In its monthly Consumer Price Index Report, Statistics Canada noted that the astronomical surge in Alberta's electricity prices in July was one of the key drivers in pushing electrical prices nationwide higher.
The report stated that electricity prices rose at a faster pace year over year in July 2023 (+11.7 per cent) than in June (+5.8 per cent).
"This acceleration was mostly due to a 127.8 per cent increase in Albertan electricity prices, which can be volatile, amid high summer demand. In the early months of the year, when demand was last this high, provincial rebates and a price cap kept prices lower for consumers. These policy interventions were gradually phased out and ended in spring 2023."
Statistics Canada added that a base-year effect also contributed to the increase.
"When the provincial rebate program was introduced in July 2022, prices fell 24.4 per cent month over month. This decrease is no longer impacting the 12-month movement, putting upward pressure on the year-over-year figure."
The increase in electricity prices in Alberta was signalled last month when numerous electricity companies in the province announced that rates in August would be some of the highest in the province's history.
When Direct Energy announced its default electric rates for August, they noted that the energy rate for August was approximately 22 per cent higher than the energy rate charged in July, meaning that a typical residential customer consuming 600 kWh per month would see approximately a $32.80 or 9 per cent increase in the total amount of their bill compared to last month.
In July, when they announced their rates, Direct Energy noted that July's rates were approximately 51 per cent higher than the energy rate charged in June. This meant that from June to July, a typical residential customer consuming 600 kWh per month would see approximately a $58.94 or 20 per cent increase in the total amount of their bill compared to the previous month.
Albertans are being urged to 'shop around' for the best deals on electric rates. The Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) offers tools to help consumers compare and contrast rates on utilities from different companies which could save them money.
Overall, The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.3 per cent year over year in July, following a 2.8 per cent increase in June. The mortgage interest cost index (+30.6 per cent) posted another record year-over-year gain and remained the largest contributor to headline inflation.
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