Many Alberta apartment and condo dwellers are unlikely to get a $300 electricity rebate

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Many Albertans who live in an apartment or condo are unlikely to benefit from the province’s extended electricity rebate.

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On Wednesday, the government announced that its scheduled $50 rebates, which are expected to appear on utility bills this month for more than 1.9 million homes, farms and businesses, will be extended through December, totaling 300 $ for individual consumers over six months.

However, in some apartment buildings and condominiums, where landlords, managers, or condo associations bill tenants by sub-metering for their individual utilities, residents are unlikely to see a dime of this discount.

On Thursday, Taylor Hides, press secretary to Associate Natural Gas and Power Minister Dale Nally, confirmed in an email to Postmedia residents who have sub-meter units will not be eligible for rebates.

“Only the primary site that connects directly to the distribution system and receives a bill from a regulated utility provider is eligible to receive the rebate, if it consumes less than 250 megawatt hours per year,” said Hides, who added that while every consumer will not be eligible for the rebate, this is just one of many programs the provincial government is putting in place to combat high energy prices, along with the tax exemption on gasoline from 13 cents per liter which began in April.

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“This decision was made due to the complexity of determining and granting these discounts. A bill-based program design was chosen as it was determined to be the most efficient and effective and to minimize consumer burden,” Hides said.

Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday that government assistance to consumers could total $2.3 billion.

Joel MacDonald, Specialist and CEO of RatesEnergy.casaid the regulations only cover specifically eligible retail consumers, and companies that underaccount for hundreds of individual residential units could exceed the 250 megawatt-hour cap anyway.

“A lot of people who are under-metered are in apartments, or it could even be low-income apartments, the people who potentially need it the most, may not be eligible,” MacDonald said.

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Although rates are currently not as high as they were during last summer’s heat wave, he said they are currently being pushed up by several other factors.

“We are seeing high electricity prices and expect higher prices in the future due to the conversion to more renewable energy sources as well as increased economic activity in Alberta, particularly in the oil and gas sector, which generates about 65% of our system demand,” said MacDonald, who stressed that Albertans, if they can, should try to get fixed rates rather than floating rates.

Historically, MacDonald said variable-rate consumers have been paying about six cents per kWh in Alberta for the past 20 years, while now they’re getting around 16 cents per kWh, so they’re seeing significantly higher bills than those with tariffs. fixed, resulting in variable bills across the province.

“So if you had a fixed price that you bought two years ago at six cents, that discount covers your entire commodity cost. If you were on the variable rate … at 13.5 cents, that discount only covers less than half the cost,” MacDonald said, based on February prices.

MacDonald said the price of natural gas is also a significant factor in the price of electricity, with every $1 per gigajoule increase in the price of natural gas costing a generator an additional 0.7 cents per kWh.

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Lora M. Andrew