Power bills might go down - in January 2015 – and Nova Scotia Power will fund efficiency upgrades to low-income, electrically-heated homes.
Nova Scotia’s Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced April 7 that new legislation will remove the energy efficiency tax from electricity bills next year.
"We've improved how energy efficiency programs are delivered and introduced competition for Nova Scotia Power,” Younger said in a news release. “Our approach ensures that Efficiency Nova Scotia remains independent of Nova Scotia Power, with oversight by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board."
The new provincial plan promises to set objectives to save energy, lower costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It proposes a new model for energy efficiency program delivery to ensure investments are more competitive, affordable and accountable.
Amendments to the Public Utilities Act include the addition of an energy efficiency and conservation section that: removes the efficiency tax effective Jan. 1, 2015; requires Nova Scotia Power to purchase cost effective, reasonably available energy efficiency and provides the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board with regulatory oversight of efficiency programs and to determine affordability.
“The demand side management fund established by the Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act will be wound down over the next year and the existing assets, liabilities and employees will be transferred to a new non-profit entity,” the government release said.
The government also announced that Nova Scotia Power and its parent company Emera will pay $37 million over the next decade to upgrade all low-income electrically heated homes in the province, at no cost to Nova Scotia Power customers.
According to the release, there are 20,050 low-income homes in Nova Scotia eligible for energy efficiency upgrades, including 15,435 non-electrically heated and 6,615 electrically heated homes.
"We're very pleased to see government's long-term commitment to energy efficiency programs that ensures they remain independent and competitive with a focus on low-income programs," said Chris Morrisey, executive director of Clean Nova Scotia. "Programs like free home energy upgrades for low-income homeowners save people between $565 to $900 a year. These are permanent savings Nova Scotia families will benefit from for many years to come."