Nova Scotia Power applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board a rate increase plan that will lead to a 3 per cent annual electricity price increase over the next two years. The proposed Rate Stabilization Plan is expected to affect Nova Scotians by adding an additional $3.50 a month to the average household power bill in 2013 and again in 2014.
“Any rate increase is difficult for families and businesses,” said Rob Bennett, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power. “We’re trying to minimize the impact on our customers. That’s why we’re proposing a plan that will stabilize rate increases and give us all time to adjust to the rising cost of providing electricity in Nova Scotia.”
Why is Nova Scotia Power asking for the rate increase? The company explained that with decreases in pulp and paper production, the NS Power’s regular payments from NewPage and Bowater mills have been greatly reduced. Additionally, the transition from coal to clean and renewable energy resources has added upfront costs to Nova Scotia Power’s operations.
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Nova Scotia Power emphasized that the proposed Rate Stabilization Plan is to help with already accrued costs. Recovery of expenses accrued in 2013 and 2014, an estimated $120 million would need a different plan, one that NS Power expects to introduce in 2015.
"We know Nova Scotians are angry about rising electricity prices,” Bennett said. “We’re working hard to keep our costs as low as possible. We’ve reduced our workforce, and we’ve switched two of our four generation units at Lingan to seasonal use. But even the reductions we’ve made can’t make up for the lost contributions from the paper mills. The Rate Stabilization Plan isn’t a perfect solution, but we’re trying to do the best we can for everyone in a tough situation.”