The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has now approved the payment of $56 million by
TransAlta Corporation (TransAlta) as an appropriate sanction for
the finding that TransAlta had engaged in conduct
that did not support the fair, efficient and openly competitive
operation of Alberta's electricity market. We described the
AUC's findings in an earlier
As described in another earlier
post, the $56 million payment is the subject of a settlement
between TransAlta and the Alberta Market Surveillance Administrator
(MSA). The payment is comprised of disgorgement of economic
benefits ($27 million), penalty ($25 million) and payment of MSA
investigative costs ($4 million).
The settlement was presented to the AUC by the MSA and TransAlta
as part of a Consent Order. After determining that it has
jurisdiction to accept the Consent Order, the AUC then addressed
whether settlement is in the public interest. The AUC found that a
settlement or joint submission on an appropriate penalty should be
accepted as long as it falls within a range of acceptable outcomes
in the circumstances. It is not appropriate for the AUC to insist
upon an outcome that is identical to what it would have fashioned
itself. Taking that approach, the AUC found that the Consent Order
is in the public interest, and should be approved. In coming to
this conclusion, the AUC acknowledged that while the penalty part
of the payment ($25 million) is quite high, the seriousness of the
contraventions support such a penalty.
As explained in our earlier post, the $56 million payment will go to the
Alberta Government's general revenue fund. This is what the
Act requires. There will be no direct compensation for affected
consumers. It remains to be seen whether there will be any private
litigation, such as a class action, seeking consumer
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
In Bank of Montreal v Bumper Development Corporation Ltd, 2016 ABQB 363, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench enforced the "immediate replacement" provision in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen 2007 Operating Procedure...
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