Nova Scotia

N.S. Power deal may see 6% rate increase over 2 years

Nova Scotia Power, consumer advocates and industry stakeholders reached a deal regarding a power rate increase of three per cent over each of the next two years.

Utility will meet with poverty advocates

Nova Scotia Power, consumer advocates and industry stakeholders reached a deal regarding a power rate increase of three per cent over each of the next two years.

The various groups agreed at a Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing Friday to the rate increase unchanged from the utility's original request.

The deal should eliminate rate increases in 2015 and 2016 to recover costs that have been deferred.

"What we've done is knocked off the revenue requirement by approximately 30-million dollars," John Merrick, a consumer advocate, told reporters Friday afternoon.

"It'll be three per cent in 2013 and three per cent in 2014 and the rate should stay about the same in the following eight years because it amortizes the deferred amount."

The increase would kick in Jan. 1, 2013.

The deal is the result of bargaining outside the hearing room and will go back to the UARB for public hearings on Tuesday.

The agreement was panned by Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative party leader Jamie Baillie, who opposes what he characterizes as back room deal-making.

"There is no joy in Mudville tonight. This is what's wrong with the process. After all the horse trading, that I was hoping to avoid, we're still facing a six per cent increase over two years. What more evidence do we need that this process is broken?" Baillie said Friday.

Earlier today, Nova Scotia Power and a group that advocates for low-income Nova Scotians have agreed to another nine months of talks regarding customers that have trouble paying their electricity.

N.S. Power will meet with advocates representing people who live in poverty over that time.

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