The Alberta Government is trying to make a case against several energy companies after they say Power Purchase Agreements could cost consumers $2 billion.
Companies can back out if changes to law made the PPAs unprofitable, but a last minute change requested by Enron added 16 years ago added the phrase “or more profitable” to the clause.
The government released emails Monday that it claims prove that the change was made in secret, and without any public consultation. Speaking to Global News, Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman says she believes there was a backroom deal.
“The clause that was added through these side conversations and was never publicized in the traditional way that regulations are certainly isn’t in the public interest,” said Hoffman.
“It’s very atypical to have a clause like this that basically gives all of the liabilities back to one side of the contract.”
Energy economist and former executive director of the Utilities Consumer Advocate David Gray doesn’t think the province has picked the right fight.
“The question really goes to: Can the government that created the contracts now say, “Hey, we did it wrong. We’re taking it back.”?” said Gray.
He thinks the Province needs to make another decision.
“If you want to protect consumers from volatile electricity prices you can go towards either a managed market or re-regulation.”
The NDP government continues to release documents to make their case to protect consumers. (djs/global)