CBC Online News | Updated Aug. 18, 2006
Bernard Lord's Tory government is hoping a set of sweeping energy reforms will eliminate one of the election campaign's biggest pocketbook issues: the rising cost of energy.
Lord's minority government introduced the changes last spring, just as the government seemed certain to fall on a budget vote and the province was facing a perfect storm of energy-cost problems.
New Brunswickers had just limped through a mercifully short winter that saw the price of home heating fuel skyrocket. Gasoline prices remained at record highs, and NB Power was trying to convince the province's regulatory agency to allow a rate hike of nearly 13 per cent for residential and industrial customers.
Voters were cranky and tired of paying energy costs that seemed to be spiralling out of control. That's when Lord sidestepped the entire issue with a surprise $100-million energy policy that appeared to be lifted right of the playbook of the far left.
Now, after two months of gas price regulation that has kept drivers paying well more than $1 a litre of regular unleaded gasoline, and an as-yet unfulfilled promise to remove provincial sales tax from all home heating bills, it's up to the voters to decide whether the energy plan is enough to give the Tories another chance at governing.
Lord's new power plan:
Changes for NB Power
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- From Mar. 29, 2006:
Tory budget projects surplus despite new spending
- From Mar. 27, 2006:
Lord's budget to relieve energy rate shock
- From Mar. 20, 2006:
PUB hears final arguments on power hikes
- From Feb. 28, 2006:
PUB wants details on secret Irving power deal
- From Feb. 16, 2006:
Utility may be forced to explain Orimulsion boondoggle
- From Feb. 15, 2006:
NB Power has too much freedom: PUB boss
- From Feb. 14, 2006:
NB Power guesses tax bill, ignores law
- From Feb. 8, 2006:
Rate hike must come with help for poor, PUB hears
- From Dec. 12, 2005:
Free market oil prices give consumers cold comfort
- From Dec. 14, 2005:
High heating costs prompt calls for inquiry
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