The Economic Gardener May

For most of us, the extent of our knowledge about our provincial power utility, Nova Scotia Power, is quite simple. We expect electricity to be there when we turn on the switch and, we get nervous when the power bill arrives. But the fact is, the services provided by NSP and the impact power rates can have on our home budgets and our provincial economic sustainability is dramatic.

The operation of a power utility is complex , impacted by many factors, from government policy, the use of natural resources, shareholder relations, the environment, customer relations and even the weather, to name a few.

In the weeks ahead, Nova Scotia Power is reaching out to Nova Scotians to seek opinions and gather feedback on their operations and services. It is part of the renewal of their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which is a roadmap for the next 10 -25 years designed to predict future power requirements, potential power supply options and the impact of everything from population growth to climate change.

For example, by 2020, 600 megawatts of power will be available from wind energy in Nova Scotia, double what is available today. This is seen as a good thing as a renewable source of power, but it is expensive and not as reliable as coal generated electricity. It is a good example of the juggling act NSP has to do to balance a regulatory and public push toward renewable energy with the associated increasing costs to the corporation and to us, its customers. And, money must be spent to keep traditional generating plants using fossil fuels, to ensure we all have enough power when the wind is not blowing.

It is difficult for most of us to give good advice to NSP as we just do not have enough understanding of the issues they face. But their issues are our issues. One thing is certain, power bills are not going away and will likely increase as we face a rapidly changing energy landscape. It is positive that the corporation is reaching out for public input, and providing them with your opinions may result in helping all of us become better informed. Just go to to learn more.

And don’t forget to contact our Chamber of Commerce partners, Efficiency Nova Scotia if you would like to fight back on your energy costs. The cheapest power is the power you do not use at home and in our local businesses.

Jack Kyte

Executive Director

Pictou County Chamber of Commerce