While the provincial government passed the controversial Bill 50 last week giving cabinet the authority to overturn any ruling by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) on the construction and placement of overhead electrical lines, property rights activist Joe Anglin said the fight is far from over.
The bill, which critics predict will see monthly electrical charges skyrocket for both residents and businesses, passed in the legislature Nov. 25 after plenty of opposition from its detractors, including Anglin’s Lavesta Area Group and the
United Power Transmission Area Groups (UPTAG) whose membership is also predominantly located in west-central Alberta.
“The complaint is, as the government has been advertising on the radio that we need these power lines, what occurred to me is that someone is lying, and we know that because in order to prove that there is a need for the transmission lines, the law requires the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) to bring forth an application to the board. The interesting thing is it isn’t optional for them. If there’s a threat to the system or the matter is urgent, then it’s all that more imperative that they bring that application forward now and not tomorrow, and they haven’t done that,” Anglin said the day before the bill was passed.
One of the biggest bones of contention for Anglin and others in opposition to the bill is what they see as creating a false urgency for the need of the transmission lines when none exists.
“The government is misleading the public and so is AESO,” Anglin said. They’re pretending there’s an urgency and they’re telling the public the lights are going to go out, but someone is flat-out lying. When you look at what the law requires if that really was a threat, nobody is following the law.”
Anglin said despite losing his opportunity to be heard at a hearing in front of the AUC with the passing of Bill 50, he still has a few trump cards up his sleeve and is more than willing to play them – whatever they may be.
“We’ve got a couple of issues and we know of a few things we can do and we’re talking to lawyers. We have a few cards to play and we’re not done. The end of the road is to change this government, otherwise we’ll always be in these battles,” Anglin said.
“While some people may think it’s okay to give up their rights arbitrarily, there are lots of other people, like myself, you don’t believe in it. This bill has a bit of a legacy to it. People will be reminded,” he said.
“They only need to look at their power bills today and see how much they’re being charged for transmission costs. Then, they need to ask themselves one simple question: if the investment in transmission is going to go up ten times, how is the transmission charge not going to go up ten times? And we still don’t have an answer to that question.”