It’s been the law since we were privatized in 1992. The purpose of the Board is similar to regulatory bodies in other provinces; they act as a proxy for competition by providing checks and balances to ensure we are operating prudently and spending customers’ money – your money – wisely. For example, every expenditure we propose to make over $250,000 must first be approved by the UARB. Whether we’re upgrading a dam at a hydroelectric station, building a wind farm, or even developing office space, the UARB examines the proposal to ensure we’re being as cost effective as possible, and that the expenditure itself is in the best interest of customers. We have consistent communications with the Board and regularly submit applications and reports to ensure they have oversight and approval of our activities. For example, in 2011, we filed 224 items with the UARB. As there are 251 workdays in a year, NS Power typically files daily applications to the UARB.
Under regulation, NS Power has a legal obligation to serve customers in Nova Scotia. That means we must, upon request, provide electricity to customers anywhere in Nova Scotia outside the service areas of the six municipal utilities. In deregulated electricity markets, utilities can choose to provide service to customers only where it's economically efficient to do so. Nova Scotians in remote locations have the same access to service and pay the same rates as customers in downtown Halifax, or those located next door to a power plant.
Electricity rates must be set based on the cost of providing service in Nova Scotia, with the expectation of a reasonable return. Regulation ensures we are operating as we’re supposed to, and that any changes in electricity prices reflect the true cost of making and delivering it to Nova Scotians.