Alberta Utilities Commission approves $31M ATCO fine, says in public interest

The Alberta Utilities Commission approved a proposed $31 million fine for ATCO Electric’s attempt to overcharge ratepayers for costs that should not have been incurred.

In April, ATCO electric agreed to pay the fine after a commission investigation found that it intentionally overpaid the First Nation team to do work on a new transmission.

It says ATCO Nor does it disclose the reason for the overpayment when it applies to be reimbursed by the bidders for the additional cost.

But in May, the Consumer Union of Alberta said the proposed settlement did not adequately compensate people in the province for the damages they suffered.

READ MORE: ATCO proposes fines for insufficiently padded rate claims, argues consumer group

The Commission said in its ruling that after careful consideration of the settlement, it was satisfied that its acceptance was in the public interest.

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The commission also said that the agreement would not make judicial administration bad.

“The Commission considers the settlement to be appropriate and reasonable, within a range of reasonable outcomes depending on the circumstances,” the ruling was announced Wednesday.

The settlement comes following an investigation into a complaint that ATCO Electric signed a sole contract in 2018 for the work needed for a transmission line to Jasper, Alta.

The deal says that’s partly because another Calgary-based ATCO subsidiary has an agreement with First Nation on projects, including work camps in the expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline.

The statement of fact said ATCO Electric feared that if it did not grant the Jasper contract to First Nation, it could back out of its agreement with ATCO Structures and Logistics. It is illegal for a regulated utility to benefit a company that is not regulated in this way.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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