N.L. Power says rates meet approval of Public Utilities Board
that would impede us from paying you any more of what we do owe you.”
Prior said he is “about to go bankrupt and is at his wit’s end with N.L. Power.”
He also worries that when Muskrat Falls comes on stream; saying only the rich will be able to pay their power bills.
“If they can do it to me right now, next week they will do it to you,” Prior said. “There are seniors who can’t afford to pay their bills now, let alone when it doubles. Grocery stores have coolers, so if their bills go up, our groceries will skyrocket, gas, Marine Atlantic, everything is going to bounce off this electricity.”
The Southern Gazette contacted N.L. Power. Spokeswoman Michele Coughlan indicated that while she couldn’t speak to Prior’s case directly for privacy concerns, she could address two main questions.
On the matter of why an empty structure is charged a commercial rate, Coughlan wrote via e-mail:
“The appropriate commercial electricity rates would apply when the property is connected. There are several categories for commercial customers depending on their usage and energy requirements. “Newfoundland Power has to build its electricity system, and provide the power lines and equipment to meet customer demand, or the maximum electricity usage they require at any point in time.
“Commercial customers with higher demands or energy requirements are more costly to serve, require more infrastructure and electricity rates are set to reflect these cost differences.”
And on the question of how a commercial account can be charged for a whole month at a higher rate, simply due to a single energy spike, Coughlan explained, “A demand charge only applies when the customer’s demand is greater than 10 kW. The charge is based on the maximum electricity required at one point in time during the month and is determined based on the usage over approximately a 15-minute period.
“We work closely with our customers to provide information and advice on how they can manage demand and reduce their costs by minimizing the equipment that must be on at the same time,” her email stated. “Our electricity rates are in line with common utility practice and are approved by our regulator, the Public Utilities Board.”