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The NB Power head office in Fredericton. Image: Submitted/NB Power

NB Power seeks interim rate hike

By Brad Perry Feb 26, 2024 | 4:42 AM

NB Power is defending its request for a rate increase as many New Brunswickers continue to struggle with rising costs.

The utility recently applied to the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board for a 9.8 per cent increase this April.

But the hearing is not scheduled to take place until mid-May, with a full decision not expected until July at the earliest.

As a result, the utility has asked the provincial regulator for an interim rate hike to take effect on April 1.

“Our revenue projections assume that the new rate will start on April 1, which is the normal course of business,” president and CEO Lori Clark said in a statement last week.

“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.”

NB Power had to delay its initial rate application in October after the province extended its 80/20 debt-equity target from 2027 to 2029.

Because of the extension, utility officials had to go back and crunch the numbers in its rate application, leading to a weeks-long delay.

“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,” said Clark.

“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.”

NB Power said if the board approves the interim rate request and then later issues a different decision, customers’ bills will be adjusted accordingly.

A hearing on the utility’s request is scheduled to take place this Friday.