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Power struggle: EfficiencyOne prepares for ‘contested hearing’ with NS Power at UARB hearing in June

EfficiencyOne CEO Allan Crandlemire speaks at the Smart Energy 2015 Event at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax on April 14.
EfficiencyOne CEO Allan Crandlemire speaks at the Smart Energy 2015 Event at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax on April 14.

TC MEDIA - Sparks may fly at an upcoming Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing this June.

During a keynote speech April 14, Efficiency One (E1) chief executive officer Allan Crandlemire noted differences of opinion between Nova Scotia Power, Inc. and E1.

It will be a contested hearing,” said Crandlemire at the 2015 Smart Energy Event in Halifax.

The utility board hearing at the will seek to determine the level of activity and investment in renewable electricity in the years 2016-18 in Nova Scotia.

“I think it’s a fair comment that Efficiency Nova Scotia and NS Power would come from different places when it comes to the level of (demand-side management.)”

April 10, NS Power filed evidence with the board indicating E1’s proposal of 135 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $40 million annually “does not go far enough in considering affordability for NS Power customers.”

Specifically, the power corporation argues E1’s spending is among the highest in Canada – on both a per-capita basis and a per-customer basis, and that the level of demand-side investment proposed is significantly more than required to avoid capacity investments by NSP.

Instead, NSP is proposing 100 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $22 million annually, arguing it would “enable NS Power to avoid adding any additional generation capacity until 2032.”

The government removed the Efficiency Nova Scotia charge on NS Power customers’ bills in January 2015 and created E1, which operates as the province’s electricity efficiency utility. Since then, E1 and NSP have committed to sit down to plan a number of programs that would help with efficiency and to sort out those costs.

No common ground could be found, however, when it came to costs.

“[E1] was very focused on their $40 million plan,” said NSP spokesperson Sasha Irving. “We’re pretty far apart on costs.”

Crandlemire said differences in the two proposals are rooted in the two entities’ conflicting goals.

“NS Power is in the business of selling electricity; they’re a profit making company as such,” he said. “Efficiency Nova Scotia’s single business right now is saving electricity … and we know that over the long haul it’s cheaper to save electricity than it is to generate more.”

Still, NS Power contends the E1 plan is not in the best interest of its customers. David Pickles of ICF International, a U.S.-based policy consulting firm, argued for NSP there are other problems with the E1 proposal.

“[The proposal] does not support the level of oversight, information and management supervision necessary to ensure prudent delivery of the programs,” Pickles stated.

NS Power estimates on average, a $20 million increase would put a 1.7 per cent pressure on ratepayers bills while $40 million would amount to around 3.1 per cent pressure. This doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in rates since there are other factors at play.

Crandlemire, who is retiring as CEO of E1 this year, expects the UARB to issue a ruling this summer.

During a keynote speech April 14, Efficiency One (E1) chief executive officer Allan Crandlemire noted differences of opinion between Nova Scotia Power, Inc. and E1.

It will be a contested hearing,” said Crandlemire at the 2015 Smart Energy Event in Halifax.

The utility board hearing at the will seek to determine the level of activity and investment in renewable electricity in the years 2016-18 in Nova Scotia.

“I think it’s a fair comment that Efficiency Nova Scotia and NS Power would come from different places when it comes to the level of (demand-side management.)”

April 10, NS Power filed evidence with the board indicating E1’s proposal of 135 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $40 million annually “does not go far enough in considering affordability for NS Power customers.”

Specifically, the power corporation argues E1’s spending is among the highest in Canada – on both a per-capita basis and a per-customer basis, and that the level of demand-side investment proposed is significantly more than required to avoid capacity investments by NSP.

Instead, NSP is proposing 100 kWh per year at a cost of approximately $22 million annually, arguing it would “enable NS Power to avoid adding any additional generation capacity until 2032.”

The government removed the Efficiency Nova Scotia charge on NS Power customers’ bills in January 2015 and created E1, which operates as the province’s electricity efficiency utility. Since then, E1 and NSP have committed to sit down to plan a number of programs that would help with efficiency and to sort out those costs.

No common ground could be found, however, when it came to costs.

“[E1] was very focused on their $40 million plan,” said NSP spokesperson Sasha Irving. “We’re pretty far apart on costs.”

Crandlemire said differences in the two proposals are rooted in the two entities’ conflicting goals.

“NS Power is in the business of selling electricity; they’re a profit making company as such,” he said. “Efficiency Nova Scotia’s single business right now is saving electricity … and we know that over the long haul it’s cheaper to save electricity than it is to generate more.”

Still, NS Power contends the E1 plan is not in the best interest of its customers. David Pickles of ICF International, a U.S.-based policy consulting firm, argued for NSP there are other problems with the E1 proposal.

“[The proposal] does not support the level of oversight, information and management supervision necessary to ensure prudent delivery of the programs,” Pickles stated.

NS Power estimates on average, a $20 million increase would put a 1.7 per cent pressure on ratepayers bills while $40 million would amount to around 3.1 per cent pressure. This doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in rates since there are other factors at play.

Crandlemire, who is retiring as CEO of E1 this year, expects the UARB to issue a ruling this summer.

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