UARB approves electricity rate increase for Nova Scotia Power
Residential customers face 6.9 per cent hike in 2023, another 6.9 per cent in 2024
February 6, 2023, 2:31 pm ASTLast Updated: February 8, 2023, 10:38 pm
Customers of Nova Scotia Power are facing an increase in their home electricity bills.
The Utility And Review Board (UARB) approved N.S. Power’s general rate application on Feb. 2, releasing a 203-page document detailing the decision.
The board allowed an average increase of 6.9 per cent in rates in each of 2023 and 2024, effective immediately.
The Halifax Examiner reported that Nova Scotia Power (NSP) made the application in January 2022. Shortly after, the Houston government passed legislation to limit non-fuel increases to 1.8 per cent a year.
In late November 2022, NSP and parties representing customers, businesses, and environmental groups entered into an agreement for the average rate increase amount.
The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) was one of the groups who signed off on the agreement. EAC energy co-ordinator Jacob Thompson said his organization agreed to the increase since they understood NSP’s need to invest in maintaining their service infrastructure.
“At the EAC we agree in principle in the idea of decarbonization, but everyone has ideas of how to get there and the ideas have to be actually correctly modelled by Nova Scotia Power,” said Thompson.
“And if it’s done correctly, then there’ll be a low cost to consumers at any subsequent year going forward, because we’ll reduce our fuel costs as well. So there’s a cost to invest in new infrastructure, but there’s also a cost of staying with what we have.”
Raising rates now, Thompson said, will offset some of the price shock that could come as a result of shutting down coal power plants in the province, which he said that NSP already plans to do.
The agreement, however, was opposed by the provincial government.
Following Thursday’s cabinet meeting, natural resources minister Tory Rushton said, “We’re disappointed by the decision today. We’ve always been very clear that we were standing by ratepayers right from the get-go, but we also respect the independence of the body of the UARB and their decision today.”
As part of the approval, the UARB has directed Nova Scotia Power to continue working with the EAC, Affordable Energy Coalition and other groups to consider possible changes to billing and collection rules for low-income customers.
In a statement, Nova Scotia Power confirmed the UARB’s approval of the settlement.
“We will take some time to review the ruling to further understand the details of the board’s decision. As always, our team will continue to focus on delivering for our customers,” the statement reads.
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