Electricity System Review Oped

first_imgThroughout the last year, government has been speaking to Nova Scotians about the province’s electricity future. We commissioned expert studies. We met with companies and community groups. We spoke to Nova Scotians — more than 1,300 people from communities throughout the province — in person, online and by phone. The result is our Electricity Review Report, the first of its kind in more than a decade. The review and the year-long consultation process confirmed that there are opportunities, even in our relatively small energy market, for more competition, more consumer control and more transparency. We learned that, ultimately, Nova Scotians care about this province’s energy future. People told us they want long-term rate stabilization and more predictable costs on their power bills. They want more accountability and transparency in how electricity rates are set. And they support a focus on renewable energy and innovation, when it makes financial sense. Most importantly, Nova Scotians want to be part of a long-term, sustainable and cost-effective path forward, one that benefits ratepayers today while protecting our environment for future generations. And that’s exactly what we will deliver this fall with our electricity plan. The plan will bring more stability and predictability to rates, and, for the first time, will outline performance standards for Nova Scotia Power. It will explore ways to increase connections with our neighbours, including looking at regional co-operation, and will give consumers more control over how and when they use electricity. It will also explore ways to innovate, with a focus on managing our energy resources and getting more out of our current system. The plan will also outline how government will support strategic economic development, and opportunities for innovation in the energy sector. In 2013, we made a promise to Nova Scotians to break Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly and put the people of this province first. And I am proud to say we’ve kept that promise. In 2013, we introduced the Electricity Reform Act, which, in addition to setting the stage for our electricity review consultation, also paved the way for renewable energy producers to sell directly to consumers in this province, increasing competition and, for the first time, giving Nova Scotians a choice in where they buy their power. Of course, this process takes time, and it is market driven. But by next spring, we expect that consumers will start seeing some options in the marketplace. I want to thank everyone who participated in our electricity review. Your comments help inform a long-term plan, one that puts Nova Scotia on a clear and sustainable path forward. I look forward to sharing it with all Nova Scotians this fall. To read the Electricity Review final report, visit www.novascotia.ca/electricityfuture . -30-last_img read more