(photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

(photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

MLA Rick Wilson: Utility bills

Hello again, friends and neighbours!

Before I share some of the good things that are taking place, I want to address an issue that has recently become a growing concern in this constituency (and across Alberta). Let’s talk about UTILITY BILLS.

It seems that folks have been experiencing record high utility bills over the last while—increases that will be difficult or impossible to pay for many seniors and families. Now, we have had some really cold weather that required extra energy usage but I’m talking about the extraordinary hikes in fees and rates that have shown up on utility bills. We do recognize that this is a huge problem and we need to do some work to determine how best to help those impacted. I am encouraging my constituents to help me advocate for you by sending me recent copies of your utilities bills that point out the increases you have experienced. Don’t forget to tell me a little about your situation: Are you heating a house? How large is it? Etc. Send your emails to my constituency office at maskwacis.wetaskiwin@assembly.ab.ca.

While we’re on the subject of utility bills, if you’d like to learn a little more about utility companies and all the different lines on your bill, you can contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate by calling 310-4822, or by going online at www.ucahelps.alberta.ca.

I also want to mention that I have a Constituency Week coming up. My office will be scheduling appointments for meetings with constituents (in-person, telephone, or via Zoom) from February 28 to March 4, and I would love to hear from you! It’s one of my greatest honours to hear from folks about issues that are important to you. Often, we agree, sometimes we don’t; either way, taking the time to share information and consider another point of view is always valuable. If you’d like a meeting, please call my office in Wetaskiwin at 780-360-8003, or connect via email at the above address to book a mutually convenient time to meet.

I promised good news! I’m sure you are aware by now that we have a 3-step plan to lift public health restrictions. Thank you to all Albertans who have done their part to keep yourself, your communities, and our health care system safe from COVID-19. Please keep up the great work until we are given the go-ahead to return to normal. We are almost there!

You’ve heard me say it before and it bears repeating — every month, there’s new evidence that Alberta’s Recovery Plan is working. There are so many examples that I urge you to take a look at the new website recently launched that highlights the many positive things happening in Alberta. You will find examples of how Alberta is strengthening the workforce, growing our resources, building for the future, helping everyday Albertans, and diversifying the economy. Go check out: www.recoveryplan.alberta.ca.

The Mustard Seed recently gave a very positive update to Wetaskiwin City Council about their work at the warming shelter. They, in conjunction with their many partners in this area, have accomplished a great deal since December 6. I am so proud of the community members and organizations (Government and Non-profits) who have come together to help 136 individuals since the opening of the shelter, and so proud of their advocacy to help fulfil continued needs. Special thanks to Jason Luan, Minister of Community and Social Services, for the significant funds, time and energy he (and his staff!) have committed to our community and our most vulnerable residents. It’s sincerely appreciated.

Don’t forget that the Alberta government has supports in place for folks experiencing bullying. Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger. As well, the Bullying Helpline is available to get help anonymously in more than 170 languages: 1-888-456-2323.

Happy Pink Shirt Day, Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin!

— Rick Wilson is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin