Electricity rate hike: Houston asks the Board to reject the deal

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Electricity rate hike: Houston asks Commission to reject deal

Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia

Premier of Nova Scotia calls on provincial regulator to reject agreement between Nova Scotia Power and customer representatives that will raise electricity rates by nearly 14 per cent in over the next two years.

Tim Houston sent a letter to the Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board on Monday. In this letter, he urges the Commission to dismiss the cartel and come to its own conclusion on the petition.

If the regulator approves the increase in electricity prices, these prices would increase by 6.9% in 2023 and 6.9% in 2024.

It is of our shared responsibility to protect taxpayers and I cannot stress enough how concerned I am that the deal before you does not allow this, the Prime Minister wrote.

The letter does not specify what his government would do if the Board accepted the agreement reached last week between Nova Scotia Power and its customers, which include residential customers, small businesses and large industrial companies.

Nova Scotia Power and its customers have reached an agreement that rates will increase by nearly 14% over the next two years.

Some groups approved of the deal, but most Nova Scotia Power's major client, Port Hawkesbury Paper, has yet to do so.

The announced agreement takes into account the 1.8% cap imposed by the progressive government- provincial Conservative on non-fuel costs under Bill 212 passed after hearings.

Consumer advocate Bill Mahody, who represents residential customers, said the proposed 13.8% increase was a reasonable rate increase given the revenue requirements that were presented to the Commission.

Bill Mahody is a consumer advocate for residential customers of Nova Scotia Power.

The Premier does' disagrees. He also opposes increasing the fuel costs built into the tariffs next year, before the annual update of the actual fuel costs.

If Nova Scotia Power is indeed being prepaid, what interest does it have in protecting itself and mitigating any adjustments that may be required? the Prime Minister asks in his letter.

He also opposes the addition of a storm surcharge to the rates to cover the vagaries of weather conditions extreme weather, which he says makes taxpayers pay for the effects of climate change.

Finally, Premier Houston criticizes the Commission's decision to approve Nova Scotia Power's participation in the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador.

The Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project

Due to ongoing problems, only a fraction of the electricity generated at the Muskrat Generating Falls was delivered to Nova Scotia.

The fact that Nova Scotians paid over $500 million for this project with minimal benefits and no one else was able to afford it. was held responsible is a mistake, writes Tim Houston.

He specifies that because of delays in the delivery of electricity from this megaproject, Nova Scotia Power had to buy lots of coal up more expensive to generate electricity.

Based on information from Paul Withers, CBC

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