Amendments to the Gas Distribution Act, introduced today, Oct. 2, clarify market rules for delivering compressed natural gas in Nova Scotia.
Large customers like manufacturers, hospitals and universities, and small customers like local businesses and households can benefit from the amendments.
“Many Nova Scotians are interested in natural gas but are not close to the pipeline,” said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. “There are also providers that are interested in offering natural gas to more communities in the province, and customers who want to purchase it. These amendments give suppliers a clear set of rules to operate under, so that more Nova Scotians can gain access to natural gas.”
Under the Gas Distribution Act, Heritage Gas has been granted the exclusive franchise right to distribute natural gas in Colchester, Cumberland, Guysborough, Halifax, Hants, and Pictou counties. However, the act is not clear if compressed natural gas is included. The amendments provide the industry with clarity and regulatory certainty.
The amendments state that compressed natural gas:
— can only be delivered by the franchise holder within a franchise area
— is open to competitive providers outside the franchise area where delivery is to a single customer, or a small number of affiliated customers
— delivery to multiple customers, through a satellite distribution system, will require a franchise designation and be subject to economic regulation
The changes also allow potential exemptions if a large customer within Heritage Gas’s franchise area wants to get compressed natural gas delivery from another service provider. The large customer would apply to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which would determine if the request is in the public interest.