The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce says a contract is a contract, and it’s concerned with the Notley government’s decision to challenge a regulation that could saddle consumers with billions of dollars in losses from coal-fired power agreements.
At issue are Power Purchase Arrangements which allow power companies to return money-losing contracts to the province if a change in law affects their profitability, which is exactly what’s happening now that the provincial government has decided to charge companies a higher tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
The chamber’s president and CEO, Janet Riopel, says when there’s no clarity in the laws and regulations, businesses will typically step back and reevaluate any future investments.
“Instead of continuing down this adversarial path to the court, we’re encouraging them to go back to the power companies and find solutions through consultation and collaboration,” explained Riopel.
The regulation was passed by the previous Conservative government in 2000, with the new NDP government saying the Tories had no right to create a legal loophole.
But Riopel says trying to break long-standing contracts is a terrible message with the province looking to attract companies in the renewable energy environment.
“I think we’re creating even more uncertainty. I think we’re in a crises of confidence — we’re in a crises of believing in the power of investing in this province right now.” (td)