Almost two million Albertans will receive rebates on their electricity bills starting in July to help them manage high electricity costs.
The province says its $300-million rebate program will help alleviate some of the high utility costs that many families and businesses have faced in recent months.
“We are providing targeted support to help hard-working Albertans deal with the rising cost of living. These rebates, combined with the fuel tax exemption and upcoming natural gas rebate, will help the large majority of Alberta households pay their bills while we make the long-term changes needed to make energy more affordable in the years ahead,” said Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally in a statement.
Albertans currently connected to the system that have consumed electricity within the past calendar year, up to a maximum of 250 megawatt hours per year, are automatically eligible for the rebates.
Support will reach more than 1.9 million Albertans, which means that most farms, residences and small businesses will receive the rebates.
Eligible Albertans can expect to see an automatic $50 rebate on their bills. It is being applied directly to eligible utility bills, meaning no application or other action is needed to start receiving the rebate in July.
Unlike the previous government’s electricity rate cap, the $50 rebates will apply to the entire bill, not just the energy portion. In addition, the $50 rebates will be on all eligible bills – protecting consumers on the variable regulated rate option as well as those on competitive contracts.
Consumers wishing to protect themselves from price volatility may enter into a competitive fixed-rate contract and still be eligible for the $50 rebates. Albertans can visit the Utility Consumer Advocate to see what products are available in their area.
The rebate will be listed on each bill as a line item titled “GOA Utility Commodity Rebate,” and $50 rebates will follow in August and September, for a total of $150. Exact timing will vary depending on the billing cycle of one’s utility provider.
Consumers who believe they meet the eligibility criteria, but have not received the rebates by the end of July, should contact the Utility Consumer Advocate.
The province says details on the natural gas rebate, which will be available starting in October, will be announced soon.
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley called the $50 a month rebate “too little too late,” and Albertans are still haven’t received the natural gas rebates promised in February.
“It’s been more than three months since Travis Toews promised them and even more since they were needed. That’s months of punishing bills that soared by hundreds of dollars above what Albertans paid last year,” Ganley said.
She said the UPC deliberately removed electricity rate and vehicle insurance caps, won’t fund post-secondaries adequately to stop tuition hikes, cut Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding causing property tax hikes, and more so Albertans face higher costs.
“There is an enormous amount that we as provincially elected representatives could be doing for the people of Alberta right now.”