Government is introducing amendments to the Gas Distribution Act today, Oct. 10, to give the Utility and Review Board (UARB) the authority to consider applications dealing with natural gas transportation costs.
The changes will allow the board to determine how to fairly recover costs associated with long-term pipeline contracts.
Long-term agreements have the potential to provide Nova Scotians with reliable access to natural gas at a more stable price than short-term rates.
“As an independent regulator, the UARB should determine if a long-term pipeline proposal is in the best interests of Nova Scotia’s natural gas customers,” said Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan. “These amendments ensure stakeholders will be heard and decisions will be made in an open and transparent process.”
Natural gas is used as a fuel by industrial businesses and as a heat source for some of Nova Scotia’s hospitals, schools and homes.
“Energy costs have been noted as one of the top concerns of manufacturers. Natural gas is a key component of the sector’s needs and the current instability and fluctuation in cost are an important competitive consideration when attracting and retaining manufacturers in Nova Scotia,” said Michel Raymond, vice-president, Nova Scotia, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “Our organization supports the provincial government’s amended legislation to help reduce costs and increase stability around supply to business.”
Heritage Gas is the franchise holder for natural gas distribution in Nova Scotia. The natural gas system is regulated in Nova Scotia, unlike fuel competitors such as propane and oil.
These amendments bring Nova Scotia’s regulations more in line with other North American jurisdictions.