Nova Scotia Power Inc. is looking to increase power rates for all Nova Scotians by 12 per cent at the beginning of next year.
“We are experiencing the very same thing our customers are experiencing” when it comes to the rising cost of energy, said Ralph Tedesco, president and CEO of the utility.
If the Utility and Review Board supports the increase, the jump will happen Jan. 1, 2009.
Premier Rodney MacDonald said his government will do everything it can to ensure the utility does not “gouge” Nova Scotians.
“I will tell you that we will go through it (the application) with a fine-tooth comb and we will stand up for Nova Scotians on this issue.”
Nova Scotia Power faced tough questions last month after its quarterly profits showed the utility had increased its revenue by about $30 million since the previous quarter.
Critics complained about the sizable profit while customers faced increasing rates. Tedesco said revenue is usually up in the first quarter because it’s winter and customers are using a lot of power.
New Democrat Leader Darrell Dexter said the utility’s move underlines what a poor decision it was for the government to scrap the eight per cent tax rebate on electricity for Nova Scotians in this year’s budget.
“Regardless of what the UARB will decide, that eight per cent will be a fixed increase for all power users in the province, so even if they were to come back at seven per cent instead of 12, that’s still a 15 per cent increase,” he said.