In an effort to give Albertans some relief on their bills, the province will stop collecting the Alberta fuel tax and is introducing an electricity rebate, Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday.
Starting April 1, Albertans will be given a break of 13 cents a litre at the pump.
“We’ve heard Albertans’ concerns about the rising cost of living loud and clear,” Kenney said. “Stopping the provincial fuel tax puts money back in the pockets of Albertans when they need it most.
“For Albertans who are looking at the price of everything going up, from fruit and vegetables to fuel, this is real relief.”
The tax will be removed on a sliding scale, Kenney announced. When WTI oil is over US$90 per barrel, the tax will be removed. When the price is less than US$80 per barrel, the tax will be in “full effect.”
“That protects Alberta’s budget, it protects our fiscal health as a province because as those oil prices go up, so too do revenues to the provincial treasury,” Kenney said. “This is a fiscally responsible measure that will only provide this relief if the province is generating significantly generous revenues.”
The initiative will be put in place for the entirety of the 2022-23 fiscal year, but will be reassessed on July 1 and every quarter after that. It will also be reassessed before the government’s next budget.
The federal carbon tax is set to increase on April 1 from just under nine cents to just over 11 cents a litre.
“While the federal government is set to increase the carbon tax… Alberta’s government is taking the opposite approach and is stepping up to offer relief,’ Kenney said.
The province is also introducing a $150 electricity rebate to help Albertans with the high power bills they encountered this winter.
According to Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally, nearly two million Alberta families, farms and small businesses will receive three $50 rebates designed to retroactively target bills from January, February and March.
“If you pay an electricity bill, you will see this rebate on it. Most households, farms and small businesses are expected to be eligible.”
There will be no need to apply for the rebate, as it will be automatically applied to anyone who used few than 250 megawatts of electricity.
The government plans to introduce legislation in the spring to administer the rebate, but Kenney said it will take the province some time to get that money to Albertans since there are 45 different energy providers in the province.
“We’ll take action as soon as possible to introduce legislation and get this done,” he said.
The electricity rebate will combine with the natural gas rebate that was announced in the 2022 budget, the province said.
The change in gas tax and the two rebate programs don’t go far enough, the Opposition NDP said in a statement.
“Albertans are struggling right now. The cost of everything is going up, and many of these rising costs are a direct result of UCP policy,” energy critic Kathleen Ganley said. “The UCP’s latest plan falls well short of what’s needed and Albertans will continue to struggle with basic costs.”
“Enough with these fake rebates that will never help Albertans.”
According to the 2022 budget, Alberta was set to collect about $1.284 billion in the provincial gas tax.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.