Pricing themselves out of the market

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"No" would be the short answer. "Learn how to be profitable without gouging your customers," would be one way to elaborate if the answer were to come from the average Nova Scotian.

Here we go again, except at double speed, with Nova Scotia Power announcing it has applied for a rate increase - just as customers were getting used to a hike less than a year ago.

This time, it's the private utility looking to add three per cent to power bills as a means to stabilize rate increases over the next two years - and we apologize if raising prices to stabilize them is a little hard to comprehend.

Interestingly, this comes at a time when the National Energy Board has released data showing that Nova Scotia already has the highest cost per kilowatt hour of all the provinces.

That's reason enough why this application should be turned down flat - though given the historical success of NSP getting approvals for increases from the utility and review board, might as well get used to the idea.

Part of the reason being given for NSP's struggles is the downturn affecting the NewPage Port Hawkesbury paper mill and the Bowater plant. Yet we've also been led to believe that keeping these plants running will mean allowing them reduced rates - with their break to be made up by the rest of us.

Pretty hard to come out ahead with those odds.

As Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said Tuesday, his party has been asking that the government do a performance audit of the power utility, so that it looks internally for savings rather than continually hitting up people who can't afford increases.

Quite right. This province doesn't have two years to stabilize rates if it wants to attract industry. It has to happen now and the rates must be competitive, even if it means the utility has to learn how to be profitable in other ways.

Given its track record, it would be unwise to go along with NSP promising things will be better at some point in the future.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, National Energy Board, Bowater

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • ed hannigan
    May 15, 2012 - 05:55

    david and rick are woefully ignorant as to the cost of windturbine generated power.Huge price contracts have been signed between NSP and windpower producers and these contracts will be in force for decades .The costs will be passed on to the consumer. Look at ontario and read up on the true cost to us. The public is , in it's ignorance , is deluded and deceived by Govt. and Windfarm owners.

  • David
    May 10, 2012 - 09:52

    Wind turbines are not owned by NSP, therefore NSP buys power from them. What we really need to reduce rates is open up the market.

  • Rick Harper
    May 10, 2012 - 07:45

    The NSP announcement also said that the cost of of fossil fuels was a factor in the request for an increase. Strangely enough we are seeing wind turbines being erected all over the province which produces lots of green electricity without the need of fossil fuels. Why doesn't NSP recognize the fact that the quantity of coal reduces with each turbine put into service? The costs must be dropping dramatically but there is no mention of that fact by the utility.