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Regulator against Nova Scotia plan to reduce electricity rates

Staff writer |
Nova Scotia's utilities regulator has blocked a plan by the provincial government that was aimed at reducing electricity rates in 2015.

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The government had promised rates would temporarily drop in the new year as it wanted most Nova Scotia Power customers to stop paying a monthly energy efficiency charge. But the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board says the $53 million in fees will remain in place to help cover the utility's rising fuel costs.

The board says Nova Scotia Power customers would otherwise be hit with steep rate increase next year as the utility would be required to pay off about $100 million in fuel costs that were not recovered.

The board's decision says Nova Scotia Power will also use $33 million in projected over-earnings to pay down its fuel bill, which will effectively keep rates stable next year.

Lawyers for the province argued that the government had promised rate relief in 2015, but the board concluded that delaying repayment of fuel costs would add $7.5 million in interest.

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