Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservatives issued a five-point energy plan on Tuesday that they say could freeze power rates in the province for the next five years.
The party said if elected, it would change regulations to slow the introduction of new renewable energy projects.
If the Tories form the next government they promise to:
- Extend the deadline from 2020 until 2025 to source 40 per cent of the province's electricity from renewable sources such as wind and hydro. They said this would reduce the cost to ratepayers, giving them "a breather."
- Scrap the fuel adjustment mechanism, handing back the bill to Nova Scotia Power when coal or natural gas prices rise above what was predicted.
- Amend the Public Utilities Act to remove a guaranteed annual profit for Nova Scotia Power, currently set at 9.1 per cent. Set performance-based standards for service, similar to models in Maine and Alberta.
- Use the Utility and Review Board to require Nova Scotia Power to use and secure more natural gas to keep rates down.
- Establish a Maritime Energy grid with one system operator to move electricity for the three provincial utilities and municipal utilties around the region.
Nova Scotia Power wouldn't comment on the energy policy.
Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the utility would adapt to his party's proposed changes.
"They have enjoyed 30 per cent increases in their power rates. They have the money they need to run that company. Nova Scotians now need a breather. That’s why we're freezing the rates for five years," he said.
"As new premier, I will make policy changes like extending the renewable energy targets and I fully expect the executive of Nova Scotia Power, who are very well paid, can figure it out from there."
Premier Darrell Dexter said getting tough on Nova Scotia Power could send the wrong message to business.
"It would be seen, I think, as one of the most hostile acts by any government towards a private company," he said. "It would mean a dirtier environment. It would mean ultimately much, much higher costs to Nova Scotians."