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ATCO Electric agrees to $31 million penalty following regulator’s investigation –

EDMONTON — Regulated utility ATCO Electric has agreed to pay a $31 million administrative penalty after an Alberta Utilities Commission investigation found it deliberately overpaid a First Nation group for work on a new transmission line, and then failed to disclose the reasons for it when it applied to be reimbursed by ratepayers for the extra cost.

An agreed statement of facts contained in a settlement agreement between ATCO Electric Ltd. and the commission’s enforcement staff says the company sole-sourced a contract in 2018 for work that was necessary for an electric transmission line to Jasper, Alta.

The company that won the contract was co-owned by the Simpcw First Nation in Barriere, B.C. and the agreement says one of the reasons for the sole-sourcing was that another of Calgary-based ATCO’s subsidiaries had a prior deal with the First Nation for infrastructure projects that included the provision of work camps on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.

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