Electricity consumers in the dark on deal with Ottawa9/18/2012
The Dexter government says, for now, it cannot tell Nova Scotians how much its side deal with Ottawa to reduce coal pollution will cost electricity consumers.
The province said an "equivalency agreement" announced Friday will allow Nova Scotia to meet new federal emission levels from coal fired electricity plants, but under terms that do not force coal plants to close.
The side deal saves consumers money, but its cost has not been calculated according to Jason Hollett of Nova Scotia Environment.
"We are still working on the figures. We are trying to get a good figure," Hollett told CBC News.
The final regulations for coal-powered plants, released earlier this month, stipulate coal-fired power plants can't emit anymore than 420 tonnes of greenhouse gases per gigawatt hour of electricity generated.
The Harper government has released an estimate of what this means to the monthly bill of Nova Scotia residential customers.
In analysis documents attached to its new regulations published in the Canada Gazette, Ottawa said meeting its emission levels will add an extra $6.60 per month to the electricity bill of Nova Scotia residential customers starting in 2015.
According to the federal analysis, "it is expected that the price increases from the regulations will be passed on to consumers in proportion to their consumption."
The following estimated average monthly increases in each of the provinces from 2015 to 2035:
Alberta — $7.80
Nova Scotia — $6.60
The documents predict an annual 0.76 cents per kilowatt hour increase for Nova Scotia residential and business customers.
Hollett said the Ottawa estimate is the cost of closing and replacing coal fired plants.
He said Nova Scotia's side deal is a considerable improvement over the regulations.
The federal analysis predicts by 2020 one in eight Nova Scotia Power coal fired units will closed.
By 2030 only two will remain.