Alberta Power Prices Spike as Province Again Urges Conservation

Alberta’s electric utility operator again urged the province’s citizens to conserve electricity as a combination of unseasonably warm weather and high demand caused a spike in power prices.

Posted pool prices for Alberta electricity spiked to the maximum C$999.99 (US$952.92) per megawatt hour at 1 p.m. local time from a low of C$18.70 earlier.

“Our province is currently in a supply shortfall situation,” Mike Law, the Alberta Electric System Operator’s vice president of operations said in a release. “We are utilizing reserves to meet demand requirements while we continue to provide a reliable electricity system to Albertans.”

Lack of wind for wind power and an outage on the inter-tie from British Columbia that provides Alberta with its largest source of imported electricity helped to reduce the supply of power, AESO said. Meanwhile higher-than-normal temperatures for this time of year increased demand for air conditioning.

Intra-day prices had spiked to the maximum yesterday and on Aug. 29, when AESO last appealed for a voluntary restriction on energy use.

Temperatures in Calgary in southern Alberta have been higher than normal over the last few days, reaching a high of 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) today, compared with a seasonal historical average of 19, according to Environment Canada.

Demand for power exceeded the operator’s forecasts for most of the day, with consumption exceeding the estimate by as much as 134 megawatts during the 1 p.m.-hour local time, according to AESO data.

Environment Canada expects maximum temperatures to cool into the mid-20s tomorrow and low-20s and teens through Saturday before returning to the mid-20s into next week.

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