Uncertainty in Alberta’s electricity marketplace has arisen as a result of conflicting guidance and guidelines by the MSA; guidance and guidelines that have changed over time and been applied retroactively and inconsistently among market participants.
“On Friday, February 21, we made the decision to file a complaint with the AUC about the conduct of the MSA. We took all possible measures afforded us over the past three years before taking this step. We fully support the electricity market in Alberta and advocate for clarity in rules and regulatory guidance,” said John Kousinioris, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer for TransAlta. “TransAlta has a long history of working with all stakeholders to advance regulatory regimes to ensure fair and consistent rules are in place that protect consumers and market participants. TransAlta is also committed to protecting the rights of our employees and the reputation of our company when we believe unfair treatment has occurred,” said Kousinioris.
The complaint was filed under Section 58 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act (AUCA). TransAlta took this action because the MSA (i) reneged on pursuing a promised formal stakeholder review process into offer behaviour for generating units subject to power purchase arrangements and (ii) attempted to regulate offer behaviour retroactively, while at the same time investigating TransAlta in an aggressive and prolonged manner, without clear rules having been established. We do not believe the MSA has followed due process in its role as the market monitor in Alberta.
At issue are the market guidelines the MSA developed which failed to establish the permissible decisions market participants can make on their operating units. “Our role in Alberta is to generate power at a competitive price for the customers that purchase our power,” said Kousinioris. “We want to reassure Albertans that the plant outages at the heart of the MSA’s allegations were all necessary. Unplanned outages for maintenance and repairs are only taken by TransAlta when required to ensure the continued safe operation of our plants and the safety of our employees.”
TransAlta believes that it has been cooperative in the MSA’s investigatory process and in seeking a resolution. We have filed the complaint in order to seek a fair process and an unbiased regulatory ruling from the AUC to support a strong electricity system.
“The MSA’s actions have impacted our ability to manage our business and to serve Albertans and the province,” said Kousinioris. “Ambiguities and inconsistencies in the market do not serve Alberta well. We are asking for clear rules developed through a proper process that ensures a level playing field.”