Notley’s lawsuit to stop power companies from leaving contracts ‘could be a Monty Python script’ – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – July 28, 2016)

The Alberta government’s clumsy attempt this week to protect consumers – i.e. increasingly hostile voters — from the consequences of its aggressive climate change policy is backfiring, with the NDP getting blowback the size of a Chinook for not knowing the terms of its own 16-year-old power contracts, then suing to dodge the costs.

The province’s attorney general filed a bizarre lawsuit Monday to stop power companies – including utilities owned or partially owned by Alberta’s two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton – from backing out of power contracts made less profitable by Alberta’s increased carbon costs.

The lawsuit also strangely targets its own regulatory agency, the Alberta Utilities Commission, for “unlawfully” agreeing to terms in 2000 that allowed termination of so-called Power Purchase Arrangements “if a change in law renders the PPA unprofitable, or more unprofitable.”

Strangely, Rachel Notley’s NDP government claims it wasn’t aware of the out clause until recently. The actual announcement of the lawsuit was even more bizarre.

In it, the provincial government said the exit clause was “lobbied for by Enron – a discredited and now bankrupt U.S. electricity operator at the centre of numerous other controversies and questionable business practices” and secretly accepted by the previous (Tory) government so the private sector could “earn greater profit ” — as if pointing the finger at long-dead Enron, or the previous government, or profit-seeking companies, somehow bolsters its credibility.

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