Calgary Gas and Electricity Retailers
Residents of the city now have a number of retailers to choose from, just as they did a century ago, meaning that Calgary electricity rates are very competitive. Natural gas is sold by four companies:
- ATCO Power
- Direct Energy
- ENMAX Energy
- Hudson Energy
- Just Energy
- Superior Energy
These companies also serve as electricity retailers in Calgary, supplemented by dozens of other niche energy retailers and producers. ENMAX Energy is the RRO provider for Calgary, while Direct Energy Regulated Services is the regulated retailer of electricity in the area.
Contact us to receive a Calgary electricity rates comparison or for information on Calgary natural gas rates, to help you determine who the best utility companies in Calgary are and what they can offer you.
History of Natural Gas and Electricity in Calgary
The City of Calgary is the largest in the province of Alberta, with a population of roughly 1.25 million people. While the town of Calgary was settled in the 1870s and 1880s by ranchers and homesteaders, the modern-day metropolis exists thanks to the petroleum and energy industries. It should tell you something that ENMAX, Calgary’s largest energy company, is actually a wholly owned subsidiary of the city itself. But a lot happened in the energy industry in Calgary before ENMAX came around…
Oil was first discovered in Calgary in 1902, and drilling continued on a small scale for another decade. During this time, the first electric power plants were built, and by 1905 the city owned its own utility company, The City of Calgary Electric System. Within another five years, several more plants had been constructed, powered by both coal and water.
Everything changed after a major oil strike in nearby Turner Valley in 1914. The quantity and quality of the oil being produced there became readily apparent. As a demonstration, one of the drillers filled the tank of his car with crude oil from the site, and drove it 41 miles on one gallon of the raw fuel.
Within 24 hours, 500 oil companies were formed, and chaos ensued. For several months, Calgary was a “madhouse,” as characterized by one Calgary Herald writer. However, the beginning of World War I brought investment to a halt, and exploitation of the area’s resources quickly slowed and stagnated for several decades.
The other complication that busted the was that the oil wells weren’t true oil wells, but rather wet natural gas wells—natural gas bound up with other compounds, which greatly complicated the processing. It wasn’t until 1936 that the first true oil well was successfully drilled.
Thanks to Calgary’s expansive economy, based upon agriculture and ranching, the city to grew steadily despite the decades-long boom-bust cycle. During World War II, interest in exploring the area for oil and gas developed again, leading to the first real oil boom in 1947, when a rich deposit was found in Leduc. This led to exploratory drilling throughout much of Alberta, including Calgary. The next decade was dominated by repeated discovery of new sites, and the painful process of developing means of exporting the vast quantities of oil and gas that the country could never hope to consume on its own. Exports cautiously expanded from 900 barrels a day in 1951, to 40,600 barrels in 1955.
The value of Calgary’s natural resources became evident when Egypt seized the Suez Canal in 1956, cutting off most oil supplies from the Middle East. Oil exports were rapidly increased to 94,000 barrels a day, preventing disastrous shortages in much of the western United States.
Further development in Calgary slowed in subsequent years until the Oil Crisis of 1973, when investment in Albertan oil skyrocketed again. In the following 35 years, the population of Calgary nearly quadrupled in size, from 270,000 to more than 1 million residents. The glut in supply of oil and natural gas in the 1980s led to a significant downturn in the city’s and country’s economy. Business owners and investors in the area quickly learned their lesson, leading to the rich variety of economic opportunities that exist in the present-day city of Calgary.