Electricity costs have doubled in Alberta from the same time period in 2022, hitting a new record high for the country. Prices have gone up by 128% in the province, driving an 11.7% increase throughout the country, according to Statistics Canada

StatsCan said the high costs are in part due to the hot summer Alberta faced this year, which led to residents consuming more than usual. In addition to the heat, a provincial rebate that was implemented in July of 2022 saw prices drop by 24.4% at the time. However, the rebate ended this past Spring, bringing costs to consumers back up again. 

National Bank of Canada Economist Stegace Marion said he believes it’s the province’s rapidly growing population that is the cause for the increase in costs, not the weather.

“There is much more than a base-year effect at play,” said Marion in a report. “Alberta’s electricity demand reflects not only the summer heat, but also record population growth. Looking ahead, we don’t see much respite for Albertans, given the federal government’s policy decision to decarbonize the electricity grid relatively quickly.”

Alberta has seen a 5% increase in their total population over the last year with around 200,000 newcomers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has raised taxes on fossil fuels with plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for all electricity generation by 2035 however, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has vowed to “never” implement these federal regulations. 

“We will never allow these regulations to be implemented here, full stop,” said Smith. “If it comes down to it, we are going to do our own thing. We have to.” 

Smith argues that the Trudeau government’s timeline for their target goals is too costly and could cause the province to have blackouts. The plan to have a net zero grid by 2050 is estimated to cost as much as $400 billion dollars. 

Alberta has the largest oil and gas sector in the country and it generates about 89% of the province’s power. 

All wind and solar projects in Alberta have been halted by Smith for the next seven months as the provincial government determines whether their existing base-load power supply will be capable of handling Albertan’s needs in the event of a power outage from wind and solar. 

“The Alberta Electric System Operator asked for us to do a pause to make sure that we could address issues of stability of the grid,” said Smith, adding, “The Alberta Utilities Commission asked us to do a pause while we figured out how we could deal with end of life reclamation.”

Smith’s government is also using the pause to review the effects these projects will have on agricultural and public lands.