Nova Scotia Power asked by province's premier to 'withdraw' request to increase its return on equity to 9.6% due to slated shutdown of NewPage's paper mill in Port Hawkesbury; utility suggests multi-year rate plan to 'smooth' hikes in electricity rates

LOS ANGELES , August 24, 2011 () – Nova Scotia Power Inc. has been asked by the province’s premier not to seek an increase in its return on equity, due to the slated indefinite shutdown of NewPage Corp.’s paper mill in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, next month, reported The Canadian Press (CP) on Aug. 23.

The rate hike would come at a bad time, as 1,000 workers will lose their jobs when the paper mill shuts down, Premier Darrell Dexter said on Tuesday, after meeting with mill executives.

Hearings on the power rate hike are set for September. Halifax-based Nova Scotia Power is requesting that its return on investment rate be increased to 9.6% from 9.35%, the CP reported.

Nova Scotia Power will meet Thursday with customer representatives who are to appear before the upcoming rate hearings, said company spokesperson David Rodenhiser.

The discussions will center on a possible plan to ‘smooth’ electricity rate increases over a number of years, said Rodenhiser, adding that return on equity will remain one of the issues discussed, reported the CP.

Dexter said that there needs to be realistic expectations not just about the cost basis for industry but also for residential electric ratepayers.

In June, two paper mills filed applications for lower electricity rates with the province’s Utilities and Review Board. One was NewPage and the other was Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd. of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, the CP reported.

The primary source of this article is The Canadian Press, Toronto, Ontario, on Aug. 23, 2011.

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