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Understand the Medicine Hat Energy Market

Unlike the majority of Alberta, the City of Medicine Hat still has a regulated energy market. However, like other Alberta electric utilities, the City of Medicine Hat Electric Utility's job is the same. It generates, transmits and delivers electricity to its customers. The only difference is that its customers aren't offered a choice in what company they get their electricity supply from. These 30,000 customers live in Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Dunmore, Veinerville and other rural areas surrounding the city.

Know how micro-generation contributes green energy in Alberta

While the City of Medicine Hat may not have deregulated energy, it does offer incentives for its customers who choose to add micro-generation sites that contribute to green energy in Alberta. Micro-generation sites are small electricity generation sites that typically use a renewable source such as solar energy. HAT Smart is this city's environmental initiative. HAT Smart encourages the city's residents and businesses to reduce their energy use by installing home insulation, efficient doors and windows or adding a renewable energy micro-generation site to their home.

Natural gas and the City of Medicine Hat utilities

This city's electric utility was formed in 1910 when it began generating electricity with diesel fuel. Today, it produces electricity with natural gas and steam co-generation turbines. Medicine Hat was built on an abundance of natural gas. This natural gas has been the basis of the city's growth and economy. Since the city has this readily available energy resource, Medicine Hat has some of the lowest rates from Alberta electric utilities. This is because it has adapted its electric utility to run off of the local resource and has made efforts to increase energy efficiency by pairing it with steam. In fact, in 2003, the city took on replacing its General Electric LM6000 natural gas-fired turbine, resulting in about $3.7 million worth of savings in operating costs. In 2009, another LM6000 was added in an effort to become even more energy efficient. 

The discovery of Medicine Hat's natural gas

Medicine Hat's ocean of natural gas was discovered when the Canadian Pacific Railway was drilling for water back in 1883. Canadian Pacific Railway considered this "swamp gas" a nuisance and wanted nothing to do with it. In 1901 it dug again, this time for coal, and found the gas once more. It wasn't until 1904 that the benefit of natural gas was realized by the city, who hired a driller. Now the City of Medicine Hat claim rights to the 730 billion cubic feet of gas that is directly below it.


Sources:, Updated: 2-20-15.