Nova Scotia

Bowater mill requests discount on power

Bowater executives have opened their case for a special five-year discounted rate for electricity, but the consumer advocate is against it.

Representatives of the Bowater paper mill in Brooklyn have opened their case for a special five-year discounted rate for electricity.

A hearing before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board kicked off Monday in Halifax.

Both Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. and NewPage Port Hawkesbury, which is closed indefinitely, have applied for a load retention tariff that would mean higher power rates for other consumers.

In an opening statement, Bowater Mersey CEO Brad Pelley said the mill's future was "bleak" without the special rate.

"We believe the board fully understands the importance of our mill to the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia and in fact the significant impact on other areas and businesses throughout the province," he said.

Pelley wouldn't give any guarantees about the mill's future when cross-examined by consumer advocate Bill Mahody.

Pelley would not say whether the mill would close if it didn't get the discount.

"The probability of us continuing operations is improved if we are granted the tariff," he said later.

Consumer advocate against proposal

Mahody opposes the application from the two mills. He said Bowater has not made a proper argument and any new owner of the NewPage mill should make its own case.

NewPage Port Hawkesbury is in creditor protection. A court-appointed monitor is trying to find a buyer for the plant.

Company officials are scheduled to appear before the review board on Tuesday.