Enmax CEO Gary Holden Thursday lashed out at provincial plans to push through a controversial power transmission scheme that would bypass any oversight.
But one Calgary alderman criticized the move, noting the city-owned utility shouldn’t be leading a public relations campaign against the province using what amounts to taxpayer dollars.
At an elaborate campaign launch aimed at scuttling Bill 50, which, if passed, will allow a series of multibillion-dollar transmission lines to be built with only ministerial approval, Holden said customers will bear the costs to ensure a handful of large companies profit.
“It’s like playing a sport without a referee — this is a downward spiral and we’ve got to stop it,” Holden said.
“When you ask for $8 billion and the same time, say ‘Oh, and by the way, we don’t want anyone to check our numbers,’ you’ve got to be very suspicious.”
The province wants to allow some of Alberta’s energy giants to move forward on six major transmission corridors without a public hearing or regulatory approval, a move Holden said could cost as much as $20 billion and make energy bills soar.
Holden said Enmax wants to ensure any talk of provincewide transmission lines includes public hearings and a third-party regulator to sign off on any plans.
The broadside, however, wasn’t well received by Ald. Ric McIver, who said the publicly owned utility shouldn’t be leading any political sorties, which may ultimately have repercussions for Calgary.
“There’s no question that this is a PR campaign that is being conducted by a company that is only barely arm’s length from city council,” said McIver, noting council members sit on its board of directors.
“If you go on the attack, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get hit back.”
Enmax is encouraging people to sign an online petition on its website to kill Bill 50.