Nova Scotia Power warns committee rate bill will hinder climate goals

HALIFAX — The president of Nova Scotia Power says proposed legislation limiting power rate increases would jeopardize the province’s goal of getting off coal by 2030.

Peter Gregg told the legislature's law amendments committee today the bill would restrict the privately owned utility’s ability to make immediate investments that are needed both to strengthen the power grid and to move to renewable sources of energy.

Gregg told legislators that they have a choice to make and they can’t “logically” support both the proposed bill and the province’s climate goals.

Nova Scotia Power is asking the province’s regulator for a rate increase of nearly 14 per cent over the next two years, while the government’s bill would limit that to 1.8 per cent over the next two years — excluding increases linked to fuel costs.

Bill Mahody, who argues on behalf of consumers before the Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board, criticized the bill for overriding the independence of the regulator by setting power rates from the floor of the legislature.

Mahody says the legislation runs the risk of increasing the utility’s financing costs, which would result in a far greater cost to consumers in the future than the temporary savings resulting from the government’s bill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press