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Nova Scotia regulator approves 14% electricity rate hike, defying premier

Rates will rise on average by 6.9% each year in 2023 and 2024

Nova Scotia regulators approved a 14 per cent electricity rate hike on Thursday, defying calls by Premier Tim Houston to reject the increase.

Rates will rise on average by 6.9 per cent each year in 2023 and 2024.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board issued a 203-page decision ratifying most of the elements in a settlement agreement reached between Nova Scotia Power and customer groups after Houston’s government legislated a rate, spending and profit cap on the utility in November.

The board said approval was in the public interest and the increase is “reasonable and appropriate.”

“The board cannot simply disallow N.S. Power’s reasonable costs to make rates more affordable. These principles ensure fair rates and the financial health of a utility so it can continue to invest in the system providing services to its customers. While the board can (and has) disallowed costs found to be imprudent or unreasonable, absent such a finding, N.S. Power’s costs must be reflected in the rates,” the three-member panel wrote.

In addition to the 14 per cent hike, the board maintained N.S. Power’s current return on equity of 9 per cent, with an earnings band of 8.75 to 9.25 per cent. It agreed in principle to establish a decarbonization deferral account to pay for the retirement of coal plants and related decommissioning costs, and implemented a storm cost recovery rider for a three-year trial period.

The board rejected several items in the agreement, including rolling some Maritime Link transmission capital projects into consumers’ rates. [Read More]