESO is comprised of hundreds of Professional Engineers, who are obviously complicit in their involvement (if not in their silence) with this ongoing sham of an experiment at the risk of the Alberta consumer and provincial economy. Professional Engineers must abide by a code of conduct that puts the public first (and not political masters first, their self-preservation 2nd, and the public dead last). Watch for an APEGGA inquiry as the Export Scandal unfolds. The politicians pulling the strings will use them as ‘fall-guys’. Watch for heads rolling at Alberta Energy and the grid operator (the AESO). Rest assured those that are implicated will find no solace from an otherwise honorable and dedicated profession!

Reply
Dan

Yes there is an obvious issue with taxpayers financing the cost of the transmission towers.

However, there is a much larger problem with respect to the egregious loss of private property rights – for landowners; opportunity costs of forgone production of goods and services that otherwise would be available for consumers; and of course, the unavoidable, inexorable failure of central planning generally.

Having the line companies pay for the infrastructure (presumably through higher electricity prices or perhaps through a bond issue) seems to be a partial solution to both Shawn Haney and Keith Wilson. It is not, for this simply shifts the problem and cost of central planning onto another group of individuals.

The only sure-fire workable solution is to reverse the rise of statism in the province of Alberta by expanding, respecting and defending private resource ownership.

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Anonymous

Landowner rights have been taken away, and the government is looking to implement “Central Planning”. It didn’t work in the eastern european countries, and it won’t work here. We have to stand up for our rights, speak to our County representatives, city councilors, MLA’s and Ministers and write letters to the editors of all newspapers in the province. We need to flood the media with our anger, our disappointment, and our outrage. This government has been in power for too long, and they have become arrogant and wreckless with Albertans and our rights. We need to talk to our neighbours, and relatives and fill them in on the truth. We need to have more people like Keith Wilson speak up and take a stand. We need to stop feeling threatened by doing this, and believe that government cannot bully us anymore. We have rights that are hanging in the balance. Thanks Keith and Shaun for helping expose the truth.

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wayne

As my MLA told me it was for “the greater good”, I wonder whose pocket book he was referring to!!! The unsightly towers could be replaced with small natural gas generators where ever needed, and guess what the gas lines are already there!!!!! As Ted Morton said in the legislature it is all about “POWER”.

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Anonymous

The PC government must get rid of Bill 50 and bring back the public needs assessment. Unless they repeal bills 19, 36 and 50, I will never again vote for the PCs, nor will anyone else I know.

Reply

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