On Monday afternoon, electricity prices spiked above 90 cents per kilowatt hour during another
period of high heat and little wind. To put this in perspective, one (1) load of laundry – washed
and dried – is $7.00 at these rates.
The high rates are due to one (1) company, TransCanada, taking advantage of
the economic withholding rules of the Alberta electricity market. TransCanada has reduced the
output of 6 coal-fired generating stations by approximately one-third and driven the price of
power up 10 to 20 times.
As of 4:08pm (on Monday) the following plants controlled by TransCanada were operating at approximately two-thirds capacity:
Sundance 1 – 69%
Sundance 2 – 69%
Sundance 3 – 66%
Sundance 4 – 61%
Sheerness 1 – 68%
Sheerness 2 – 66%
This means that they have priced the remaining power from these plants at greater than 95
cents per kilowatt-hour, effectively removing them from service when they are needed most.
I think this is outrageous and I hope that I am not alone, because I need help from average
Albertans to do something about it.
We have created a free App for iOS, Android and Windows devices that puts the price of power
out in the open, where it should be. This outrageous pricing goes on because people don’t get
to see the workings of the power market. It’s hidden from view and only shows up after the fact
on the monthly bill.
The Alberta Power Price App (APP App) makes real time pricing available to everyone and is as
easy to to read as a mood ring.
Every time the price goes up by 25 cents per kilowatt hour, the colour of the “button” changes
from green to red (for when the market is angry…)
When the price of power goes over 75 cents per kilowatt hour, a notification is sent out to alert
people that the market price is very high, and – this is the important part – PLEASE CONSERVE.
At these very high price levels, even a tiny reduction in demand – fractions of one percent – can
crater the exorbitant prices, bringing them back down to earth. Shutting off lights that aren’t
needed, turning off a television that isn’t being watched, turning off electrical devices that are
idling – all of these little things, done by enough Albertans, will dramatically change the POWER
relationship in the electricity market.
I feel that Albertans have had enough of being told that everything is just great in the Alberta
electricity market. This afternoon shows that everything is not great, in fact, it sucks. It sucks
dollars out of every Albertan’s wallet at every opportunity.
They don’t have to just put up with it – now they can do something about it.
~ David Gray – President, Gray Energy Economics Inc.
The Alberta Power Price App is available for free from iTunes and Google Play. Links to these
locations are available on our website at www.GrayEnergyEconomics.com