Goodbye guarantee

September 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Baillie says NS Power’s guaranteed profit must go

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie believes the power company’s guaranteed profit must go. It’s the first key step in fixing a broken, out-of-control system that he likened to “watching a trainwreck”.

In a speech in Dartmouth today, Baillie outlined his plan to dismantle Nova Scotia Power’s guaranteed profit deal. The latest settlement agreement guarantees a nine per cent return on equity. Nova Scotia Power’s profits hit a record high $123.5 million last year.

Baillie asked the audience, “How many of you could make costly mistakes, ignore customer service, raise your prices so high your customer can’t afford them, force some customers out of business, and still clear nine per cent?”

Part of Baillie’s plan includes standard of service penalties. He says the company should pay penalties for service failings and poor cost management, like the kind alleged in the recent audit that says the power company racked up $22 million in “avoidable” or “imprudent” costs.

“Contracts like this are in place in other areas. Even places where Emera operates,” said Baillie. “We can make the power company work for us, not Emera. They will lose money when they let customers down. It’s our money. We can demand better.”

Baillie concluded his remarks by taking aim at the NDP’s unaffordable scheme and the Liberals’ plan to recycle a failed idea.

“We will put affordability first, unlike the Liberals and the NDP,” said Baillie. “They both have plans that are proven to raise rates. We’re living with the NDP’s plan now and Liberals’ idea already failed in Ontario, BC and New Brunswick.”

Today’s announcement is the newest piece of a package of legislation and reforms that change the ground rules for the power company’s operations in Nova Scotia. A PC government will eliminate Nova Scotia Power’s guaranteed profit, remove executive bonuses from power rates for good, stop the company’s pension bailout, rip up the NDP government’s expensive electricity plan, pursue $1 billion in savings through regional cooperation and demand an independent review of Muskrat Falls.

Baillie had a message for the Premier, “Bring back the House and let’s work together to give Nova Scotians some relief on their power bills.”