Nova Scotia

PCs, Liberals to challenge power rate hikes

The Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties both plan to challenge Nova Scotia's Power's proposed nine per cent rate hike for homeowners at a public hearing next month.

The Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties both plan to challenge Nova Scotia Power's proposed nine per cent rate hike for homeowners at a public hearing next month.

The Conservatives have launched a blog  to engage voters on the issue.

Leader Jamie Baillie said NDP policies aimed at generating more electricity from renewable sources deserve some of the blame for higher prices.

He said that is hurting businesses and families, so he plans to challenge the hikes at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing.

"The NDP has decided it's time to bite the bullet and pay more. I don't agree with that," he said Wednesday.

"I think we have to find a reasonable balance between some of those environmental goals and protecting jobs and the economy. How much of this power rate increase is because of NDP policy? Let's find out. That's exactly the line of questioning we intend to pursue when we get to the UARB hearings."

NSP forecasting 20% rise

Nova Scotia Power has issued forecasts  showing the price of electricity could rise by as much as 20 per cent over the next three years. The NDP has passed legislation mandating that 25 per  cent of electricity must come from green sources by 2015. That number rises to 40 per cent by 2020.

Premier Darrell Dexter said the investment will pay off in the long term.

"You have a choice at this point. Every single year as the cost of fossil fuels continues to increase, you're going to continue to see large increases in power rates," he said.

"We are making capital investments now that yes, cost money to do, but what it means is you will stabilize the rates over time."

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