Nov 26, 2018

Using Electricity in Alberta

Well, today I watch my neighbour loose his transformer. He was only using it to heat a waterier for his buffalo. He was only needing 3 kWh per day for 120 days, at most 0.5 MWh per year. To get the pole and the transformer back will cost him about $10,000. So why is Atco Electric trying so hard to reduce their unused transformers that are still installed? Does installing and removal of power to the premise increase their bottom line? I guess the real question is should Atco Electric be charged more to install electric utility lines (increase their access fee), thereby making every rural Albertan go off grid. I think the breaking point is quite a bit less than 7200kWh per year (average Alberta household use). The problem with a cattle waterier is that it needs to be working on the coldest day of the year--yes those days without any sun. So it needs to have 21 kWh of storage (7 days x 3 kWh per day). That amount of energy storage would cost over $10,000. But at least energy storage is equal to grid-tied energy system from Atco. Even further down the road, the move to a 100% renewable energy that is not grid-tied will become more and more cheaper compared to Atco Electric grid-tied system. Too bad we didn't learn from Ontario's mistakes -- Companies like GM leave Canada when electricity cost are too high.

In my opinion, Atco should leave the pole and transformer in working condition and offer the land owner a FAIR rent. FAIR rent would be the wholesale price of the pole and transformer times prime rate. Eg. Transformer $1200 and pole $300 times 4% equals $60 per year. Most landowners would agree to this and we would have more electricity available to Albertans at a cheaper price, thus making electricity affordable and encouraging more businesses move to Alberta. 

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