ATCO chief executive officer Nancy Southern addresses the company's annual meeting in Calgary on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The Alberta Utilities Commission has doubled the amount ATCO must refund to consumers after it attempted to overcharge them for costs it shouldn't have incurred. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Commission increases refund ATCO owes over attempt to recoup contract costs

An Alberta regulator is adding millions to the amount a provincial utility must refund consumers after it attempted to overcharge them for costs it shouldn’t have incurred.

The Alberta Utilities Commission says ATCO Electric must refund up to $16 million instead of the $11 million the company had offered to pay.

The refunds are over costs that ATCO tried to recover from the construction of a power line through Jasper National Park.

The company illegally allowed a First Nations contractor to overcharge in the hopes it would bring revenue to another ATCO branch and then tried to hide the deal from regulators.

The costs the commission says ATCO must refund include $250,000 the company spent on the coverup.

The refund is in addition to a $31-million fine levied on ATCO.

ATCO chairwoman Nancy Southern has apologized to shareholders for the wrongdoing.