Lloydminster is entering into a new agreement with both ATCO Electric and Gas to keep providing services to residents.
The ATCO Electric and ATCO Gas Franchise Agreements have been in place since 2008 for a 10 year term and are now in a grace period for the City to decide to enter into a new agreement with the same company.
On Monday, City Council approved the gas agreement for a 12 year term rather than the proposed 10 year term. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says he suggested a longer term for the gas agreement because it would put council in midterm rather than in an election year.
“As a council that was elected a year and a half ago and basically all new we had a lot of learning to do. So the less you have to throw at a council to say you have to make this decision that’s critical because there is a contract that have to be met.”
On the other side, the ATCO Electric agreement will be in place for a 10 year term with an option to renew for five more years. Aalbers says the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) governs ATCO and will have to approve both contracts before going forward.
“It’s governed under the AUC so they say a minimum of 10 years, maximum of 20 years for both contracts so we’re working within the realms of the provincial commission that’s in place.”
There is a franchise fee for both agreements that council chose not to change from past agreements. For ATCO Electric the franchise fee is 11 per cent and for gas it’s 25 per cent. Councillor Jonathan Torresan says that the fees are seen on some bills as a right to access the utilities within the city.
“We have the option of charging these fees and putting them up a little bit or pulling them down a little bit, but we think it’s a fair fee and it’s fairly similar to what they’re charging in other municipalities within Alberta.”
The decision by council to approve both agreements is the start of the approval process with both ATCO and the AUC.