A second executive with the Alberta Energy Regulator is billing the organization for travel expenses because the person is living in B.C.
The AER tells CBC News its board of directors wasn’t aware of the situation. The AER is the single regulator of energy development in Alberta — from application and exploration, to construction and operation, to decommissioning, closure and reclamation.
Since May, Jennifer Steber has expensed flights, taxi trips and other costs to go to work at the AER from her residence in B.C. Her expense claims also include mileage on her vehicle driving from her B.C. residence to the Penticton airport in B.C’s Okanagan Valley. Steber is part of the executive team at the AER.
The discovery comes after the Alberta government expressed its disappointment with the regulator for reimbursing CEO Jim Ellis’s travel from B.C.
Former CEO got expenses to come to meetings
CBC News counted nearly 50 trips, mostly return airfares between Calgary and Penticton, to transport Ellis for the express purpose of attending AER meetings. A tally of those flights shows costs topping $14,600, not including airfare change fees and other travel expenses. Ellis has since retired.
According to the regulator, Ellis authorized Steber to file expense claims from her residence in B.C.
“This travel arrangement was approved by the AER’s previous CEO, Jim Ellis,” said Bob Curran, a spokesperson for the regulator, in an email. “The AER board of directors has just become aware of this issue and has ordered a thorough review of practices inside the AER to determine what corrective action is required.”
There is no indication from her expenses about where in B.C. she lives, however a property registry search shows Steber is listed as one of the registered owners of a house in Osoyoos, located 60 kilometres south of Penticton.
The AER lists Steber’s salary as $373,547 in 2015.
The provincial government sets the budget for the AER, but the oil and gas industry itself funds the regulator through administrative fees.
According to the regulator, Steber is currently on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment.