Experts warn Albertans not to maintain gas and electricity prices as prices rise - CBC.ca

Experts warn Albertans not to maintain gas and electricity prices as prices rise – CBC.ca

Energy economists are warning Albertans to review their gas and electric bills and fix a fixed price if they haven’t already because prices are expected to rise in the coming months.

“I’ve been urging anyone to listen that every Albertans should have a flat rate for this winter,” Blake Shaffer, an energy economist at the University of Calgary, said Monday. “And I say that for both natural gas and energy.”

Shaffer said people would rightly point out that energy costs only make up a third of their monthly bill. The rest of the costs are unavoidable for things like delivery fees.

But he said, There is an energy component and it is beneficial in terms of savings.”

For example, when achieved last week, Shaffer said, a consumer can sign a contract for flat-rate gas for $3.79 per gigajoule and the current future price of the gas is roughly $6 per gigajoule.

The average household would use about 15 gigajoules a month, he said, so a consumer could save between $30 to $45 a month for five months. For people on low or steady income, “this is a pretty big saving.”

Similar savings could also be made with electricity, he said.

Schaffer said research has shown that households who are less able to tolerate steep increases in gas and electricity bills are less likely to pick up the phone and call their power provider and either negotiate a lower fixed-rate contract or jump to a new provider.

But he said it was definitely worth the time and effort. Alberta utility consumer attorneys have Easy cost comparison tool On their website that allows consumers to make regional price comparisons helps in making an informed decision.

“People should know that for most providers, you can change back to a floating rate any time you want,” Shaffer said.

The summer heat wave affected the natural gas supply

Why are energy prices trending up in Alberta, a major natural gas producer?

Sophie Symonds, managing director of brokerage Anova Energy, said Alberta now generates the majority of its energy using natural gas.

The heat wave in June and July created record demand for electricity. Usually, natural gas is stored in the summer for use in the winter. But this year, there was much more gas consumption in the summer and therefore less storage.

Furthermore, Alberta has been exporting a lot of natural gas to the US since August and September because Hurricane Ida destroyed natural gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

“What this means is that we are really going into winter with very, very low stocking numbers,” Symonds said.

Chancellor Matt Ayres said he believes higher electricity prices are also being affected by Alberta’s transition from carbon-intensive fuels to less carbon-intensive fuels.

“This transition is not always smooth,” said Ayres, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

“I see that at least some of the price increases that we’re seeing in electricity are due to the difficulties that that transition poses and also because of the reduced competition between generators.”

In 2019, the KKE government removed the cap on electricity price imposed by the previous NDP government.

The NDP called on the government to restore the ceiling but the KKE government rejected this as unsustainable and unrealistic.

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