The Energy and Utilities Board has rejected a plea by NB Power for an interim rate increase.

The utility asked the EUB to approve a two per cent hike for April, a full month before its scheduled rate hearing. 

If permitted, the hike would have added $3.8 million to the company's coffers.  

John Furey, the lawyer for NB Power, said the utility is falling behind in its aggressive 10-year financial plan to retire debt and needs all the money it can raise.

"We are behind in that goal. Every dollar matters," said Furey on Wednesday.

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Ray Gorman, chairman of the Energy and Utilities Board, delivers the board's decision to deny an interim rate hike to NB Power. (CBC)

Both the public intervenor and lawyers for JD Irving opposed the request. 

In delivering the decision, Ray Gorman, EUB chairperson, said there was "no clear evidence presented" the denial of an interim hike would have a "deleterious impact" on NB Power and "mere evidence of a shortfall is not sufficient."

Gorman said an interim hike could be granted in "exceptional circumstances" only and the board was not satisfied such was the case in this instance. 

The company will now have to wait for a full hearing in May where it will have to justify the two per cent increase.