A new bill introduced in the Alberta legislature Wednesday would open up participation in the province’s power grid, allowing companies to self-supply unlimited amounts of power and sell excess amounts to the grid for consumer use.
If passed, Bill 86, the Electricity Statutes Amendment Act, would change existing laws and regulations that govern energy storage, sale, and transmission in Alberta.
Currently, self-supply and export is not allowed in the province except in four specific scenarios including at designated industrial sites and in the case of municipalities generating their own power.
“This would allow all companies that want to produce electricity for their own use, as well as sell it back to the marketplace, to participate,” Dale Nally, associate minister of natural gas and electricity, said at a news conference Wednesday.
“Industry is asking for this and we want to be able to provide this investor certainty in this space in the electricity marketplace,” Nally said, calling the current system “very restricted.”
The companies would also be able to draw from the province’s power grid when needed. The government said the bill would allow for all forms of electricity generation.
Bill 86 would encourage other forms of energy storage — the ability to keep excess electricity for later use — like battery storage systems which could help deal with the “intermittency” of renewable energy, decrease carbon emissions, and improve the reliability of the power grid, Nally said
Eventually, the proposed changes would lower prices for consumers, he said.
“Businesses, using energy storage, could purchase cheap electricity at night, sell it back into the marketplace during the day,” Nally said. “And it is this type of increased competition and increased choice that will bring down the cost of electricity in this province.”
Would incorporate new technologies
Under the bill, the new self-suppliers and sellers would have to meet public health and safety requirements on generators, as well as rules around participation in Alberta’s power pool.
These companies would have to pay an “appropriate tariff,” Nally said, that would ensure they couldn’t bypass transmission costs and drive up prices for consumers. The Alberta Electric System Operator would set that tariff.
Bill 86 further proposes establishing a framework to help modernize Alberta’s electricity distribution system. Nally said this would help the province accommodate new technologies that aren’t covered in existing legislation, like electric vehicle charging and residential solar power generation.
More electric vehicles are becoming capable of powering buildings and the power grid through “bidirectional charging,” in which they discharge power from their batteries when plugged in.
In a report released in February, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) said emerging technologies are affecting the supply and demand of electricity, “creating new avenues for customers to potentially bypass utility service and the associated tariff changes.
“This not only creates competitive pressures where none existed before, but also raises questions about the future viability of electric utilities and the role of regulation during a period of significant industry transformation,” the report said.
The AUC warned that some consumers, large and small, were considering battery storage, “bringing the prospect of independence from the grid closer to reality.”
In an emailed statement, NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley said the legislation does nothing to help utility bills in the short term.
“We support adding more energy storage to the grid and have been consulting through our Alberta’s Future project on ways we can achieve a net-zero grid by 2035 while creating 60,000 jobs,” she said. ” We will continue to consult with Albertans and will be closely watching the implementation of this bill to ensure Albertans are not faced with even higher utility bills under the UCP government.”
Tentative deal between union workers and beef producer Cargill struck | CTV News – CTV News Calgary
With less than a week to go before workers were set to go on strike at Cargill’s High River, Alta. beef processing plant, the company says a tentative deal has been reached.
The company announced the development on Wednesday and says it is “encouraged by the outcome” of recent talks.
“After a long day of collaborative discussion, we reached an agreement on an offer that the bargaining committee will recommend to its members. The offer is comprehensive and fair and includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits,” Cargill wrote in a statement to CTV News via email.
The company adds it also “remains optimistic” a deal can be finalized before the strike deadline.
“(We) encourage employees to vote on this offer which recognizes the important role they play in Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” it wrote.
The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 401 was expected to go on strike on Dec. 6.
It rejected the most recent attempt at a deal on Nov. 25 by a 98 per cent margin.
According to a statement from UFCW Local 401, the negotiating team engaged in “a marathon day” of talks with the company on Tuesday.
“Late in the evening, our bargaining committee concluded that they were in receipt of a fair offer and that they were prepared to present that offer to their coworkers with a recommendation of acceptance,” it wrote in a statement.
The union says the tentative deal will “significantly improve” the lives of Cargill workers and will be the ‘best food processing contract in Canada.”
Highlights from the deal include:
- $4,200 in retroactive pay for many employees;
- $1,000 signing bonus;
- $1,000 COVID-19 bonus;
- More than $6,000 total bonuses for workers three weeks before Christmas;
- $5 wage increase for many employees;
- Improved health benefits; and
- Provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace
While UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse calls the deal “fair,” he will support workers on the picket line if they decide to reject the proposal.
“If they do accept it, I’ll work with them every day to make Cargill a better workplace,” Hesse said in a statement. “I will do as our members ask me to do.
“I respect all of the emotions that they feel and the suffering that they have experienced.”
Employees are expected the vote on the new deal between Dec. 2 and 4.
Afterpay delays vote on $29 billion buyout as Square awaits Spain’s nod
Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc’s $29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.
The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.
The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia‘s biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.
“We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.
Afterpay shares fell more than 6%, far underperforming the broader Australian market, tracking Square’s 6.6% drop overnight in U.S. market on worries over the Omicron variant.
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian, Sameer Manekar and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)
Canada Goose under fresh fire in China over no-return policies
China’s top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against “bullying” customers in China with its return policies, just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising.
The premium down jacket manufacturer has been a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11,400 yuan ($1,790.17) after finding quality issues.
She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.
State-backed media such as the Global Times newspaper later cited Canada Goose as denying that it had a no-refund policy and that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were refundable in line with Chinese laws. The company did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
That has not failed to quell criticism of the brand.
“No brand has any privileges in front of consumers,” the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.
“If you don’t do what you say, regard yourself as a big brand, behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending and bully customers, you will for sure lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market,” the CCA said.
Representatives of the brand were summoned for talks on Wednesday by the Shanghai Consumer Council to explain its refund policy in China.
The dressing down of Canada Goose comes as tension between China and Western countries has fuelled patriotism and driven some shoppers to turn to home-grown labels.
Canada Goose was also fined 450,000 yuan in September in China for “misleading” consumers in its ads.
($1 = 6.3681 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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