News release

Regulations for More Reliable Power for Large Industrial Customers

A new performance standard requires Nova Scotia Power to address service complaints from certain large industrial customers within 18 months or face a financial penalty.

“Large industrial customers in Nova Scotia have lost millions of dollars over the years due to power interruptions,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “Through new performance standard regulations, we’re increasing Nova Scotia Power’s accountability to meet those customers’ needs within a reasonable time frame.”

The new Performance Standards Regulations for Nova Scotia Power are under the Public Utilities Act. They apply to large industrial customers that get their power directly from transmission lines.

Brief power interruptions – those that cause little inconvenience beyond blinking clocks for most residential and commercial customers – can have a much greater impact on these large industrial customers. Even brief interruptions can shut down machinery for longer than the power is out, resulting in production delays and financial losses. Such interruptions are also generally avoidable.

Currently, if a transmission line customer asks Nova Scotia Power to address these types of interruptions, there is nothing compelling the utility to act in a reasonable time frame. The new regulations require the utility to resolve the issue within 18 months. If not, the customer can complain to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB), which can fine the utility up to $25,000 per month that the issue remains unresolved.

Quick Facts:

  • the two types of power lines are transmission and distribution; most transmission lines carry electricity from power plants to substations, where it is converted to a lower voltage and then carried on distribution lines to homes and businesses
  • there are several industrial customers in the province that can handle power directly from transmission lines; some examples are LaFarge, Port Hawkesbury Paper, Michelin, Highliner Foods and Compass Minerals
  • amendments to the Public Utilities Act in the spring allowed for the creation of the new performance standards regulations
  • more performance standards may be added to the new regulations over time
  • the regulations direct the NSUARB to conduct an analysis of outages and reliability for all customers; the data may be used for future performance standards