Alberta government to review power lines

Premier Alison Redford has instructed her energy minister to conduct a thorough review of two controversial northsouth electricity transmission lines and their long-term economic benefit to the province. However, the premier’s words didn’t pacify opposition MLAs, who say politics shouldn’t enter into decisions about major infrastructure projects that will cut across huge swaths of the province and cost consumers billions of dollars.

Redford, speaking to reporters on the first day of the fall legislature sitting, didn’t give a timeline for Energy Minister Ted Morton’s examination of the proposed lines, but said Monday it would move quickly.

“I do want to ask for a review – and I’ve asked the minister of energy to put some terms together to do that – to see whether or not what we’re talking about makes economic sense,” Redford said in Edmonton.

“That’s going to take into account the cost to household consumers, to industrial consumers, to what our timeline is for economic development across the province and in northern Alberta.”

By getting Morton to review its approach to the two north-south lines, Redford has enacted a major shift in Conservative government policy. In 2009, the two lines were placed on a list of “critical” projects, with the Stelmach government warning of brownouts and service disruption if they weren’t constructed.

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