The battle between the energy companies and the Alberta Government is heating up as court action began on Monday, July 25.
Alberta is contending that the energy companies attempting to offload lost revenue onto consumers through a regulatory clause that was unlawfully enacted is not the responsibility of the public.
The 'Enron Clause' was lobbied by Enron, during the U.S. companies dissolution that was at the centre of numerous other controversies and questionable business practices.
“The previous government sold deregulated electricity as a way to transfer financial risk to the private sector in return for giving them the chance to earn greater profit," said Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier. "In secret, they did the opposite - setting up a system where consumers bear all the risk. Albertans should not be on the hook for these backroom deals.”
The estimated cost of the clause could cost upwards of $2 billion between now and 2020, when the PPA's are set to expire.
The Power Purchase Agreements (PPA's) were created in 2000 and took effect in 2001, in an effort to move Alberta’s electricity system from a regulated market to a competitive deregulated market.
Four energy companies are currently looking to terminate their PPA's early due to poor market conditions, in hopes of transferring their losses to a Balancing Pool that is wholly funded by residential and commercial electricity consumers.
To protect consumers, the Government of Alberta is looking to have the 'Enron Clause' deemed unlawful and void through court proceedings that, if successful, will return the PPA to Battle River 5.