The Alberta Electrical Market - A Force To Be Reckoned With

By now; we have all heard of the issues surrounding TransAlta's alleged market manipulation of Alberta wholesale electrical prices. There has been an outycry by politicians, by consumers, industry analysts, industry veterans and all manner of opinions arising from the cacaphony.

The reality though is that consumers and their legislative representatives are in a quagmire with no legitimate means of crawling out to sane ground..

To understand this somewhat imperious statement one must first look at the retail electrical marketplace.

It is well known by industry veterans that only about 40% of the population has selected an electricity term price and plan that will secire a firm price for their consumption of kW's. While the numbers are certainly stronger for business, the truth is that the vagaries of electricity pricing can be mitigated by securing a contract. Yet; most consumers choose to continue to be subjected to the erratic pricing which occurs from a strong supply and demand marketplace.

ANd as if to add insult to injury; even many of our provincial politicians now howling for Transalta blood are either unaware or more importantly unable to make up their minds when it comes to something as simple as wether or not they should be choosing a contract price for their own electrical consumption and what the long term impact of not making a decision, really is.

Among the many voices of protest are those now rallying around the re-regulation of the electrical industry flagpole. To what planet would one need to travel where the general population is so oblivious of a multi-billion dollar industry serving them that they would willfully wish to re-purchase all of those multibillion dollar assets now in the hands of private industry that generates, delivers and sells electricity to the Alberta consumer.

Now we come to the crux of the issue. In a truly deregulated industry there will be guidelines and even rules placed on industry. WHile there may be oversight committees and regulations, the bottom line is that the law of supply and demand will inevitably winnow out those businesses not able to cope with a dynamic and changing marketplace.

Alternatiely; and to give the greatest comfort to consumers and politicians unwilling or unable to contend with making a rudimentary decision on where to purchase their essential supplies, the government needs to step in to re-regulate the market and continue to coddle the consumer.

As it is now; we have purchased an airline ticket that will take us 3/4's of the way to Europe. Nice trip but unless we land safely on the other side, we haven't accomplished anything of consequence.

Cheers

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