It’s expected residential power bills will go up 7.5 per cent early next year.

The first step came Thursday, when the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (URAB) made a decision on the first of three components of the decision to increase bills.

The first component, the base fuel cost, is up 0.4 per cent for all customers.

Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is asking the URAB’s permission to charge residential customers 7.5 per cent more. Commercial customers will likely pay about 9.5 per cent more in 2011, while industrial users will likely pay about 12.5 per cent more.

The forecasted hike will be confirmed in December when the other two components are set. URAB will release their decision in January.