The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board’s decision regarding Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s General Rate Application is a blow to the utility’s customers and efforts to accelerate the
transition to affordable, clean renewable energy in the province.
Today’s decision means NSPI customers will pay almost 14 percent more for their electricity next January (6.9 percent of which is effective immediately). Customers will also be on the hook
for other costs that will eventually be folded into their utility bills:
● A Storm Rider that allows NSPI to charge customers extra for repairs following big storms and for having its crews on-the-ready throughout the province because of forecasted storms.
● A Decarbonization Deferral Account that’s intended to compensate NSPI for any “depreciation costs” for stranded assets, including the costs of retiring its coal-fired plants.
“For years, Nova Scotia Power has delayed the transition to clean renewable energy, so now Nova Scotians are stuck with high-cost electricity from fossil fuels, an electricity grid that goes down even in the smallest storms, and a shorter time frame to meet the Province’s 2030 legislated target to phase out coal-fired power plants,” says Tynette Deveaux, who heads up the Beyond Coal Atlantic campaign.
The UARB decision calls upon Nova Scotia Power to engage in a ‘consultative process’ to come up with a climate adaptation plan.
“We’ve been talking with the CEOs of Nova Scotia Power about ways to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy for 10 years now,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, the National Programs Director for Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “They claim to be all over it, but at the end of the day, very little has changed. We’re basically jogging on the spot when it comes to getting off coal.”
Nova Scotia Power failed to meet its 40 percent renewable energy requirement for 2020–2022, and according to documents it filed with the UARB last June, the utility plans to add an additional 850 MW of fossil gas over the next 6 to 7 years (See link for more information).
“We need the Province to lead the transition off of fossil fuels and to protect low-income utility customers—not Nova Scotia Power,” says Deveaux. “The government needs to do everything possible to accelerate wind and solar energy and battery storage. These technologies will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also save us a lot of money and provide the energy security that imported fossil fuels cannot.”
Beyond Coal Atlantic Campaign Coordinator
Sierra Club Canada
National Programs Director
Sierra Club Canada