News release

Legislation Advances New Electricity Plan

Government is implementing key elements of the province's new electricity plan with legislation introduced today, Dec. 1.

The electricity plan, launched earlier in November, focuses on the four main themes Nova Scotians and experts raised during the Electricity System Review, including accountability, predictable and stable rates, and introducing more innovation and competition in our electricity system.

"Our plan is about creating an electricity system that works better for Nova Scotians," said Energy Minister Michel Samson. "Today's bill paves the way for changes that will happen during the next four years to create a more accountable, cleaner and more innovative electricity future over the next 25 years."

The Electricity Plan Implementation (2015) Act gives authority to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to set performance and reliability standards for Nova Scotia Power. There will be regular reporting requirements and the board can order penalties of up to $1 million each year if the utility fails to achieve the standards. Penalties will be paid for by shareholders and used to reduce fuel costs.

Government is taking a number of steps to create more predictable and stable rates for Nova Scotians through a three-year rate stability period, from 2017 to 2019. 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 legislation will align efficiency programming with the rate stability period, so they both end in 2019.

Nova Scotia Power will be required to submit a three-year fuel stability plan that reduces volatility and sets the amount customers pay to cover fuel costs each year. It will include Maritime Link costs. Additionally, ratepayers will benefit from the tax treatment associated with including the South Canoe and Sable energy projects in the rate base. The legislation ensures the estimated $35 million is used to reduce fuel costs.

As of Aug. 6, the community feed-in tariff program has closed to new applications. Previously approved projects will be held to firm timelines to connect to the grid and the minister will no longer be able to grant extension requests.

The electricity plan outlined new innovation programs for research and development related to new technologies, electricity use and management, storage, solar electricity and tidal energy. This legislation enables the development of detailed regulations that will set program limits, rates, and data collection obligations for new and existing program participants.

The Department of Energy expects to begin consultations on program development early in 2016.

Our Electricity Future: Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan is available at www.novascotia.ca/electricityfuture .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Government introduced a legislation today (December 1st) that implements key elements of its new electricity plan.

Energy Minister Michel Samson says the legislation paves the way for concrete actions over the next four years to create a more accountable, cleaner and more innovative electricity future.

This legislation gives new authority to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to set performance and reliability standards for Nova Scotia Power, with penalties of up to $1 million if the utility falls short.

Government is taking a number of steps to create more predictable and stable rates for Nova Scotians. With these steps, power rates can be set for 2017, 2018 and 2019 upfront, so customers know what to expect.

Nova Scotia's Electricity Plan is available on the Department of Energy website.

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Media Contact:

Sarah Levy MacLeod
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