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Utility rates may go up next year for the Town of Antigonish

By Caitlin Snow Nov 29, 2023 | 4:49 PM

You might be paying more for your electric bill next year, if you live in Antigonish.

In a news release, the Town said for the first time in decades, the council directed staff to apply for a General Rate Application to Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) for an increase of 7.2% in the domestic and general service utility rates and 7.9% in the streetlights (unmetered) rates.

“A rate increase to electric utility customers is not something we welcome,” said Jeff Lawrence, the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer. “However, at our current rates, the Electric Utility cannot maintain financial stability. With the high market energy costs, we expect our cost to purchase power will be up 28% from last year.”

The Town’s Electric Utility purchases power at wholesale rate from Nova Scotia Power (NSP).

Lawrence added that a large portion of the proposed increases are due to the cost of purchasing power rising significantly while a small percentage is continued for operations, maintenance and administration.

In the spring, the Town hired BDR North America, a firm that specializes in rates and regulations to conduct a rate study. It was recently completed and presented to Town Council recommending an increase in customer rates.

Before the rates come into effect, the town needs to apply to NSUARB, then a public hearing with an opportunity for stakeholders to participate.

If the application is approved, the Town has asked the rates to come into effect April 1, 2024.

The Town’s proposed domestic rate is 12% less than NSP domestic rates. The monthly average is predicted to increase by $10.50 a month or $21 a bill.