NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Energy Minister Michel Samson.
The future of electricity generation in Nova Scotia is getting brighter.
Our energy costs will be stable to 2020, ratepayers know more about where their money is going, and our electricity is cleaner than ever before.
This is what Nova Scotians said were their priorities, and government is delivering through Our Electricity Future – Nova Scotia’s Electricity Plan.
In the year since the plan was released, we’ve made significant progress in all of these important areas.
First and foremost, ratepayers said power rates should be stable and predictable. With a new process that set rates for the next three years, that’s exactly what they will get.
The Fuel Adjustment Mechanism is also working to reflect the actual cost of fuel. As a result of fuel prices being lower than forecasted, Nova Scotia Power customers will receive a credit on their bills in early 2017.
In January, Nova Scotia Power will start being held to performance standards for customer service, reliability and storm response. If the company doesn’t measure up, the Utility and Review Board has the power to hold it accountable, including an option to impose financial penalties.
These are the changes Nova Scotians wanted and even more innovation is on the way.
The Maritime Link will help Nova Scotia reach or exceed its renewable energy targets beyond 2020. The link will create new opportunities to buy and sell cleaner electricity through Eastern Canada and New England.
Nova Scotia is also building on its position as Canada’s leader in greenhouse gas reductions. We’ve already surpassed our renewable energy target – 27 per cent of our electricity now comes from renewable sources.
In recognition of our work, we successfully reached an agreement in principle on climate change with the federal government that protects the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians and builds on our leadership.
For the first time, some Nova Scotia homes and businesses are being powered by an in-stream tidal turbine and the new Smart Energy Innovation Program is funding work on sustainable energy solutions.
And, while Nova Scotia already leads Canada in energy efficiency, in 2017 we’ll launch the Solar for Community Buildings Pilot Program to help community and non-profit groups reduce their energy costs by producing their own solar electricity.
More and more, Nova Scotians are participating in our electricity system and reaping the benefits as we move toward a cleaner energy future.
Nova Scotia’s electricity system has seen a lot of important firsts recently. Step-by-step we’re moving toward a diverse, efficient and sustainable electricity system that is both reliable and affordable for Nova Scotians.