Nova Scotia Power customers will soon be able to pay their bills with a credit card, but the use of plastic will come with an added fee.

"It's not unusual for us to get several calls a day from customers who say 'hey, why can't I pay with my credit card?' and it just feels like we should get with the times and do that," said David Rodenhiser, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Power.

People who want to charge their bill will pay on a third-party website that is linked to the Nova Scotia Power site.

But customers will have a service fee tacked on to their bill if they choose the new option. The utility will charge $5.95 for every $300 payment or a portion thereof.

"The reason they'll do this that way, is to ensure the expense of using a credit card transaction is paid for by the individual customer, and not all customers," Rodenhiser said.

Potential debt

Linda Wilke, a credit counselor, said some people may be tempted to use a credit card to collect points, but it could also lead to more debt.

"If it means your lights are going to get turned off, it might be a good thing on a one time shot if you absolutely needed to, but as an ongoing feature, I don't think it's a good idea." she said.

"You're also going to end up paying a significant, potentially significant amount in interest," she warned.

Nova Scotia Power has sent a request to start the new payment system to the Utility and Review Board. The service will start on December 20, barring any opposition from the UARB. But Rodenhiser said the review board has asked them to reconsider their credit card policy in the past.