Higher Electricity Prices Needed for Cleaner Power Production



    TORONTO, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - Canadians, all levels of government and industry
must pay to meet the desire for cleaner electricity, said EPCOR President and
CEO Don Lowry in a speech to 250 guests of the Ontario Energy Network today.
    "We can't conserve our way to a zero-emission future," said Lowry. "If we
want to maximize the role energy conservation can play, there is one very
powerful tool that needs to be used more effectively - that's the price
signal."
    Lowry says the first step is to stop subsidizing consumer power prices.
He says subsidies are expensive and lead to higher energy consumption. In
Ontario, the 2003 price freeze saw rates reduced to $1 billion below the
actual price for power. Ontario taxpayers are also paying more than $900
million a year to service the remaining $19 billion stranded nuclear debt.
    In Alberta household electricity consumption dropped by 10% in 2001 after
prices rose in line with a spike in natural gas prices.
    In addition to true cost pricing and government support will be required
to cover the cost of new technologies that will be required to meet planned
emissions targets.
    "We are not going to get the investment in cleaner technologies for free.
They are expensive and unless we all step up to pay through higher prices, the
race to develop new technologies will remain wishful thinking, or rhetoric
rather than reality," said Lowry. "To build demonstration plants with next
generation technologies, price hikes are needed to reflect the true cost of
electricity and governments need to support early stage commercialization of
emissions reduction technologies like CO(2) capture and sequestration."
    EPCOR recently signed a licence agreement with Siemens AG to provide
gasification technology for a proposed near-zero emission coal gasification
project at its Genesee Generating Station. The proposed 270 (net) megawatt
facility would be the first of its kind in the world. If subsequent investment
and construction decisions go as planned, the plant would be targeted to
commence operations in 2015. The project is expected to cost nearly
$2 billion.
    A complete text of Don Lowry's remarks can be found at www.epcor.ca
online.

    EPCOR Utilities Inc. builds, owns and operates power plants, electrical
transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment
facilities and infrastructure in Canada and the United States. EPCOR has been
named one of Canada's Top 100 employers for eight consecutive years, and one
of only 10 companies to be selected as Canada's Most Earth-Friendly Employers.
EPCOR is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. EPCOR's website is www.epcor.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Mike Long, EPCOR Corporate Relations, (780)
969-8246

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EPCOR Utilities Inc.

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