There are two stories from Alberta that illustrate the unintended consequences of utilities trying to beat the returns available from full regulation. One is the story of the phase-out of coal-fired generation. The other is the story of the treatment of regulatory assets that are not used and useful. In both cases, utilities have sought to get better than normal returns but are now paying the price for the chain of events they set in motion.

Starting with the story of the coal-fired generators, the previously fully integrated electricity companies in Alberta were about 50/50 on deregulation when it was being rolled out as a policy. A compromise was reached that would allow the previously regulated plants to continue to be paid as if they were fully regulated through Power Purchase Agreements established by the Government.

Since that timid beginning, all the companies have come around wanting to make more out of their assets than the previous regulatory model would allow. Arguable, they are big on the upside, but they sure don’t seem to like the downside of being outside of the regulatory system. The speaker will articulate what may have motivated this complicated web of electricity (de) regulation and what can be done about it going forward.

Speaker: David Gray

David Gray is a dedicated consumer advocate, and has been for many years prior to starting Gray Energy Economics Inc. David has had experience as the senior economist for a utility company, as a senior analyst for the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and as the senior executive of the Alberta Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate.

David’s experience as an executive was continued as President of an innovative company developing energy recapture technology for oilfield applications and his passion for understanding every aspect of regulated and deregulated energy markets has led him to the forefront of the energy industry. David aims to give his customers more control over their energy usage and costs than most realize. The mission of his current company is to ensure that neither a dollar nor a kilowatt hour is wasted by its customers.

Moderator: Larry Elford

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017 Time: 7 - 8:30 pm Location: Dr. Foster James Penny Building, room PB210, 324 – 5 Street South, Lethbridge Cost: Free, everyone welcome

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