It could be argued that few people, if any, truly understand power rates in Alberta and a graph released on social media recently might make you think that Drumheller is being unfairly charged, but a spokesman for ATCO Electric says not so.
Allan Gano is District Manager for the company responsible for taking care of the power lines for Drumheller.
"We're certainly concerned, as everyone is, about their electricity bills," he told Drum FM. "ATCO covers the north part of the province as well as east central, the area around Drumheller, and it's a rural system and maintenance does cost more. It's that simple, I guess."
The graph shows ATCO's average monthly distribution charge for residential customers is considerably higher than the province's other power distribution companies, Fortis, Enmax and Epcor.
"Because our service territory is so large and sparsely populated, we've got one kilometre of power line serves about three people on average, while in an urban centre it would be more like one kilometre of line serves about 65 people," Gano pointed out. "We've got two thirds of the province, primarily in the north and it's just a very large system, very rural."
Fortis services some communities in East Wheatland County, but Gano noted most of their area is more densely populated, and thus cheaper to service, than ATCO's. The company builds, operates and maintains approximately 11,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 69,000 kilometres of distribution lines serving 224,000 customers in northern and east central Alberta.
The Alberta Government is trying to fast track the change to renewable energy from coal fired and Gano conceded this will affect energy prices, but he noted that all power customers will share the increased cost.
"We've made efforts to bring down the costs and we continue to look for efficiencies all the time," he said. "We'll continue to do that in the hope to keep prices similar to what they are now. Everything seems to sneak up on us a bit, but we're working really hard on keeping things flat at least."