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Alberta

 

Figure 6: Sample monthly residential gas bill – based on 7.37 GJ of consumption

Source: Utilities Consumer Advocate, ATCO Gas

Description:

Two area graphs show the breakdown of two possible residential natural gas bills from January 2008 to January 2018. The sample bills are for 7.37 GJ of consumption per month in the province of Alberta. The graphs shows the amount spent on four bill components: the carbon tax, the commodity price, variable charges, and fixed charges. One graph shows a sample bill for a customer receiving service from the default supply provider and ATCO Gas South. The second graph shows a sample bill for a customer receiving service from the default supply provider and ATCO Gas North.

For the example with ATCO Gas North:

The commodity price component has fluctuated, but decreased from $49.42 per month on January 2008, to $14.08 per month on January 2018.

The carbon tax component was $7.45 per month in January 2017, and increased to $11.18 per month on January 2018.

Variable charges have increased slowly. They increased from $7.89 per month in January 2008 to $13.49 per month in January 2018.

Fixed charges have increasing from $27.51 per month in January 2008 to $36.66 per month by January 2018.

For the example with ATCO Gas South:

The commodity price component has fluctuated, but decreased from $48.85 per month on January 2008 to $14.08 per month on January 2018.

The carbon tax component was $7.45 per month in January 2017, and increased to $11.18 per month on January 2018.

Variable charges have increased slowly. They increased from $6.74 per month in January 2008 to $12.76 per month in January 2018.

Fixed charges increased from $25.56 per month in January 2008 to $32.16 per month by January 2018.

Natural gas provider

Customers in Alberta can choose one of many natural gas retailers. Nine regulated rate companies and 35 competitive price companies operate as retailers Alberta. The default supply provider provides the most residential natural gas service, in terms of consumption. The default provider is either Direct Energy Regulated Services or AltaGas Utilities Inc. depending on the region. The default provider charges a regulated rate for the commodity price.

ATCO is the main local distribution company (LDC) in Alberta. The LDC owns and operates the distribution pipeline system. ATCO gas has different rates for a northern zone, which is most communities north of and including Red Deer, and a southern zone which is most communities south of Red Deer. AltaGas is the LDC for various other communities scattered across Alberta.

Commodity price

The default supply provider charges a regulated rate. This rate is approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) monthly. The regulated rate used to be different for the ATCO north and south regions, but in 2015 the rates were merged into a single rate. The commodity price component has fluctuated, but has generally decreased. In the ATCO north region, the rate was $49.42 per month ($6.71 per GJ) in January 2008, and in the south region it was $48.85 per month ($6.63 per GJ). The commodity price decreased to $14.08 per month ($1.91 per GJ) in January 2018 for both regions.

Carbon price

The carbon price in Alberta is part of the province’s carbon levy. The levy was $20 per tonne of CO2 equivalent starting in 2017 and increased to $30 per tonne in 2018. The carbon tax component on bills was $7.45 per month in January 2017 ($1.01 per GJ), and increased to $11.18 per month ($1.52 per GJ) on January 2018.

Variable charges

The variable component of an Alberta bill is comprised of the ‘transmission service charge rider T’ and a ‘variable energy charge.’ The transmission charge collects revenue to pay for the cost of moving gas from a market to the local distribution system. The revenue from the variable energy charge goes towards the cost of moving gas through the distribution system to households. Variable charges are different in the ATCO north and south regions because the distribution system in each region is different and the average distance gas has to move is different. For the northern region, variable charges increased from $7.89 per month ($1.07 per GJ) in January 2008 to $13.49 per month ($1.83 per GJ) in January 2018. For the southern region, variable charges increased from $6.74 per month ($0.91 per GJ) in January 2008 to $12.76 per month ($1.73 per GJ) in January 2018.

Fixed charges

Part of the revenue from fixed charges on an Alberta bill goes towards paying for system infrastructure owned by the distribution company, and part goes to the retailer for administration. Fixed charges are different in the ATCO north and south regions because the distribution system in each region has unique costs. For the northern region, fixed charges increased from $27.51 per month in January 2008 to $36.66 per month by January 2018. For the southern region, fixed charges increased from $25.56 per month in January 2008 to $32.16 per month by January 2018.

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