V250 Profile: TransAlta Corp.
From local source to regional profiteer in just over 100 years
38th on 2013 V250 list
Senior executive: Dawn Farrell
Sector: Energy transmission and distribution
2012 Revenue: $2.3 billion
2011 Revenue: $2.7 billion
Growth rate: (-15 per cent)
TransAlta has generated electricity in one form or another since 1909. When the Alberta electricity market was deregulated in 2001, TransAlta was the first Canadian company in the industry to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2012, CEO Dawn Farrell replaced longstanding CEO Steve Snyder, after working her way up in the company for more than two decades.
The Big News
TransAlta is one of three companies in the energy market currently under investigation from the Market Surveillance Administrator (MSA). It is also in hearings before the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) for alleged anticompetitive conduct. TransAlta is accused of taking four power plants off-line during peak in 2010 and 2011 to deliberately drive up hourly prices and profits.
The Bad News
If found guilty, the AUC can levy fines of up to $1 million a day against the company. TransAlta claims that although the company did take the power plants off-line, as alleged by the MSA, and that it did profit, it was exercising its right to profitably operate. In 2010, the company was fined $370,000 for similar practices, when it restricted electricity imports to improve its bottom line.