New Brunswick

Efficiency New Brunswick folded into NB Power

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault has introduced a bill that would roll Efficiency New Brunswick into NB Power and give the Energy and Utilities Board oversight of energy conservation initiatives.

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says the Energy and Utilities Board will provide oversight of agency

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault has introduced a bill that would roll Efficiency New Brunswick into NB Power and give the Energy and Utilities Board oversight of energy conservation initiatives.

Arseneault pitched the change as a way to “maximize energy efficiency” initiatives for homeowners and businesses and also to save money.

“Maximizing energy efficiency will also help New Brunswick families, ensure long-term environmental sustainability in our communities, and create jobs in the construction industry through government support for home renovations,” the energy minister said in a statement.

This is the second Crown corporation that the Gallant government has scrapped in two days.

On Thursday, Premier Brian Gallant announced Invest NB and the Department of Economic Development would be replaced by a single Crown corporation, Opportunities New Brunswick.

This latest move will give NB Power control over energy efficiency initiatives. NB Power will create a new energy efficiency unit within the utility to handle these programs.

Gaëtan Thomas, the president and chief executive officer of NB Power, said in a statement the utility will actively find ways to encourage New Brunswickers to stop paying for power they do not require.

“Bringing these programs into NB Power helps us expand our efficiency investments with the goal of helping New Brunswickers reduce and shift their demand for electricity, defer the need for us to build new generation, rely more heavily on renewable energy, and keep customer rates low and stable for the foreseeable future,” he said in a statement.

Arseneault’s move also comes with an additional political element.

The chief executive officer of Efficiency New Brunswick had been Margaret-Ann Blaney, a former Progressive Conservative MLA and cabinet minister, who resigned in 2012 to take the job.

The patronage appointment became the focus of the Rothesay byelection in 2012, where even some Tories distanced themselves from the appointment.

The high-paying job had been cut by the Tory government and was supposed to be taken over by a senior public servant inside the Department of Environment and Local Government.

When the Opportunities New Brunswick legislation was introduced on Thursday, it included a clause that prevented Robert MacLeod, the president and chief executive officer of Invest NB, from collecting any severance pay and banned from suing the province over his firing two months ago.

MacLeod, a former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate and campaign co-chair, was appointed CEO of the Crown corporation by then-Premier David Alward in 2011.

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