NDPs outline policy on electricity rates

The New Democrats held a news conference Friday to outline their policy on electricity and how to reduce costs to consumers.

New Democrat Leader James Rod accused Liberal leader Robert Ghiz and Energy Minister Richard Brown of failing Islanders when it comes to electricity rates.

The NDP held a news conference Friday to outline their policy on electricity and how to reduce costs to consumers.
NDP leader James Rodd held a press conference Friday to give his party's policy on electricity rates. (CBC)

"The Liberal government has mishandled numerous opportunities to deliver more competitive power rates for Islanders," Rodd said in a release.

"Starting with its early attempt to hitch the province’s power wagon to another failed Liberal government, [and] the former Shawn Graham administration in New Brunswick."

Lower Churchill Falls deal

Rodd said that led to P.E.I.'s failure to be at the table with Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams when the Lower Churchill Falls deal was inked.

"This agreement will deliver lower long-term power rates to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador but not to P.E.I."

Rodd said life would continue to be less affordable for families as electricity rates rise.

He also said local businesses wouldn’t be able to compete against other Atlantic firms, leading to limited business development and jobs.

The party’s plan to reduce rates includes creating a public utility for the management and distribution of electricity, and installing a third transmission cable to "enhance energy security and allow for the trading of wind power for hydroelectric power on an Atlantic Provinces grid."
P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams and former New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham smile at the Churchill Falls power station. (Kevin Bissett/Canadian Press)

He also wants to rework wind farm royalties so that money can go to taxpayers, not shareholders.

Rodd said he really wants to sit down with the premiers of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure P.E.I. is guaranteed long-term access to affordable hydro power from the Lower Churchill Falls development.

He said if his party was in power, they would seek a long-term contract of at least 25 years to guarantee low-electricity rates.

"That’s a much more appropriate and pro-active approach than the Liberals’ cynical move to buy rate reductions with millions of taxpayer dollars."

Rodd said that the NDP plan would deliver lower electricity rates over time and keep them that way while creating new opportunities for households, farmers and small businesses to become power generators.

He said P.E.I. is too dependent on fossil fuels, and there’s only a two-week backup plan of Bunker C fuel oil if things were to get "nasty on the global oil scene."

"This is a very risky path that the Liberals are leading the province down. One has to wonder if the lights are already out at the Premier’s office," he said.