Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK
And that's not sitting well with Alberta's NDP leader.
"Right now consumers are being gouged in the province of Alberta and the government does not care," the NDP's Brian Mason said Wednesday.
As of Jan. 1, EPCOR Utilities customers -- under the regulated rate option -- will pay more than 15 cents per kilowatt hour, a move that has sparked the ire of Alberta's NDP.
Mason said the deregulated market has driven countless consumers to long-term fixed rate contracts, however, the current state of the market allows drastic swings in price change for those who opt out.
"It's a system which is designed to put money into the pockets of the power companies at the expense of the consumers," he said.
The electricity market was officially deregulated Dec. 1, 2001.
Alberta Energy spokesperson Robyn Hanson said the deregulated market ensures costs aren't downloaded onto future generations of Albertans.
"In other provinces, debt is carried on for future generations to pay ... for things like transmission generation," Hanson said.
"In Alberta, the industry is responsible for that and that's why deregulation is a better option."
Under a regulated system, the lowest-ever rate was 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour -- a far cry from the 15.2-cent January estimate.
Because of changes to daylight savings time and more high-tech household gadgets following the Christmas holiday, a series of generator outages have pushed the price to it's record standing.
"We have to buy power on an open market and we pay whatever price that market demands, and then we turn around and charge that price to the regulated rate option customer," EPCOR spokesman Tim le Riche said, adding that the average regulated rate option for the past three years has been close to eight cents per kilowatt hour.
le Riche said that the regulated rate option for February will start a downward price trend that will continue into March.
"The early indications are that the regulated rate option may be heading downward very soon," he said.
On average, Albertans use about 600 kilowatt hours per month.