Hy­dro rates dropped

Pub­lic Util­i­ties Board makes ad­just­ment to rates based on fuel costs

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK

The pro­vin­cial util­i­ties reg­u­la­tor has signed off on the an­nual change in power rates, meant to as­sure they re­flect fuel prices as much as pos­si­ble.

As of July 1, New­found­land and Labrador Hy­dro will drop its rates for di­rect cus­tomers, in­clud­ing New­found­land Power, by about 9.5 per cent.

The change re­flects the cost of oil used at the Holy­rood power plant.

The idea is to pass on the ac­tual cost of pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity.

But at the same time as the new de­ci­sion kicks in, the HST will in­crease to 15 per cent from 13 per cent, and that added tax ap­plies to power costs.

The Pub­lic Util­i­ties Board (PUB) is still re­view­ing a sep­a­rate change in rates, based on a broader gen­eral rate ap­pli­ca­tion.

De­ci­sions on the util­i­ties pro­posed rate in­creases are pend­ing.

Mean­while, power cus­tomers con­tinue to wait for dis­tri­bu­tion of the Rates Sta­bi­liza­tion Plan fund — a sur­plus pot of money that de­vel­oped as a re­sult of the shut­down of the pa­per mill in Grand Falls-Wind­sor, with Hy­dro sud­denly able to use the hy­dro power from that op­er­a­tion to fund the is­land’s gen­eral cus­tomer base.

Ac­cord­ing to a Hy­dro spokes­woman, fol­low­ing a se­ries of re­lated le­gal de­ci­sions, a new draft plan for re­fund­ing the money has been com­pleted and both util­i­ties are pre­par­ing ap­pli­ca­tions to place be­fore the board “in the com­ing months.”

The PUB must then review and ap­prove the re­fund plan, with no spe­cific time­line set for that work.

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