WHEREAS in Alberta many community associations and non-profit organizations provide recreational facilities and other services to residents; and
WHEREAS the burden of calculating power rates using demand meters and charges is putting an ever-increasing stress on community associations and non-profit organizations; and
WHEREAS by eliminating or reducing the demand charges to these groups our community volunteers will be able to devote more effort into community programming and other community development initiatives without having to raise program fees or facility rental charges;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties lobby the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and power companies to investigate programs or options for managed electricity delivered to community associations, non-profit associations and municipal recreation facilities.
In Alberta many community associations and non-profit organizations provide recreational facilities and other services to residents. In large part these facilities are key contributors to the economic and social health of our communities. The burden of calculating power rates using demand meters and charges is putting an ever-increasing stress on community associations and non-profit organizations. In turn, this is forcing these associations and volunteers to look for additional funding from other sources including raising program fees and facility charges or approaching municipal government for additional funding.
By eliminating or reducing the demand charges to these groups our community volunteers will be able to devote more effort into community programming and other community development initiatives without having to raise program fees or facility rental charges. Volunteers in Alberta provide outstanding service to all Albertans and municipalities need to assist these volunteers in focusing their efforts in making our communities the best they can be.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Energy/Alberta Utilities Commission:
Demand meter charges, otherwise known as ‘ratchet rates’, reflect the costs incurred by distribution companies in order to have certain wire capacity availability to meet the highest level of demand of any given facility. This type of cost is set by highest level of demand even if the location does not pull that amount of power all the time. This is due to the fact a facility may, in the future, demand that level of power again and a distribution company must maintain the infrastructure to provide it. This level gets reset annually. If a consumer is concerned about this rate, a reset can be requested before the annual review takes place.
The AAMDC has requested that Alberta Energy look into reducing or removing demand meter charges for community and not-for-profit associations as well as municipal recreation facilities. Providing specific electricity consumers with an exemption from paying regulated costs creates unfair subsidization as these avoided costs must be paid for by other ratepayers.
The electricity distribution systems throughout the province are fully regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). The AAMDC may contact the AUC if they have concerns regarding how the rates are calculated or how the rates are applied to their specific electricity customers.
Culture and Community Services:
Alberta Culture and Community Services is committed to the Nonprofit/Voluntary Sector and the mutually shared goals of healthy and vibrant communities. The ministry offers a number of programs and services designed to increase the capacity of the sector including training, consultation and facilitation services to help nonprofit boards and organizations run more effectively and efficiently. Financial support is also available through various programs in this ministry that can be used to help meet these costs.
The ministry recognizes that demand meter charges are and have been an issue for community and nonprofit associations and municipal recreation facilities. The ministry supports exploration of options or programs to potentially address the issue of demand meter charges, while acknowledging that similar efforts have been made in the past, with little success.
The Ministry of Energy notes that any exemptions from paying regulated costs creates unfair subsidization as these avoided cost must be paid for by other ratepayers. With no indication given to meeting the intent of this resolution, the AAMDC finds the response unsatisfactory and will continue to pursue the issue through advocacy efforts. The AAMDC has raised this issue to Alberta Energy in the process of developing a protocol agreement, but are waiting on a response. In the meantime, AAMDC members can find increased predictability in energy pricing through the electricity and natural gas buying program through Aggregated Business Services.