March 20, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswick ratepayers will benefit from a transparent, independent review of NB Power's recent decision to increase electricity rates.
Energy Minister Jack Keir announced today that he has directed the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) to investigate the necessity for the three per cent electricity rate increase for the fiscal year 2009-10, which will come into effect April 1.
"Our government believes in transparency for ratepayers," said Keir. "A checks-and-balances approach is in the best interest of New Brunswickers, which is why I asked for a similar review last year as well. I am committed to accountability and transparency at our utility."
Under the Electricity Act, NB Power is not required to apply for a rate increase if the increase is not more than three per cent. Historically, rate increases of three per cent or less have been implemented without government involvement or input from the EUB.
The Energy and Utilities Board Act states that the minister of energy may direct the EUB to investigate matters over which the board has jurisdiction. In this case, the minister is directing the board to investigate the necessity for the recent rate change. The EUB will determine the proper process and procedures that it will use in order to conduct a thorough, independent review.
"I have the utmost confidence in the EUB, and in its ability to conduct a thorough, independent review of NB Power's recent decision affecting electricity rates," said Keir.
The board will initiate the review process early next week.
MEDIA CONTACT: Bonnie Doyle, Department of Energy, 506-639-2860.