Powering our Future

Wind turbines for clean green electricityNova Scotian’s deserve a forward-looking energy plan that ensures we have clean, green, sustainable energy at affordable prices. When our opponents tell you they will freeze your power rates they don’t say they are the ones who sold-off Nova Scotia Power and that your taxes will go up or public services will be cut to pay for their promises. Our power network in rural Nova Scotia is extremely unreliable. Needed repairs and upkeep will also have to be postponed to keep their promises.

The NDP removed the provincial portion of the HST off everyone’s power bill. They know that high heating and power rates have hit low income families and seniors the hardest. The NDP provided heating rebates of up to $200 based on income.  The provincial government currently spends $117 million helping people with electricity and fuel purchases. Efficiency Nova Scotia also helps low income households install money saving devices.

NS power bill
Small cost for energy efficiency, larger saving on the HST.

The NDP feels consumers will benefit if Nova Scotia Power relies less on expensive imported coal, and we had access to Lower Churchill hydro.  Efficiency Nova Scotia helps the consumer plug into ways that allow us to use less electricity. We save money, and the province can defer or even cancel the need for major new power plants.  Federal green house gas (GHG) regulations will force the shutdown of six of our eight coal-fired power stations by 2030.  The NDP knows that developing cleaner energy options and more secure sources of energy will help us lower both our emissions and energy costs now and in the future.

With the Nova Scotia NDP you will have a brighter future.

POWER RATES – Nothing but the facts

Windfarms - clean and green electricityNova Scotians have paid one of the highest power rates in the country for years.  The NDP has offered help to families and seniors who need it the most.  It has developed a realistic strategy so that we have a secure energy supply, and fairer energy rates now and in the future.  In contrast to our opponents, who think that deregulating the power market or freezing our power rates will fix everything, we know there are no quick fixes.

Deregulation didn’t work in NB and it won’t work here.  Nova Scotia has a smaller customer base and a much larger service area than the City of Calgary.  Experience everywhere suggests that deregulation will make it harder to attract new investors (especially with trash talk) and easier for utilities to hike their power rates.

If you freeze everyone’s power rates, either your taxes will go up or your public services will be cut to subsidise the utility’s unmet costs.  Our power network in rural Nova Scotia is notoriously unreliable. Needed repairs and maintenance will be postponed.  Our companies may face problems doing business in other countries because of this subsidy.

The real reason for power rate increases is expensive imported coal, and federal regulations forcing us to get off coal.

The NDP removed the provincial portion of the HST from your power bill.  McNeil said the NDP grabbed the money back to fund Efficiency Nova.  We say read your power bill.

Energy costs in Canada have increased at almost twice rate of other consumer basics over the last ten years. The cost of imported coal and other fossil fuels paid for in US dollars has been the main driver of power rate increases in Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia Power now pays 70% more for coal than it did in 2004.

The NDP didn’t sell-off Nova Scotia Power or establish the public utilities board (URB) but the URB now provides an independent arms-length review of the cost of capital projects and rate increases requested by Nova Scotia Power.  The URB hires its own technical experts to review these proposals.  The government also provides funding to independent business and consumer advocates to protect your interests

Utilities do not have a guaranteed rate of return.  In each of its decisions, the URB determines and updates the allowable rate of return to protect consumers.  Typically utilities have to borrow large sums of money which have to be paid back over a long period of time (e.g. 50 years).  Utilities have to pay the going rate of return when they borrow money or lenders will go elsewhere.

Federal Green House Gas (GHG) regulations will force the shutdown of six of our eight coal-fired power stations by 2030. The NS NDP has set hard caps on GHG emissions and targets for the use of renewable power to meet this challenge.  Developing cleaner energy options and more secure sources of energy in Nova Scotia will help us lower emissions and energy costs.

Here is the NDP strategy:

  • The NDP knows that ratepayers would benefit if Nova Scotia Power relied less on expensive imported coal and had greater access to Lower Churchill Hydro.  When the Maritime Link is built it would allow Nova Scotia to buy and sell hydro power from Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Maine.

  • Community-feed-in-tariffs have been used to encourage local ownership of renewable power generation.

  • Efficiency Nova Scotia also helps the consumer to plug into ways that allow us to use less electricity, save money, and the province defer or even cancel the need for major new power plants

  • Low income families and seniors are the ones who are hardest hit by high power rates. The provincial government currently spends $117 million subsidizing electricity and fuel purchases. The Department of Community Services also provides repayable loans to some Income Assistance households.  Efficiency NS spends some of its $45 million helping low-income households install money saving devicesP1010854-1