Unlike most electrical markets in North America, Alberta transformed its electrical market from traditional deregulation to a market based system in 1996. Today there are three types of electricity market players: generators of electricity (17), transmission grid operators (16), competitive retailers servicing residence and small business (34), and wholesaler retailers servicing large industry (8). Alberta’s electricity market is unique in Canada. Its wholesale and retail markets are open to competition, while its transmission and distribution wires businesses are regulated. All Players work with a framework that is administered by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) which facilitates competitive power markets and open access to the electrical grid.
There is also an independent Market Surveillance Administrator who ensures that Alberta’s Electrical Market is fair, efficient and competitive.
The industry framework is guided by the following legislation and supporting government policies, which define the roles of agencies such as the AESO, Balancing Pool, AUC and MSA for the development, operation and management of the markets and transmission infrastructure, as well as surveillance over behaviour.
The AESO provides the function of the Independent System Operator, and is tasked with providing for the safe, reliable and economic operation of the Alberta Interconnected Electric System (AIES) and promoting a fair, efficient and openly competitive market for electricity.
The Balancing Pool manages the PPA auction proceeds on behalf of consumers, and acts to backstop certain risks inherent in the PPAs.
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has evolved from the former Electric Utilities Board (EUB) to provide adjudication on ISO rules, transmission applications, penalties and any other related market challenges.
The Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA) provides the surveillance function for the market. While the AESO has a role to collect information and recommend areas for evaluation, only the MSA can recommend penalties or fines to the AUC.
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) manages and operates the provincial power grid.
They are a not-for-profit organization with no financial investment in the industry. On behalf of Albertans, they work with industry partners and the government to make sure reliable power is there when you need it.
A Snapshot of Alberta’s Power
AESO manages the entire system by balancing the supply of electricity with what’s needed. Along with our industry partners, they facilitate the market where generators sell power to meet Alberta’s energy needs. The electricity from generators, such as power plants and wind farms, travels through transmission lines and into homes and businesses across the province.
Only registered pool participants can buy and sell electricity in the Alberta wholesale market. Therefore, all retailers must become a pool participant with the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)
What is a Retailer?
A retailer is a person or company who sells or provides retail electricity services. Retailers buy electricity from the wholesale market and sell to their own customers.
The company purchases power from Alberta’s power producers at wholesale rates and sells it to their customers at retail rates. Switching to 7th Generation Power will not cost any more as the retail rates the Company provides to customers are the same as what they are today. So why switch?
As a majority owned aboriginal company in Alberta, 7th Generation Power directly supports First Nations communities. Large industrial consumers of electricity in Alberta likely have Impact Benefit Agreements with the First Nations or an obligation to support First Nations with their projects either through financial offsets, employment of indigenous workers, or through the provision of infrastructure to support the First Nations communities in the project area. By purchasing electricity from 7th Generation Power, large industrial electricity consumers will directly benefit First Nations communities and can meet their obligations and IBA commitments.