Electricity

In Medicine Hat, the City not only generates its own power, but it also owns the distribution system that transmits electricity to your home or business. Your electricity charges show up on a combined utility bill directly from the City. View utility rates.

We supply power to around 30,000 customers within the service area that includes:

  • Medicine Hat
  • Redcliff
  • Dunmore
  • Veinerville
  • Outlying rural areas adjacent to the city

Power outage

If you are experiencing a power outage, check all breakers on your electrical panel by turning them fully 'off' and then back to the 'on' position.

If this does not work, turn the main breaker located high in the panel box to the ‘off' position and then back to the ‘on' position. Should your power still be out, contact us at 403-529-8260.

Backup Generators

Portable home generator
These generators must not be connected to your house wiring without the certified installation of a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) approved utility transfer switch. Please contact a qualified electrical company for more information. Plugging in a portable generator during a power outage poses a serious safety risk to utility crews and first responders.
Stationary home/farm/commercial generator (open-transition)
These generators require the installation of a CSA approved utility transfer switch. The transfer switch ensures the generator is not connected in parallel with the electrical distribution system. Please contact us for more information.
Critical services generator (closed-transition)
Larger standby generators used by hospitals, schools, municipal waterworks and senior centres, that parallel the supply require review and approval. Please contact us for more information.

Building or renovating?

You'll need to apply for us to install electricity services to your property. We'll work with you to ensure safe and reliable power to your home or business. Bylaw #2244 Electric Utility governs the safe generation, delivery and use of electrical services in Medicine Hat.

Roof with solar panels
Interested in generating your own power?

Generating your own power is an environmentally conscious decision.

Shovel digging near gas line
Safety around utilities

We're all responsible to be safe around our utility infrastructure. Find out how.

Drawing of light bulb on paper
Apply for electric installation

Requesting a new power service, or an alteration to your current service.

Remember, if you are planning to dig or disturb the ground, request a line locate so you don't hit a buried power line.

Our power

The City of Medicine Hat began generating electricity in 1910 and continues to deliver a reliable supply of power to this day.

Part 8 of the Electric Utilities Act provides Medicine Hat with an exemption from retail competition. This exemption is due to the City's ability to produce enough electricity to satisfy its own electric requirements. Electricity generation, distribution and retail are all performed by the City of Medicine Hat – this makes us unique in the province of Alberta.

100 years strong: history of electric generation

From 1883 to the present day, Medicine Hat has a proud history of providing safe, reliable power and continues to demonstrate innovation with new initiatives and continuous improvement.

1883

Gas discovered by accident at CPR Siding No. 8 at Langevin, near Medicine Hat

1898

Medicine Hat incorporated as a town

1895

  • Population 1,000
  • Explorations begin to search for gas deposits.
  • Gas discovered at 1,010 feet, 600 psi
  • The House of Commons passes the Autonomy Act creating the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan

1906

Medicine Hat incorporated as a city

1907

Rudyard Kipling travels through Medicine Hat and remarks that it has “all hell for a basement”

1910- 1911

  • Two generators with a combined capacity of 600 kW are placed in the power plant at a cost of $25,000
  • Fuel is supplied by a gas well near the plant and power is transmitted to the first substation on Mill Street
  • Bylaw passed to install an electric light and power system
  • Population reaches 5,000

1912

  • Power Plant expands with the addition of two Fraser-Chalmers turbo-generators each with 750 kW capacity
  • Cheapest power in all of Canada attracts industry including Ogilvie and Medalta Pottery
  • On a return visit, Kipling calls Medicine Hat the “town that was born lucky”
  • First lights installed on city streets

1913

  • Industrial book peaks and population exceeds 15,000
  • Industries include pump and brass manufacturing, concrete products, crayons and cigars

1914

  • 1,500 kW Westinghouse turbo-generator added

1917

  • Electric Worker's Act highlights worker safety with the addition of rubber gloves, first aid kits and a resuscitator to the tool box
  • Economic downturn causes industry closures and a population drop
  • The need to increase utility revenue initiates a residential marketing campaign

1918

City grid expanded to attract more customers

1919

13.8 kV transmission line built to Redcliff, primarily to service Dominion Glass

1921

Plant expansion includes a 500 horsepower Babcock and Wilcox boiler, transmission lines and meters

1924

  • Residents are asked to turn on veranda lights for street lighting
  • Wiring for this light bypasses the meter so consumers are not charged for power
  • Public Utilities Act passed

1929

  • Addition of 3,000 kW turbo generator
  • Chamber of Commerce petitions City Council for increase power in order to attract industry

1930

Commitments to regular maintenance and upkeep ensure that plant equipment remains operational and outages are minimal during financially difficult times for both the utility and community

1940

  • Service Flight Training School No. 34 established near Medicine Hat
  • City is contracted to supply utilities

1941- 1943

  • Peak load demands reach plant capacity
  • A second hand generator from Winnipeg is installed to address demand as part of efforts to find interim solutions until post war production resumes and the new generator on order can be delivered

1947

Redcliff distribution system constructed and a 5,000 kW turbo generator is installed

1950s

  • Demand exceeds 7,000 kW
  • Population reaches 17,000 with post war surge of residential and commercial development
  • First traffic lights installed at the intersection of Second and Third Streets and Sixth Avenue
  • Calgary Power begins to evaluate production capacity, surpluses and future demand especially related to irrigation farming Canada Land Irrigation Development looks at the importance of rural electrification

1951- 1953

  • Addition of 300 kW generator and steam turbine at the Power Plant as part of the Calgary Power Agreement
  • The City of Medicine Hat and Calgary Power sign an agreement sharing the cost of a new 30 MW generator
  • As part of this agreement, new transmission lines are established and the City Utility is connected to the power grid

1956

Kensington becomes the first neighborhood in Canada to be serviced underground

1958

Supplementary agreement signed with Calgary Power for standby protection and firm power needs

1960

  • First bucket truck purchased by the utility, improving the productivity and safety of linemen
  • City begins work on the underground network in the downtown core

1962

City begins renovation of street lighting system eliminating the use of veranda lights

1970s

  • Installation of a new 17 MW generator unit and boiler at Brier Park Plant brings capacity to 55 MW
  • Resisting provincial pressure, the City looks to add capacity to meet load growth while at the same time reduce heavy standby charges being levied by Calgary Power
  • Provincial policy, led by the Energy Resource Conservation Board (ERCB), discourages the use of gas and mandates coal fired power generation for Alberta
  • Pressure is placed on Medicine Hat to abandon its utility, which relies on natural gas, and buy power from the grid
  • World oil crises cause prices to soar and Alberta, including Medicine Hat, experiences an economic and industrial boom

1979

  • Medicine Hat becomes the first utility in Canada to pair gas turbines and Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) to create a combined cycle system
  • By recapturing waste heat to produce more energy, the plant becomes more efficient and reliable
  • Capital initiative decisions are made to reduce / avoid increasing gas consumption

1980

National Energy Program, Federal Tax applied to natural gas sales results in increased gas and electrical rates

1982

  • The “Principality of Medicine Hat” is established with a negotiated exemption from the Electric Energy Marketing Act (EEMA)
  • EEMA passed to regulate electrical rates throughout the province

1984

  • 69 KV ring transmission system completed supported by 4 main substations
  • Security of supply within the Medicine Hat grid is strengthened

1985

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisitions (SCADA) system implemented to monitoring of the transmission system

1991

  • Phase I of plant expansions, two combustion turbines added along with two Foster Wheeler HRSGs
  • The ERCB tries to block plant expansion citing surplus power available on the grid
  • Equipment purchased in 1989 does not come online until 1993 while Medicine Hat is required to purchase additional power

1995

  • The City reaps the benefit of high Power Pool prices by selling surplus power to the grid
  • Electric Utilities Act results in a move away from government regulated electric market to an open, competitive pool market
  • Medicine Hat retains exemption status

1996

  • Phase II of plant expansion completed included a new 33 MW steam turbine
  • Agreement with Transalta (formerly Calgary Power) for backup power ends

2000

Agreement reached with Cancarb to purchase power created through co-generation

2001

  • The City again benefits from selling surplus power to the grid
  • High power prices in the province lead to further deregulation of the industry

2003

  • Older unit replaced with a General Electric LM6000 DLE (dry low emission) gas
  • combustion turbine and HRSG
  • Amendments to the Electric Utilities Act creates a PiLOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for Medicine Hat in a move to level the playing field

2006

  • City contracts delivery of 14,040 MWhs of wind power through Vision Quest agreement
  • First electronic revenue demand meters with communications are installed

2006- 2007

  • Installation of tow replacement turbines which include dry low emissions plus (DLE+) technology to reduce emissions and increase efficiency
  • A third is added in 2009

2010

  • First bi-directional electronic revenue meters installed for customers with distributed
  • generation
  • New Power Plant office building opened
  • Medicine Hat Electric Utility celebrates 100th Anniversary

2014

  • Through a Power Purchase Agreement with Box Springs Wind Corporation, three wind
  • turbines are erected on the City's north side
  • Through this arrangement, the City receives the carbon credits from the project which can be used to offset emissions from the City's power plant

2017

  • Unit #16, a simple cycle LM6000 generator is built on the City's north side, officially online in November
  • Generation capacity is up to 246 MW, ensuring n-1 supply, enough for the City's peak load should the largest generator go offline

2021

City breaks ground on Unit #17, another simple cycle LM6000 unit positioned next to Unit 16, that will add an additional 44 MW of generation capacity

The future of power

The rapidly evolving energy industry commits City Council and administration to continuous strategic evaluation of our electric generation abilities. A market valuation exercise in early 2021 saw leaders answer important questions about our current energy climate. That review can be viewed on Shape Your City.

In August 2021, the City launched the Southeast Alberta Hydrogen Task Force (Task Force), an independent working group created to establish a framework to implement a hydrogen economy in Southeast Alberta, along with multiple industry partners.