July 15, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government has accepted NB Power's recommendation to reintegrate the utility into a single company. Energy Minister Jack Keir made the announcement today.
The provincial government made the decision after consulting with a variety of stakeholders. It is expected reintegrating the utility will result in an annual cost avoidance of $8 million for NB Power.
"It is clear that, in regard to the structure of NB Power, the status quo is not an option," said Keir.
"New Brunswickers want a more transparent and accountable NB Power. These changes will enable the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) to thoroughly examine all of NB Power's finances and operations when regulating rates. That means better protection for ratepayers. Returning NB Power to an integrated utility also addresses the concerns raised by the EUB in its recent report."
The Department of Energy will bring forward necessary legislative changes to the Electricity Act this fall. Also, the New Brunswick System Operator will remain a separate and fully independent entity. The New Brunswick System Operator plays an important role in system reliability and management of the transmission system in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and northern Maine.
"This is an important decision," said Gaëtan Thomas, chief executive officer, NB Power. "With this change, NB Power and all of its employees will work diligently to ensure that we take the necessary steps to streamline our organization, without compromising service for our customers. With our new mission in place, we plan to Proudly Serve our Customers, including strengthening our collaborations with energy partners such as Efficiency NB. As one organization, we will be able to maximize efficiencies and look for new synergies. This is good news for our customers."
The provincial government also provided NB Power's board of directors with a mandate letter providing direction focused on ensuring the utility is operating in the best interests of New Brunswickers.
The mandate letter directs NB Power to undertake a number of initiatives:
"These new initiatives will build on the reliable service New Brunswickers have come to expect from NB Power," said Keir. "Requiring NB Power to produce a plan to manage their debt and develop a plan for sustainable electricity rates will result in more financial stability for the utility and for New Brunswick ratepayers."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bonnie Doyle-Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-658-2410; Heather MacLean, communications, NB Power, 506-458-6618.