Nova Scotia's electricity future will have more predictable power rates and a utility that is more accountable to ratepayers, more competition and innovation.
Energy Minister Michel Samson released Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan, the province's 25-year electricity plan today, Nov. 9, at the NSCC Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth. The plan reflects findings from the year-long Electricity System Review, which heard from more than 1,300 Nova Scotians and technical experts.
"Government committed to listening to Nova Scotians and taking action so that the electricity system works for them," said Mr. Samson. "This plan brings in more accountability and will lead to more predictable rates that Nova Scotians and the business community have been asking for."
For the first time, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will set clear performance and reliability standards for Nova Scotia Power with regular reporting requirements.
Under the plan, Nova Scotia Power could face penalties of up to $1 million annually if it does not meet performance standards. Penalties will not impact rates, but will be paid for by shareholders.
Power bills have two parts. The general rate charged by Nova Scotia Power and a base fuel cost. Through legislation, government will bring in a new three-year rate stability period, from 2017-19, during which power rates will be known by Nova Scotians upfront. To achieve this, Nova Scotia Power will have until April 30 to request a change to the general rate for non-fuel costs during this period.
The company must also file a plan to lock in prices to reduce volatility in the cost of fuel over the three years.
The plan also commits $1.5 million over the next three years to support pilot projects to research technologies related to electricity use and management, storage, solar electricity, and tidal energy.
This year, Nova Scotia reached its target of generating 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, like wind, hydro and biomass. With more regional and local renewable projects planned, including the Maritime Link, the province is expected to easily reach the 2020 target of 40 per cent.
The plan includes the government’s decision to allow renewable generators to sell directly to customers.
"We're bringing more competition into the electricity marketplace," said Mr. Samson. "Moving forward, we will ensure new generation provides the most competitive rates for consumers."
Government will bring forward amendments to the Public Utilities Act and Electricity Act this fall to support the electricity plan.
Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan is available at www.novascotia.ca/electricityfuture
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Government introduced a new electricity plan
today (November 9th) that will have more predictable power
rates and a utility that is more accountable to ratepayers,
more competition and innovation.
The new plan outlines a vision for the next 25 years
and reflects findings from a review that heard from
more than 1,300 Nova Scotians and technical experts.
For the first time, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review
Board will set performance and reliability standards for
Nova Scotia Power, with penalties of up to $1 million if
it falls short.
Power rates will be set for 2017, 2018 and
2019 upfront, so Nova Scotians know what to expect.
The plan also commits $1.5 million over the next three
years for projects for electricity use, management, storage,
solar electricity and tidal energy.
Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan is available on the
Department of Energy website.
Media Contact: Sarah Levy MacLeod