Nova Scotia Power flipped the anger switch on customers again this week with another request for a rate increase – and some of that indignation comes from the belief that the utility is guaranteed a certain rate of return every year.
    
As it turns out, that belief is somewhat off-base.

“There is no guaranteed return for Nova Scotia Power,” Premier Darrell Dexter told News 95.7 Thursday. “That’s a myth that gets propagated again and again and again. The Utility and Review Board sets a band that they can reach, it’s not guaranteed.”

NSP vice-president of regulatory affairs Rene Gallant confirms the utility is allowed to make roughly nine per cent, and rate proposals are made with that target in mind.

“Rates are calculated based upon that amount, so what the utility gets is not a guarantee, but they get an opportunity,” he said. “And you take advantage of the opportunity by running the business as efficiently and as carefully as you can while delivering service to your customers.”

Liberal MLA and energy critic Andrew Younger suggests there’s room to trim the return a little.

“Frankly, I don’t know of any other investment getting that kind of return lately,” he said.

Gallant says the utility usually meets the nine per cent target, but says it takes lots of hard work to get there.

“It may lead people to the impression that it’s not difficult to meet that level of return, but in fact it takes a very significant effort from all 1800 of our employees across the province working very hard every day for customers to reach that,” he said.