Canada’s TransAlta reaches settlement agreement for price manipulation

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The TransAlta Corporation has reached a settlement with Alberta’s Market Surveillance Administrator to repay more than CAD$56 million for artificially inflating power bills.

According to a July finding by the Alberta Utilities Commission, TransAlta manipulated energy costs by shutting down six coal-fired generators during times of peak power demand in 2010 and 2011.

The shutdowns contributed close to $16 million to the company’s profits, while forcing consumers to pay between 10% and 60% more than normal for their electricity.

Under terms of its agreement with the Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA), TransAlta must now repay $56 million — “approximately $27 million of which will serve as a repayment of ‘economic benefit’, $4 million to cover the MSA’s legal and related costs, and a $25 million administrative penalty,” according to the company.

Terms of the agreement say TransAlta must make an initial $30 million payment within a month of the settlement being approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, with the remainder to be paid a year later.

Per provincial law, money recovered from TransAlta would be placed into Alberta’s general revenue fund.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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