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NB Power files General Rate Application with Energy and Utilities Board for 2017/18

2016-10-04


Fredericton, N.B. –  NB Power has filed its General Rate Application with the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) containing evidence in support of a rate increase that will average out at two per cent across all rate classes starting April 1st, 2017. This increase allows the utility to continue repaying debt while also investing in outage prevention and customer reliability, and maintaining the lowest electricity rates in the Maritimes provinces.                                                                 

For the first time in nearly a decade, certain customer classes could receive slightly different rate increases based on a methodology approved by the EUB in May 2016. Customers in the General Service 1 category, which includes most small businesses, some schools and community groups, could see slightly less than the average two per cent requested. Residential customers could see an increase slightly higher than the average. If approved by the EUB, these differential rate increases are intended to promote greater fairness among the rate classes based on the cost to serve each customer class.

“We recognize that any increase can be a challenge for our customers. That’s why we are cushioning the impact by continuing to invest in energy efficiency programs that provide cash rebates and other incentives for NB Power customers to reduce their energy use,” said Darren Murphy, Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President of Corporate Services for NB Power. “Modest increases now will help us make financial progress on our debt, which will protect our customers over the long term. Meanwhile, we will continue to pursue internal cost savings and continue to invest in customer reliability through advanced grid technology, infrastructure projects, vegetation management and greater adoption of clean energy on our grid."

This request for a rate increase is made in the context of two significant factors:

  • NB Power’s operating variability and its impact on debt reduction.
  • The pending decision on the Mactaquac Generating Station and its expected impact on debt.

In the normal course of operations, NB Power is subject to significant variability in its net earnings due to factors largely outside it’s control.  This includes the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar; a decrease in in-province demand for electricity; the increasing variability of the impact of weather on both hydro production and the demand for electricity; and the market price of certain fuels like natural gas; which are not only an input cost for NB Power but also heavily influence the market price of electricity in New England which is a key import and export market for the utility. 

Additional revenue in 2017-18 will allow the utility to offset the impact of these external factors while continuing to build equity and pay down debt in advance of the significant costs associated with the future options for the Mactaquac Generating Station.  It will also allow for some necessary investments in the non-nuclear side of Point Lepreau Generating Station, improving station performance and reliability for years to come.

Today's filing will allow the EUB and various stakeholders to review the evidence in preparation for a hearing expected in 2017. The Evidence document can be accessed on the New Brunswick's Energy and Utilities Board website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Deborah Nobes, Communications, (506) 458-4838 or dnobes@nbpower.com