Non-stop power increases becoming harder to bear

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When is it going to end? News that the Utility and Review Board has given Nova Scotia Power a six per cent hike over two years is not going to be well received by those people who are already struggling to make ends meet. Merry Christmas everyone!

For several years, Nova Scotia Power has asked for, and received, successive rate hikes that have pushed many people to the edge of insolvency. While $3.50 a month on the average power bill may not seem like much to some, it's just another line in a mountain of bills for those who are struggling from month to month to heat their homes, feed and clothe their children and, if they're lucky, pay for a car to get them to their minimum wage job.

Nova Scotia Power says it's being crippled by economic conditions and a reliance on expensive coal to feed a seemingly insatiable thirst for electricity. We cannot forget it has also lost some major customers - temporarily and permanently - and has to make up the shortfall the only way it knows how, by socking it to the average ratepayer.

As much as we cannot afford to have our power company tumbling into financial ruin, Nova Scotians expect some form of a cost certainty when it comes to paying their power bills. We constantly hear that by conserving energy and making smart choices we can save money on our power bills. Has anyone actually saved a dime, or have the almost non-stop rate increases eaten up any potential savings most consumers may get?

At the same time, we have to wonder why government is sitting back and doing nothing about it. Several years ago, when they were in opposition, the Darrell Dexter New Democrats screamed the loudest at the seemingly unfair power rate increases and the government of the day's inaction dealing with Nova Scotia Power.

As we prepare to head into a new year, one that's likely to include a provincial election, Premier Dexter needs to tell Nova Scotians how his government plans to hold the power company accountable. The power company needs to realize its requests for more money should not be rubberstamped. It must be willing to justify why it needs to go back to the well time and time again. The way things are now, many in this province believe they are being gouged and asked to say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power, Utility and Review Board, Darrell Dexter New Democrats

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Recent comments

  • Mary Kinkaid
    December 29, 2012 - 14:19

    How about the government turning down their heat in some offices and buildings like we have to at home to save cost.

  • Darrell Dickler
    December 24, 2012 - 08:39

    Perhaps if Mr. Dexter cutback on the amount of trips he took on NSPs corporate jet and NSP dropped a couple undeserving multimillion dollar salaries they wouldn't have to increase the rates every quarter.

  • Qloos
    December 24, 2012 - 04:58

    $3.50/month + 6% increase 3.5 * 1.06 = 3.71 3.71 * 12 = 44.52 Wow, 44 dollars. Or an increase of $2.52 for the entire year! This is for a system that enables you to do almost everything you take for granted in your lives. Refrigerate food, light your room so you can read, light the streets so you can drive. It's even powering the machine that enables you to read this comment right now. Do people seriously think it's easy to maintain an electrical grid? It takes alot of maintenance. Of all the expenses I have to pay for, electricity is one of the last ones I'm going to complain about.

  • John in Whitbourne, NL
    December 23, 2012 - 23:54

    The primary rationale for the Lower Churchill Project is stable power rates. The hubub seems to have abated now that the NL Government has officially sanctioned it. If the initial project succeeds, there are an additional 2,000 MW available at the Gull Island site. The NS Government appears to be lined up for the first phase of the project. Of course, you can always climb into bed with Hydro Quebec. They would never try to screw another province of Canada.

  • Vendicar Decarian
    December 23, 2012 - 22:09

    What is the inflation rate?