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Gaslighting with natural gas

One of the most-often The provincial government has been touting the natural gas rebate as a weapon in their arsenal to reduce hurt caused to Albertans as utility prices increase.

"The natural gas rebate and other supports remain in place to help consumers as natural gas rates decline in February."

That was the heading in the most recent provincial press release, issued to Alberta media last Thursday, as Albertans continue to struggle with rising utility costs.

"Oh good," you might say.  "Thank goodness my government is keeping this program to help me reduce these costs."

And that's just what they want Albertans to think. The facts, however, make the government's continuing assurances to use the rebate program little more than hot air. Appropriately, the province's constant references to his rebate program is gas-lighting — creating a narrative based on little wisps of facts quilted into a story they want residents to believe.

While it is true the Natural Gas Rebate program is in place to help offset costs to Albertans once their natural gas rates rise higher than $6.50 per gigajoule — it's also true that the price trigger has only been reached twice in the last 15 years. The program was used only once in 2022 — for the month of June when wholesale prices hit $6.53 according to the the Government of Alberta's own graphs.  That rebate worked out to a savings of three cents for every gigajoule used in an Alberta household for the month of June — equating to a rebate of about 45 cents.  Before that one time, this great piece of highly-touted shielding — this program that is praised by the province as a safety net they have in place for their deserving electorate — was last used in September of 2008.

The same news release highlighted another pat-on-the back statement by the provincial government. They say: "Alberta’s government continues to deliver real relief to help people pay their utility bills. More than 1.9 million homes, families and small businesses will receive another $75 electricity rebate in February..."

We ask: Is that 1.9 million homes? 1.9 million families, or 1.9 million small businesses? Poorly worded at the least, misdirection at worst. And as for the continuing $75 electricity rebate? We advise residents to check their last few power bills. Several residents who Lakeland This Week checked with could only find $50 rebates on their last bills. 

They say: Look how good we are. Look what we are giving you. Look what we are doing for you. We say: Unfortunately we did.


Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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