What is the history of Gas Alberta Inc?
In 1973, the government of Alberta passed legislation to extend gas service to towns, villages and farming communities, and to set up rural utilities as member-owned cooperatives. This legislation also established Gas Alberta, a division of Alberta Transportation and Utilities, to purchase and manage gas supplies on behalf of the rural utilities. Gas Alberta provided the expertise to contract with the various gas suppliers, and the ability to negotiate competitive rates based on the higher consolidated gas volumes. Gas suppliers negotiated with a single entity instead of many individual utilities, which simplified administrative activities for all parties.
In order to operate independently from the government, Gas Alberta Inc. was incorporated as a private company, and commenced operations on July 1, 1998. The Company remains the exclusive natural gas supplier to its 75 shareholders, comprised of gas co-ops, towns, villages, municipalities and First Nation gas utilities.
Where does Gas Alberta Inc. obtain its gas supply?
Our gas supply portfolio is designed using long-term and short-term contracts, spot gas, gas in storage, and purchases from utilities and gas producers. We also utilize an active hedging program to manage risks and prevent excessive gas costs. The length and type of gas supply contracts we use provide a reliable and cost-efficient supply of natural gas for our customers. The gas supply portfolio is very dynamic, and is modified according to the varying customer sales requirements and market price changes.
How does Gas Alberta Inc. set its rates?
Gas Alberta Inc. operates on a “non-profit basis”, similar to the Co-ops. We sell gas to our shareholders based on a forecasted pooled rate. Any differences of actual costs versus billed amounts are either recovered from, or returned to customers through revisions to the billing rates, or by refunds. Our billing rates are comprised of a gas cost component and a variable rate component. Gas cost rates are established for the summer period (April to October), and the winter period (November to March). The variable rate is set at the beginning of the year, and recovers our operating and corporate costs.
What other services does Gas Alberta Inc. provide?
In addition to securing and managing natural gas supplies, the Company provides operational assistance to customers for gas measurement and billing, meter station operations, contract negotiations, etc. We continually update shareholders on gas-related issues, using our newsletters and the Company website, and by attending shareholder meetings throughout Alberta. We also attend government and industry meetings, to represent our shareholders and promote their services.