Amendments to Electricity Act, Public Utilities Act
The Province is bringing forward promised legislative changes that will protect solar homeowners and small businesses in the solar industry. Other amendments will push Nova Scotia Power to ensure that ratepayers have reliable, cleaner power and further hold the utility accountable for how it delivers electricity.
The measures are in amendments introduced today, April 7, to the Electricity Act and the Public Utilities Act. They are designed to improve Nova Scotia Power’s net-metering program, support the solar energy industry in Nova Scotia and improve the Community Solar and Green Choice programs.
“The amendments we’re introducing today support Nova Scotia ratepayers by empowering them to join our fight against climate change and adopt renewable sources of energy, and holding Nova Scotia Power to a higher standard of performance,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “Making changes in support of a thriving solar industry will help us in our goal of generating 80 per cent of our electricity through renewables by 2030.”
Amendments to the Electricity Act will ensure Nova Scotians can generate their own renewable power, such as with solar panels, and gain more control of their energy use:
- ratepayers will be guaranteed the full right to net meter without fear of new special charges, fees or rates – Nova Scotia Power will be prohibited from adding such charges
- ratepayers will be guaranteed the right to bring the energy portion of their electricity bill to $0 annually if they are able to generate enough power from renewable sources like solar panels
- the Province’s Green Choice Program will be simplified and offer more opportunities for large-scale consumers to use renewable energy
- the Community Solar Program (formerly the Shared Solar Program) will be simplified and Nova Scotia Power’s role in it will be limited
- within 12 months, Nova Scotia Power will be required to fully implement the Green Button standard, which enables customers to securely download their household or business electricity usage data and connect their data to online apps to help cut their bills.
Amendments to the Public Utilities Act will strengthen performance standards that Nova Scotia Power must meet, including:
- adding more performance standards for things like reliability and outage response times
- enabling stakeholders and advocates to be a part of the oversight and accountability of Nova Scotia Power by creating a new partnership and performance table to provide advice to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board on performance standards and penalties.
The bill also allows farmers markets to pay the domestic electricity rate to help lower their power bills.
- the Green Choice Program will offer a new, simplified process for large-scale energy customers to procure renewable electricity and is set to launch later this year
- net metering provides ratepayers the ability to offset their electricity usage by generating and using energy from small-scale renewable energy projects, such as solar panels
Bills tabled in the legislature this spring are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1