We’re known as a vertically integrated electric utility, meaning we’re present in all aspects of the electricity supply chain in Nova Scotia - generation, transmission, and distribution. We generate electricity from local, imported, and renewable fuels, and transport it through our transmission lines so it can be distributed via smaller lines in local areas throughout the province. We hold a near monopoly on the supply and delivery of electricity in return for an obligation to serve all customers in Nova Scotia.
This structure is common, especially in Canada, due to characteristics that make electricity production and delivery different from many other industries. Because customers use varying amounts of electricity throughout the day, it needs to be produced instantly and on demand to ensure there is always an adequate supply available. As electricity is then delivered through wires over a wide geographical area, a single company can effectively operate a central control hub to generate and dispatch new electricity when needed and ensure predictable and unforeseen changes in demand can be met. It also makes sense that there wouldn’t be two or more companies with competing sets of poles and wires, simply due to the high cost and inefficiencies of setting up and operating two similar networks.
In many jurisdictions, there is competition among generating utilities to supply electricity to customers via monopoly-owned wires. In some places, one company may own the power plants and other sources of electricity while another owns the transmission lines, with smaller companies owning localized distribution lines within cities, towns, or municipalities.