Halifax – Having drained more than $3 billion in profits from the people of Nova Scotia since privatization in 1992, Nova Scotia Power is now trying to get a 10 per cent rate hike while also increasing its rate of return. Meanwhile, Nova Scotians pay some of the highest electricity bills in the country and receive mediocre service in return.
As a solution, many people have proposed returning all or part of Nova Scotia Power to public ownership. However, there is a lack of clarity about the mechanism, costs and impact of such a move, which is why the NSNDP is calling for a study of the options for change.
“Many people are incredibly frustrated with a private, for-profit monopoly that delivers poor services at high costs,” said Claudia Chender, NDP Natural Resources and Renewables spokesperson. “There are many questions about what public ownership would look like, how much it would cost, and what should happen to the grid. The NDP’s plan is to require a study to answer these questions and report back to the legislature on options for the ownership of electrical generation and distribution.”
Nova Scotia Power made $241 million in profits in 2021. Emera’s CEO made $8.28 million last year, while other executives also pocketed multi-million dollar compensation packages. These salaries have provoked outrage from people in Nova Scotia for decades.
“With rising bills, hostility towards the fledgling renewables industries, and unreliable service, the utility isn’t working for Nova Scotians,” said Chender. “So we need to know the facts. Once all the facts are on the table, the people and their elected representatives can decide what to do about the future of Nova Scotia Power.”
The NDP is proposing a suite of new legislation to help lower people’s power bills, restrict Nova Scotia Power’s profits, and address the climate emergency. Recently, Chender introduced legislation to change the mandate of the Utility and Review Board to include equity and sustainability, and a second bill to restrict Nova Scotia Power’s profits unless they meet a series of performance standards.