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Alberta introduces legislation to reduce high power-bill fee surcharge for Calgarians

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is stepping in to stop Calgary residents from being forced to pay hefty surcharges on their power bills.

Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf has introduced a bill that, if passed, would ban cities from using variable rates to calculate local access fees on power bills starting in the new year.

Local access fees are charged to power companies in lieu of property taxes, but Calgary’s fees rise and fall with the price of electricity while other municipalities have a fixed rate or some other formula.

As a result, Calgary took in $186 million more than expected last year from the fees while residents had to pay about $240 on average — three times the fee Edmonton residents pay.

Calgary city council has already agreed to change how it calculates the fees to make them more affordable, but that won’t happen until at least 2027.

Neudorf says Calgarians need relief sooner and says the legislation would also prevent copycat fees from other municipalities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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