The following letter was submitted to the Chronicle-Herald in early November 2004. It was never published.

Nova Scotia's new Electricity Act

Did you know that Nova Scotia has a new Electricity Act?

According to Energy Minister Cecil Clarke, the Act will make renewable sources of energy more attractive to developers because "Nova Scotia offers many excellent locations for using the wind to generate electricity".

The Minister is too modest. Admittedly, the Electricity Act mentions renewable energy, but it does much, much more -- it allows Nova Scotia's six municipal electrical companies to purchase electricity from sources other than Nova Scotia Power (NSPI), and it requires NSPI to "develop and file ... an approved open access transmission tariff", to "ensure open and non-discriminatory access to wholesale customers", and to "develop and maintain a system to facilitate the import and export of electricity from the Province".

But isn't this a good thing?

Yes, for NSPI. Although meeting the requirements of the Act could cost NSPI up to 1.6 percent of its market share, the Act will ensure that NSPI becomes compliant with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Orders 888 and 889.

NSPI had to comply with these FERC Orders to meet a January 2005 deadline imposed by the New Brunswick Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities. Failure to have met this deadline would have meant that NSPI could no longer sell electricity to New Brunswick or the New England states.

Something to think about when your electricity rates go up.