Electricity prices in Alberta more than doubled from a year earlier and hit a record high in July as a rebate program that had capped prices came to an end.
Prices for electricity in the oil-rich province rose an average of 128% in July from a year earlier, pushing power prices across Canada up 11.7% in the process, according to Statistics Canada.
The main reason for Alberta’s electricity price spike was the end of a provincial rebate program that was introduced in July 2022 and led to a 24% monthly drop in prices.
The rebate had capped electricity prices and kept them lower for consumers until they were phased out this year, said StatsCan.
Some economists also point to rapid population growth that has seen an influx of 200,000 immigrants in the province over the past year as contributing to the electricity price spike.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is relying on mass immigration to stave off economic decline and welcomed one million immigrants in 2022, about 20% of whom settled in Alberta.
The record population growth across Canada has addressed some labour issues, but it is straining Canada’s housing market and putting pressure on other infrastructure across the country, say some economists and opposition politicians.
Alberta relies on fossil fuels for 89% of its power supply.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a pause on wind and solar energy initiatives to review the use of agricultural and public lands for such energy generation projects.