All posts by Burst Energy

Better Late Than Never – Albertans Anticipate Energy Rebates as Inflation Spikes

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As spring led into summer, Albertans were left wondering what would come of Kenny’s promises to offer consumer rebates to offset the challenges felt by residences and businesses across the province in January, February and March. Among other financial stressors such as inflation, increased taxation, and the holiday season, many Albertans were taken aback when extreme temperatures led to utility bills that were far beyond the scope of affordability.

Legislative Changes

Previously, the Natural Gas Price Protection Act prevented electricity rebates from being offered to Albertans. The Utility Commodity Rebate Act has now repealed the Natural Gas Price Protection Act, allowing gas and electricity relief to be offered to 1.9 million Albertans.

After much administration and planning, the Government of Alberta has implemented the rebate program for residents, farms, and small businesses, who can expect to see their first credits on July’s energy bill.

Better Late Than Never

With almost 2 million eligible accounts, the process was time consuming – but the resulting rebate process is simple and automatic for consumers. The rebate was intended to begin in July and continue for three months, providing relief until the end of September, but has since been extended by an additional three months – offering subsidy to electricity customers through December, 2022.

If you are an electricity consumer who receives a bill in your name, the rebate will be automatically applied to your account, showing as a credit on your monthly bill. This program is for utility customers who use less than 250 megawatt hours per year. Additional exceptions and regulations can be found on the government of Alberta’s website at www.alberta.ca

Your credit will be applied to your account in increments of $50.00 per month over a six-month period, ending with your December usage bill. To find this on your bill, look for the item listed as: GOA Utility Commodity Rebate”.

If you do not see a rebate on your July bill and you believe that you are eligible, contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate at :780-310-4822 (In Alberta) or 780-644-5130(Outside Alberta).

What About Gas?

Heating rebates were also promised as part of our government’s budget for the year, but details were scarce until this point. The government has taken a subsidizing approach, announcing that if the price of gas goes over $6.50 /GJ at ATCO North, ATCO South or Apex Utilities, it will pay the difference for the consumer – provided that they are billed by a natural gas retailer and use less than 2500 GJ of fuel annually. Farmers and other consumers who use alternative fuels for heating (like kerosene and propane) may be eligible for the rebate but will need to undergo a separate application process. Further details will be posted as they become available at: www.alberta.ca

This program will begin October 1, 2022 and end March 31, 2023.

Going Forward

With the influence of COVID-19 Our new reality, whether we like it or not, is that many households now have someone at home throughout the day. With so many residents now working from home, and many others deciding to stay home with their young children, there is more demand on our utility systems. Where, at one time, thermostats could be dropped significantly during the day when no one was home, we now require more heat for longer periods. Still, there are ways for us to reduce our utility usage – and time to accomplish it before winter!

Weather Stripping – Drafts around windows and doors can decrease heating efficiency in the home and should be blocked with weather stripping, silicone or spray foam to prevent heat loss when it’s cold.

Insulationwww.energy.gov provides a detailed outline of where to insulate a home and what materials to use. They recommend assessing and improving your home’s insulation in:

  • Attics
  • Ducting
  • Cathedral Ceilings
  • Exterior Walls
  • Basements
  • Foundations and Crawlspaces
  • Slab-on-grade

Furnace Filters – Is your furnace filter filtering more than it needs to? Unless you have a reason to use a high-quality filter, your furnace may be working unnecessarily hard to circulate the air in your home.

Lifestyle – If you regularly keep your home at 22 or 23 degrees, consider decreasing your ambient temperature. Get the family involved by encouraging everyone to wear an extra sweater to decrease the heating demands in your home.

The Little Things – Small changes like hanging more clothes to dry, putting ceiling fans on reverse to circulate the rising heat, and plugging in your car only for as long as needed (or 3 hours before drive-time) don’t require much effort but do make a difference.

Energy Retailer – Are you certain that you’re getting the best rate on your electric and natural gas usage? Go to www.burstenergy.ca to get a complimentary bill review and quote or view our posted rates for up-to-date pricing.

Alberta Utility Agencies Working for You

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The history of utilities in Alberta demonstrates just how important these utilities have become in our daily lives. In the case of electricity, for example, every area of industry would be negatively affected by a power failure of any significant duration. Schools could be lit by sunlight and homes with lanterns, but what about hospitals? Modern residential homes are not equipped for year-round living in the north without the utilities that protect their internal infrastructure from freezing.

The practical benefits of artificial lighting extended the workday and alleviated the health concerns associated with breathing their smoky by-product, but its impact was so much greater than that. Along with rail systems, telecommunications and natural gas, electricity played a major role in facilitating the development of a newer, modern form of economy with reliable utility access and a new way of life for Albertans.

In 1915, Albertans began to insist that their governments guarantee access to utilities because utility accessibility, as it was, was fraught with problems. Refusal of service, overcharges and inconsistency in consumer treatment was a problem that had risen as a result of utility monopolies, and the people wanted protection from their predatory and opportunistic leanings. The solution? The Board of Public Utilities was created using the Board of Railway Commissioners, in place since 1905, as a design influence.

The responsibilities of the Board of Public Utilities became a mix of judicial, administrative and legislative scope, and provinces across Canada were adopting semi-judicial regulators simultaneously. By 1948, both electricity and telecommunications were made crown corporations in many provinces and a plebiscite was held to let Albertans decide whether to accept a similar fate for their own electrical utilities. By a narrow margin, the proposal to make the change to a crown corporation was rejected.

Fast forward to 1996 – the Electric Utilities Act was instituted by the Alberta government, allowing it to deregulate electricity. For the purposes of oversight, five agencies were created with a view to add a regulatory component to this market-based system.

Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

The AESO is an independent not-for-profit agency with no ownership of any assets, but it does oversee the Alberta Interconnected Electric System and Balancing Pool. The AESO works with involved parties such as retailers, generators and transmission facilities (like ATCO, and EPCOR) but does not have any punitive authority.

Balancing Pool

The Balancing Pool was created to predict profit and revenue, determine policies, and to determine the level of authority that the AESO has. The Balancing Pool implemented the concept of the ‘power pool’ to represent the wholesale price of power based on their lowest commodity price combined with current demand. All energy that is bought and sold in Alberta is processed through the power pool. Commodity pricing is evaluated on a minute-by-minute basis and updates to pricing occur hourly.

Alberta Utilities Commission

The AUC regulates distribution and transmission of utilities and determines the rules and regulations that will govern the electricity market. They replaced the Electricity Utilities Board, and when they did so, a Regular Rate Option was introduced. The RRO is the wholesale cost of utilities and there are 5 RRO providers in Alberta.

Market Surveillance Administrator

The Market Surveillance Administrator of Alberta is responsible for ensuring oversight of the electricity market and ensures that the market remains competitive. The MSA also has punitive authority over the entities that it surveils.

Utilities Consumer Advocate

Perhaps the most important agency from a consumer standpoint is the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA). The UCA first began in 2006 to offer education, mediation and advocacy to Alberta’s utility consumers including: small businesses, residential consumers, and farms. The agency is mandated to provide services to end-users related to water, power and/or natural gas.

The UCA is your one-stop-shop for all your questions about everything from how to lodge a dispute to how to connect services in your new home. We are proud to be featured on the UCA website for our competitive pricing, and we welcome new Burst members who found us there.

Agencies like the UCA put customers first where their utilities are concerned. Customers in financial distress or who need reconnection to services can go to the UCA website to gather resources and next steps. When a dispute arises, the UCA may provide mediation services or, if concerns of a broader nature are identified, the UCA may speak on your behalf at a hearing or forum – both of which are publicly accessible on their website at: ucahelps.alberta.ca

Burst is proud to be among those recognized on the UCA website and we continue to stick to our promise to keep utilities simple. Do you know someone who would like to start saving on their monthly utility bills? See www.burstenergy.ca for up-to-date pricing information and get a free utility quote.

Claresholm Solar Project Realised

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Just 125 kilometers south of Calgary in the municipality of Willow Creek, 1,280 acres of land is being put to use in a new kind of farming venture — solar energy farming.

Following the project’s 2019 approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission, a signed credit agreement in July 2020 marked the true beginning of Alberta’s most ambitious green energy project in the province’s history. The agreement, shared among ATB Financial, Fiera Infrastructure Private Debt Fund LP, and Telus Pensions Liability Hedging Master Trust, allocated up to $115 million of funds to this $200 million project.

For its part, the 132 MWac (AC capacity) state-of-the-art undertaking was set to offer more than 300 full-time employment opportunities throughout its 18-month construction period and will benefit the community through its long-term property tax input. The project’s territory covers eight quarter-sections of land, or 1,280 acres, making it the largest of its kind in Alberta.

Owned by the longstanding Granum Hutterite Colony, the land will make it possible to reduce emissions by approximately 149,000 MT CO2 (Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide). Farm-generated solar power will be sold primarily to TC Energy through a Power Purchasing Agreement, while the remainder will contribute to the Alberta Wholesale Pool. The site announced operation as of April 29, 2021.

Site Selection

The site was chosen due to its soil salinity, resulting low crop production, and proximity to transmission lines. The Granum 604S substation connects the power plant to the Interconnected Electric System and has no effect on the surrounding prairie or native vegetation. Panels are elevated by one metre on steel structures and positioned at an angle, extending the height to just over three metres. Elevation and shade provided by the structures means the area may be used as grazing pasture.

Solar Opportunity in Alberta

The solar infrastructure will generate power throughout the daylight hours all year long when energy needs are highest and the most expensive. Although the effectiveness of solar generation is limited in the winter when Alberta sees less than eight hours of daylight, summer generation peaks at over 17 hours of daily generation opportunity (weather dependent).

Albedo and Global Solar Generation Opportunity

Some researchers have turned their attention to deserts lately, considering the potential for these, typically barren, environments to power the world’s energy systems. But the question is about more than, Can it be done? — environmentalists ask whether it should?

The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest expanse of desert land and has the potential to meet the world’s current demand by more than four times using solar generated power. But what sounds like a no-brainer becomes more complex as soon as its collective influence on the environments beyond the Sahara is considered. While widespread solar power generation significantly decreases reliability on fossil fuels, its effect on the soil’s surface is notable.

A surface’s level of reflectivity is indicated by its albedo — the higher the albedo, the higher the reflectivity value. Desert sand is highly reflective and, therefore, carries a higher albedo than the black surfaces of the solar panels that would cover it. This is relevant because, while sand reflects heat outward, solar panels release 85% of the energy as heat near the soil.

Scientists used a climate model to demonstrate that heating up a large portion of the Saharan desert floor would increase the contrast between ocean temperature and land temperature and ultimately result in more rain. Plants would grow more easily in this new environment and would absorb the light beaming onto the soil and foliage rather than reflecting it. A subsequent evaporation and condensation cycle means that vegetation would do well while clean energy is being simultaneously produced. So, what’s the catch?

All About Balance

Subsequent studies have indicated that, although local benefits are real, a project of this size and scope could cause temperature increases globally as its heat is dispersed throughout the atmosphere. Extrapolations have warned of changes in the rainforests of the Amazon, potentially causing drought and harm to habitat, and an increase in extreme weather along the coasts of North America and Eastern Asia.

The challenge, then, is determining where and how large these solar programs can be implemented to derive maximum power generation for local benefit without placing undue hardship on other natural systems and cycles. To date, the largest global solar farms are located in desert or desert-like climates.

Doing Our Part

As our province sees the growing opportunity for further green energy to be placed onto the electrical grid, our energy sources become more diversified and foster less reliance on fossil fuels to power our homes, hospitals and other infrastructure. This trend toward greener energy production can be further supported by making small changes to our energy use such as limiting air-conditioner use or shutting lights out when leaving a room. For more about how you can save on your power bill, see our previous blog entry.

Thinking about making a switch to a new retailer? Call us at 1-866-516-3085 or request a complimentary bill review and quote at burstenergy.ca.

2018 Canadian Single Event Drug Free Championship

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Sponsored in part by Burst Energy
On Saturday, March 27, the Taber Community Centre in Taber, Alberta, welcomed 74 participants for the Canadian Single Event Drug Free Championships facilitated by Bodymasters Gym & Archery Center. Competitors demonstrated their skill set to an audience of supportive family and peers in either or all of the squat, bench press, and deadlift events. Categories varied, including Men/Women Open, Masters (40+), Juniors (20-23) and Teen (14-19).
The event’s organizer, Randy Sparks, owner of Bodymasters Gym and president of the Canadian Drug Free Power Lifting Association, says he loves to put on these competitions. Aiming for two such competitions annually, and having organized 2 world championships in powerlifting, he’s the right person for the job. Sparks says the single event format allows participants to elect to participate or abstain in any of the three events, based on interest or injury-related concerns.
With each participant following a different training pattern, it’s hard to say just how many hours are spent in preparation for events such as this. In his experience, Randy says it isn’t unusual to have competitors in the gym a minimum of 5 days per week for 90 minutes or more. For his part, he’s in the gym six days per week for 75 minutes – and that’s before counting hours spent assisting contestants with their own preparatory training for the event.

Participants each underwent on-site drug testing to screen for steroids, stimulants, diuretics and masking agents. To qualify, these participants must not have used any strength enhancement drugs for a minimum of 5 years. Prizes were awarded, including Burst Energy Sponsored supplements for Best Female and Best Male.

The hard work paid off for these contestants, with 26 Canadian records having been broken at this championship alone. First, second and third place prizes were awarded to the leading lifters in each category. Highlights of some of this year’s heaviest records include:

  • M. Malec (205lb class) lifting 660lbs. (over 3x his body weight!)
  • J. Lastuka (Best lift Male)(242lb class) set new Canadian records in all 3 male categories squatting 600lbs, benching 396, and deadlifting 629 lbs.
  • C. Orr (Best lift winner (W))- 123lb class) deadlifted an astounding 375lbs., bench pressed 156lbs., and squatted 292lbs. in the women’s category
  • It was the first competition for 59-year-old R. Gerlock (123lb class) who set a new women’s Canadian deadlift record of 275 lbs.
  • In teen Men’s, 18-year-old F. Rashleigh (220lb class) deadlifted a staggering 550lbs.

The family sport attracted the interest of Clay Sparks (242lb class), son of Randy Sparks, who competed in the squat and beat the previous Canadian record by more than 100lbs. at 549lbs.! No doubt a proud family moment! And who could forget – Burst Energy’s own Neil Fajnor competed in the squat, lifting 418 lbs.! Congratulations to Neil and all the competitors of the 2018 Canadian Single Event Drug Free Championships for their part in making this event a tremendous success.

Burst Energy is always pleased to be able to participate in, and support, healthy living initiatives in communities across Alberta. Stay tuned for updates regarding Burst Energy Sponsored outdoor fitness parks in Clairsholm, Alberta.

It’s Been a Long Time Coming – Alberta’s Phasing-out of Coal

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Alberta’s energy sector is among the most prominent features in its robust economy. The Province reported revenues in the area of $33 billion dollars in 2013 . With figures like this, it’s no wonder that the international stage has its eyes on Alberta as it undertakes the transition to a low carbon economy. Currently, greenhouse emissions resulting from the generation of electricity are comparable to that of the oil sands.
Our Province’s energy sector nearly tripled in size in the decade between 2003 and 2013, despite complex extraction methods and contentious weather. While sector growth indicates a strong industry, it has increased concerns over the environmental implications of fossil fuel extraction not just on plants and trees – but on human health as well, as a result of increased air pollution.
The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) found that an accelerated Alberta coal phase out will prevent 600 premature deaths, 500 emergency room visits, and will avoid nearly $3 billion in negative health outcomes.
Health concerns come as a result of exposure to cadmium, lead mercury and other toxic pollutants known to cause, among other things, respiratory disease and heart problems. In response, the government’s Climate Leadership Plan aims to eliminate coal-based emissions by 2030, a bold move that speaks volumes to the Province’s commitment to the responsible protection of its environment, and its people. It is also worth noting that in positioning itself as a leader in green energy, Alberta sets the stage to have more influence, internationally, as a marker for success in responsible industry.
Coal plant closures have begun, with some plants being ‘mothballed’, a term for a suspension of operation that allows the possibility of reopening for operation at a later time. TransAlta began the new year with the closure of Sundance Unit 1 and mothballing of unit 2 to a maximum of 2 years. TransAlta has further committed to an early phase-out of its coal-based operations, with all operations out of service by 2023 – 7 years ahead of the imposed Client Leadership Plan deadline.
There will be hurdles, that’s to be sure, but overall, it’s safe to say that Alberta’s residents will gain more than we will lose in the long run with a move away from coal. The green energy sector brings with it opportunities for new employment and new job creation that, to this day, don’t exist. Alberta is on track to make unprecedented changes in the way that it does electricity, with a minimum of 30% green electricity taking up permanent residency on our grid over the next 12 years – that’s something to be proud of!
Burst Energy continue to follow the transition away from coal closely, and with interest. By staying abreast of new developments in the energy sector, we are better positioned to offer our clients the best value for their energy needs.

New to Burst Energy – Solar Program

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Burst Energy is committed to staying abreast of energy developments and innovation, and to providing our customers with a menu of solutions where consumer needs are concerned.
Now, more than ever, consumers are aware of the impact of their lifestyle habits on the environment. Carbon emissions in Alberta have become top-of-mind as a result of increased penalties for carbon production with the introduction of the carbon tax. Consumers are now looking to alternative methods of energy production to limit their reliance on fossil fuels and protect themselves against the rising cost of energy in our province. To this point, the introduction of the Green Energy Credit program, has allowed customers to choose the percentage of green-derived electricity they want to be using in their homes and offices.
Increased demand has encouraged the development of Burst Energy’s newest green energy program. Introducing Burst Solar!!!
Our new solar program is designed to put you in touch with industry leaders and take you from a consumer of traditional (coal-based) energy, to a micro generator of solar electricity! We are here to help you participate in the green energy movement while taking advantage of new programs that offer reliable information and strategic offsets to your investment.
Why Solar?
Solar electricity is 100% renewable, and drastically reduces the need for traditional electricity. The program is scalable to meet the needs of agricultural operations, residences, and commercial sites. Since solar operates consistently with minimal maintenance requirements, the lifestyle impact of these programs is virtually nil.
A Full-Circle Approach with Burst Energy
We feel that providing value to our customer’s means offering solutions to simplify their lives. We have hand selected a network of solar electricity professionals to help you navigate the ropes. The big issues like permit application, safety compliance and roof assessment are handled for you. Our installation team members are red seal certified and customer service vetted.
Because we’ve partnered with subject matter experts in solar technology, we are confident in our ability to provide exceptional service at a competitive price. Whether roof mount or ground mount, large scale or small, our team is here to provide a customized approach to your micro generation requirements. We are sensitive to supply chain concerns and recommend only products that are reliable, available, and can be serviced on a reasonable timeline, should the need arise.
How Can I Become a Solar Micro generator?
When you reach out to your Burst Energy Solar representative, you will be asked to provide some basic information such as your address and an example of a recent electricity bill (your solar rep will not have access to this). Your information will be run through our quoting system (Aurora) and you will be provided with an estimation of cost based on your utility needs. A professional installer will review the installation site to ensure that items such as line capacity, and roof pitch and exposure are suitable for installation. Following the completion of your application, we require a deposit of 50% to move forward in establishing your micro generation platform!
How Much Energy Can I Generate?
Your system can be designed to offset 100% of your energy consumption over the course of the year. Since generation capacity is high in the summer months, credits are provided to offset winter usage needs, where energy production drops significantly.
Did you know?
Calgary is Canada’s sunniest major city? Edmonton follows behind at #3!
Can I Disconnect from the Grid?
In most cases it is not feasible to move off the traditional power grid entirely. Practical items such as running appliances etc. around the clock requires that the system tap into the grid to meet those needs at night. As a result, you can decrease or eliminate your usage charges, but you will still be responsible for administration, demand and line provider charges.

How Long Does the Process Take?
Following the estimation process and subsequent acceptance, customers can expect a timeline for permitting between 2 and 3 weeks, and 2-3 days for installation. Following installation, the provincial grant application can be submitted, and typically funds within 30 days.

What Will My System Cost?
Options and quality grades vary where it comes to solar panels, just as each installation site will vary in its capacity to position panels optimally. Typically roof mount residential project costs ranging between $10,000 and $25,000.
Full return on investment is generally achieved within 12 and 15 years, with warranties generally being 25 years on panels. This warranty is with the panel manufacturer, generally Canada Solar.
How Can I Reduce the Cost of My System?
The Provincial Government currently offers a grant valued at $0.75 per Watt (up to $10,000). Using a professional installer ensures that the grant is not withheld.
Can I Install Solar Panels at a Rented Property?
This can be one of the best ways to maximize benefit when switching to solar. Interest on financing is tax deductible for property owners who finance solar installation on rental property (check with your tax accountant). Additionally, including electricity in the price of rent can further reduce operating costs. In the event that the property is sold, solar packages generally increase property value by the value of the system itself.

Want to know more about becoming a Solar Micro generator? Contact your Burst Energy representative today for information about financing, installation options and more! 1 (866) 516-3085.

Continued Growth in 2017

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A successful 2017 has come and gone, and the year’s achievements have set the stage for positive growth in 2018. Going into our 4th year as an independent energy retailer, we continue to prioritize value for our customers the way they’ve come to expect from Burst Energy.
This past year, key partnerships with the Alberta Motor Association (AMA), Claresholm Chamber of Commerce and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) allowed Burst Energy to increase both its reach and influence in communities across Alberta.
Community sponsorships included the Muddy Warrior race in August, held in Cardston, Alberta. Participants, young and old, came out to try their hand at the 5km fun-run and faced muddy trails and obstacles in a race against time! Additional sponsorship of two outdoor fitness facilities in Claresholm, Alberta were undertaken. Stay tuned for additional information on the completion of these facilities as construction begins in spring 2018!
We continue to maintain involvement in, and awareness of, energy developments and changing market circumstances with the goal to offer industry-leading customer service and product offerings to our valued customers and affiliates. Last year, new quoting software allowed streamlining of online customer quotes. Increased quoting efficiency has positively impacted new client onboarding. Service expansion in the area of solar-generated electricity ensured a broadening of green service offerings to meet the needs of increasingly environmentally conscious consumers.
2018 will continue to focus on expanding service offerings and product innovation at our best available rates. We remain committed to working synergistically with organizations through partnership, and to seeking out new and exciting sponsorship opportunities that will provide positive value to Alberta communities.
We would like to extend our gratitude to our customers for making 2017 a success, and for your continued support as we enter a new year. Positive referrals remain an integral part of the growth of independent retailers, and we thank you for your continued recommendation of Burst Energy to the people around you who matter the most.
All the Best,

Burst Energy Team

Claresholm Sponsorship

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Burst Energy is proud to announce its sponsorship of two new
outdoor fitness facilities in Claresholm Alberta!

These facilities are anticipated to be installed in spring 2018, and will
be located at opposing ends of town to ensure ease of access for all
residents. The facilities offer an alternative to gym culture and
expense, available 24 hours a day – seven days a week. Equipment
structure will be built to ensure resistance to extreme weather and will
provide a circuit of stations to engage various muscle groups,
complete with instructions for use.

At Burst Energy, we’re passionate about the communities you live in.
We invite all residents to come out and enjoy this cost-free way to
incite a sense of play, physical activity and meet others in your
community! These fitness areas will serve to support a positive
approach to fitness, and being outdoors. With no class schedules to
keep, residents of Claresholm will enjoy physical exercise on their
own terms.

Claresholm will be the most recent town in Alberta to join the growing
trend toward public fitness parks. We look forward to watching the
positive impact that these facilities will have on youth, adult and
senior members of the community!