February 20 2024, 11:02 AM
From Lori Clark, President and CEO
Skyrocketing housing prices, astronomically high-priced items on grocery store shelves and ever-increasing pain at the pumps: it’s no secret that New Brunswickers are facing higher prices on their everyday needs. Life in 2024 is resulting in many NB Power customers struggling to keep their heads above water financially due to the myriad of market, inflationary and ever-evolving industry forces at work in our society today.
0n December 15, 2023, NB Power made the difficult decision to ask the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) to grant an electricity rate increase. We knew this request would be a tough one for New Brunswickers to hear and we’re truly taking to heart the concerns being raised in response.
On January 29, we asked the EUB to grant an interim rate increase related to this General Rate Application. Since then, there have been many questions and the topic continues to be discussed in the media, so we wanted to set the record straight.
NB Power is a cost-of-service utility, which means our rates must cover the costs of delivering electricity to New Brunswickers.
We had planned to file our rate application in October 2023 as mandated by the EUB but asked for an extension following news that the provincial government extended our 80/20 debt-equity target from 2027 to 2029.
We welcomed this news as it meant there was an opportunity to lessen the rate increase on New Brunswickers. Ultimately, it meant a reduction of approximately 8% in our rate increase needs for the two-year application. This provided New Brunswickers with significant near-term benefit.
It also meant a delay in our filing with the EUB as our team worked diligently to fully understand the impacts, leading us to file two months later. At a time when we’re doing everything we can to reduce cost pressures on customers while continuing to provide New Brunswickers with the electricity they need when they need it, the delay was definitely worth it as it gave us a chance to fully evaluate how much the increase could be lowered for our customers.
The delay in filing, while good for New Brunswickers, unfortunately means that the normal timelines for the EUB to conduct its thorough and independent review have been similarly delayed.
The rate application hearing is scheduled for May 13-28 with an expectation that we will not receive a full decision on the rate increase until July at the earliest. The work done by our analysts and independent experts supports the fact that we need an increase in residential rates of 9.8 per cent in year one and a second 9.8 per cent increase in year two in order to cover our cost of delivering electricity to New Brunswickers in the next two years.
Our revenue projections assume that the new rate will start on April 1, which is the normal course of business. This is why we’ve filed asking the EUB to grant an interim rate increase for April 1, to avoid revenue shortfall, which could put further pressure on our debt situation and lead to more tough choices and could impact our ability to properly run the business.
Our request for interim rates, or for rates to be in place for April 1, 2024, is allowed as part of the EUB’s process. It asks to increase rates on an interim basis only, pending the EUB’s final decision on the matter, which isn’t expected until July at the earliest. A hearing on the interim rate increase has been scheduled for March 1. NB Power will continue to respect the regulatory process and the EUB’s commitment to ensuring a fair process is followed to determine the rates New Brunswickers pay for power.
I want it to be clear to all New Brunswickers that if the EUB approves our interim rate request and then later issues a different decision, customers’ bills will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if the EUB approves our interim rate request now and then decides on a lower rate later, we will rebate the difference to customers.
Right now, New Brunswickers are paying among the lowest residential electricity rates in Atlantic Canada. Even with the potential rate increase, New Brunswick will still have a lower rate than Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and remain among the lowest in Eastern Canada and the U.S.
The proposed rate increase will directly impact all customers in a number of ways, including providing increased energy security now and into the future. It will also allow us to make stronger investments in energy efficiency and make needed improvements at the Point Lepreau Nuclear and Mactaquac Hydro generating stations to improve reliability. And we’re planning to make needed improvements to our customer care services.
This is not business as usual for any of us. This industry is changing. We’re excited for the future and the opportunities it brings. While change can be overwhelming, it can also yield tremendous reward if implemented carefully, and we’re continuing to make advancements to not only improve our operations and our financial position but also contribute to a brighter, more secure and prosperous future for all New Brunswickers.
June 28 2023, 13:00 PM
On May 24 and 25, 2023, we hosted our fourth annual Energizing Efficiency Conference. The Conference surpassed our goals from last year, making it a resounding success.
The event was sold out and brought together over 324 delegates, sponsors and showcase participants. It provided a thought-provoking opportunity for entertaining discussions and an inspiring atmosphere to envision a sustainable future energy landscape.
The conference served to unite like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to driving positive change in the energy sector. Through networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing, the event created a sense of collective responsibility and urgency in addressing the impacts of climate change. Attendees were inspired by the diverse range of perspectives and expertise offered by our lineup of speakers.
"Customers’ increased interest in clean energy and the electricity sector’s focus on decarbonization to reduce the impact of climate change will energize our future,” said Lori Clark, President and CEO of NB Power. “The Energizing Efficiency Conference provided a tremendous opportunity to ensure we aren’t taking a siloed approach to the global issue of climate change here in New Brunswick, but rather taking every opportunity to come together and to share ideas and set a path forward together toward realistic change.”
Under the theme of "Building Momentum" the conference emphasized the importance of taking continued action to reduce energy consumption and transition to cleaner sources. The speaker sessions provided valuable insights into the potential of energy efficiency initiatives and emphasized the need to adopt these practices on a larger scale. Participants left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, ready to champion energy efficiency measures within their industries and communities.
Lori Clark, President and CEO kicked off the conference and spoke passionately about the transformative impact that NB Power’s efficiency programs are having for many New Brunswickers by making their homes more comfortable and energy efficient.
Our keynote speaker Jamie Dinsmore from Microsoft Canada left us with an inspiring message of how Microsoft is moving from “pledges to progress” and striving to be carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 to remove all historical emissions made by the company since its inception in 1975.
Volunteers and Sponsors
The success of the 2023 Energizing Efficiency Conference would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, the active participation of the delegates and the hard work from our dedicated volunteers, who ensured the event ran smoothly and created an enjoyable experience for all. We extend our sincere thanks to all the employees who demonstrated their commitment to driving positive change in the energy sector. Together with other organizations’ support, your contributions played an essential role in creating an event that will leave a lasting impact on all attendees.
See You Next Year!
We are already in discussions about next year's conference and are excited to announce that the conference will be held on April 23-24. Make sure you save the date! Stay tuned for more updates and join us as we continue to shape a sustainable and efficient future.
April 29 2023, 10:56 AM
As a company that is committed to the safety of every employee and every member of the public, we are deeply troubled by the images that have appeared on social media showing an NB Power vehicle pushing a person involved in the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike in Oromocto today.
This behaviour is truly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by NB Power. No NB Power employees were involved in this incident, but an NB Power vehicle was involved and therefore our reputation is at risk.
The RCMP intervened, the truck was removed from the road and NB Power began an internal investigation immediately. The persons in the vehicle at the time of the incident were an instructor and two students who are part of a lineman training program. The instructor is employed by a private training company, and we have terminated his involvement with NB Power.
All of our contractors are expected to uphold the same safety standards as NB Power. We will continue to do our part to ensure the well-being of our employees and the community members we serve.
February 2 2023, 15:30 PM
We all know how quickly the weather in New Brunswick can change and this year is no different. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had snow, rain, freezing rain and now we are experiencing some very frigid temperatures. The lower the outside temperature, the more electricity we use to stay warm and energize our homes and businesses.
This week we are asking New Brunswickers to make small changes to manage their energy use during these extremely cold days and raise awareness about how we can all help reduce our electricity use. We will put a special focus on reducing peak electricity demand, which happens between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. when most people begin and wind down their days. During these peak times, we use the most expensive and least green energy to power New Brunswick.
Since about 60% of New Brunswick homes heat with electricity, the province’s consumption peaks in the winter months – double the electricity needed on a warm summer day. Extreme cold puts a lot of demand on the electricity system, which means that NB Power must use the most expensive and least green energy to meet demand.
At NB Power we are also planning to cut our energy use during this period by turning down the heat and shutting off lights and equipment that are not being used.
Small changes like taking a shorter shower, running large appliances overnight, unplugging electronics not in use, and reducing the temperature in unoccupied rooms by a degree or two can make a big difference. These small changes can help alleviate pressure on our energy grid during high demand times.
Developing these small habits can help you manage your energy use during peak demand and all year long. To learn more about peak visit our website.
When New Brunswickers use less electricity, we all win.
December 21 2022, 11:30 AM
Over the past few years, tiny homes have become a popular housing solution around the world. With their lower costs and smaller footprint, these structures are helping to reshape communities. Tiny homes have become a social movement as people look to downsize and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
New Brunswick entrepreneur Marcel LeBrun has registered over 70 tiny homes in the New Home Energy Savings Program and has completed construction on 35 homes as of fall 2022. When Marcel first contacted our efficiency team, we knew this was a special project and we were very excited to be part of it.
"Marcel is a visionary, and these are the types of projects that will help us to reach our goal of cleaner energy for the future," said Lori Clark, President and CEO of NB Power, “we are very proud to partner with Marcel on this development.”
Left to right, 12 Neighbours Community Resident, Marcel LeBrun Founder, and Lori Clark President and CEO of NB Power
Our team gave Marcel energy efficiency kits, advice tailored to the unique energy needs of tiny homes, and $10,000 in incentives for each home. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see this community take shape as a world-class example of what is possible when we create a space with dignified housing, a supportive community, and developmental opportunity. I’m very appreciative of NB Power for their guidance and support through the New Home Energy Savings Program,” said Marcel LeBrun Founder of the 12 Neighbours Community.
The homes are approximately 240 square feet and have a bathroom, a full kitchen including a 2-burner induction stovetop and apartment sized fridge, cathedral ceilings, a covered front deck, and are equipped with energy efficient LED lighting. The new homes are airtight with a thermal envelope that is 105% better than code standards, with excellent ventilation through a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV). Each home has energy efficient features such as rigid insulation, which is one of the best tools to reduce energy costs, and triple glazed windows that reduce noise and deliver greater energy. Homes are equipped with 3.3 kW of solar panels, connecting approximately 30 homes to a 600 Amp service entrance resulting in a large distributed 100 kW solar array across each group of 30 homes, keeping within the Net Metering Policy.
From left to right; Jeffrey St-Pierre, NB Power Technical Energy Advisor, Marcel Lebrun, 12 Neighbours Community Founder and Chairman, and Diane Spencer, NB Power Program Lead inside a tiny home.
Marcel is building more than just tiny homes. He is building a community. Everyone deserves safe, affordable, and permanent housing. Even more special is the vision for this community to see people overcome barriers to living a full and independent life. The community offers supports that help members achieve their personal goals, which may include substance use recovery counselling, opportunities to improve their health and education, and low barrier employment opportunities.
This community was a great opportunity for us at NB Power to learn from the vision of a local entrepreneur. We are very proud to partner with Marcel and are excited to watch this community grow and thrive.
To learn more about the tiny home community visit 12neighbours.com.
From left to right; Diane Spencer, NB Power Program Lead, Jeffrey St-Pierre, NB Power Technical Energy Advisor, and Miles Goff, Technical Energy Advisor in the 12 Neighbours Community.