Government Amends Public Utilities Act

**** CNS Media Release

Government Amends Public Utilities Act
Government is changing the Public Utilities Act to help keep power and water rates stable by reducing the number of approvals large utilities need to acquire.

Nova Scotia Power, Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link and the Halifax Regional Water Commission will no longer be required to get approval from the Utility and Review Board to spend $1 million or less.  Previously, the limit was $250,000.

In other jurisdictions, limits range from $50,000 to $50 million. Submissions like this generally cost utilities $50,000 or more per application.

“Making our system more efficient is an important way we keep costs down for utilities and rates stable for Nova Scotians,” said Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette. “Spending by these organizations will remain transparent and accountable and the regulator will still have the ability to determine if expenses are in the best interests of ratepayers.”

These amendments also clarify long-term natural gas pipeline contract regulations announced in June.

Quick Facts:
— a large utility is defined as having annual revenue of $100 million or more
— the Utility and Review Board hears about 40 applications per year for spending under $1 million
— replacing a transformer at a Nova Scotia Power hydro station generally costs more than $250,000

Additional Resources:
Natural gas pipeline contracts news release:

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