Some residents in Alberta get rebates to offset the economic effect of a levy imposed on consumers fuels. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
EDMONTON, Alberta, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A carbon levy for residents in an oil-rich Canadian province has the dual purpose of advancing energy infrastructure and saving them money, an official said.
More than half of all households in Alberta are expected to get rebates to help offset a new fuel tax that went into force at the beginning of the year. A two-income home earning up to $71,500 per year receives about $225 annually under the plan.
Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman said the levy is a testament to the provincial commitment to the financial well-being of its citizens.
"The carbon price is a made-in-Alberta solution that protects pocketbooks with rebates for 66 percent of Albertans to help our most vulnerable and ensures that we get pipelines built," she said in a statement.
The provincial government early last year said it introduced the new levy for consumer fuels to generate revenue to support the development of renewable energy and other low-carbon programs. An annual report from the National Energy Board in October said export capacity was constricted because pipeline capacity hasn't kept pace with production.
Opposition leaders in Alberta said the tax is another burden transferred to constituents who last year suffered through an economic downturn because of lower oil prices and wildfires in May that sidelined much of the oil production in the province.
"While nobody seriously expected the sky to fall on January 1st, Albertans are clearly worried about the effects the new legislation will have on them," Liberal Leader David Swann said.
The provincial economy is on the cusp of growth with gross domestic product expansion expected at 2.3 percent in 2017. The provincial government in September unveiled a $23 million package to help pay for long-term, locally developed projects meant to create jobs and diversify the provincial economy.