Making utility bills more affordable

The Utilities Affordability Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, protects Alberta’s utility ratepayers with legislation to lower and stabilize local access fees.

Status: The Utilities Affordability Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, received Royal Assent on May 16, 2024
Ministry responsible: Affordability and Utilities


The Utilities Affordability Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, (formerly Bill 19) will help make utility costs more affordable and predictable across the province by ending the use of variable rates when setting local access fees for electricity and natural gas service distribution.

The act prohibits the use of variable market rates when setting local access fees, creating a standard framework across the province for how they are calculated by municipalities and regional service commissions. The changes also allow the Alberta Utilities Commission to provide oversight over all municipalities on how fees are calculated and applied.

The legislation also replaces the term “Regulated Rate Option” with “Rate of Last Resort”. By changing the name to the Rate of Last Resort, consumers will be able to better understand the rate they are paying and encourage them to find the best option for them.

Key changes

The Utilities Affordability Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, amends sections 45, 75, and 360 of the Municipal Government Act to clarify:

  • how the fees can be calculated, specifically, calculations cannot be based on variable costs of electricity or natural gas
  • the Alberta Utilities Commission has oversight over all agreements

The act amends the Electric Utilities Act (Section 139) and the Gas Utilities Act (Section 49) to:

  • align language and intent between the governing acts
  • clarify how pre-existing agreements operating outside of the new parameters are to be addressed

The act makes adjustments to the following acts to strike out “Regulated Rate Option” and substitute it with “Rate of Last Resort”:

  • Government Organization Act
  • Regulated Rate Option Stability Act
  • Electric Utilities Act
  • Alberta Utilities Commission Act

Next steps

Changes to local access fees come into force upon proclamation. Adjustments to the name “Regulated Rate Option” come into force January 1, 2025.