PC leader speaks in Pictou about plan for freezing power rates
PICTOU – On Monday Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie was focused on small business when he visited Pictou County – his focus on Sunday was the party’s five-point plan for freezing power rates.
Baillie spoke in front of a small crowd in Pictou at Braeside Country Inn. He began by thanking owners Mike and Anne Emmett for providing the space for the announcement, saying that it’s because of small business people like them that the announcement was being made.
He stated that a PC government would freeze power rates for five years within the first 100 days of its mandate.
Giving examples of Arlene MacIntyre in Sydney, who can’t afford to heat her apartment in the winter and the Emmett’s bottom line at the Braeside Country Inn, Baillie moved into the five-point plan.
He started by saying the party would buy renewable energy at a rate Nova Scotians can afford; stating that two-thirds of the reason for the power rate increases was the NDP’s aggressive renewable energy targets. Baillie said they would extend the renewable energy targets forward by five years, continuing to buy renewable energy, but not as aggressively.
Their second point is to scrap the fuel-adjustment mechanism to take the risk of increasing fuel costs, like coal, away from everyday Nova Scotians and “back onto the back of Nova Scotia Power executives, where it belongs.”
The Progressive Conservative government will also remove the guarantee on Nova Scotia Power’s profits and put performance standards in place.
“Nova Scotia Power will need to earn its money the same as any other company, by providing good customer service at fair prices,” said Baillie.
Baillie said the party’s final points are to use more natural gas and create a Maritime energy grid.
“Yes, we have to do away with the old way of having three little provinces that don’t work together, that impoverish each other and instead invite new political leadership that works together as a region to enrich us all,” he said. “That is the way that you freeze power rates and ultimately bring them down.”
After the announcement about the PC plan, NDP candidate for Sackville-Beaverbank, Mat Whynott sent a release saying Baillie wasn’t being straight with Nova Scotians.
Whynott referred to the plan as an “energy scheme” saying that it’s “misleading and unworkable.”
Although Baillie said they will scrap the fuel-adjustment mechanism, Whynott stated that it will not work because the costs of fuels used to run Nova Scotia Power’s generating plants will continue to rise, creating deferred costs that have to be paid at some point.
Whynott and the NDP party have committed the province to getting 40 per cent of electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
The Liberals said they will break Nova Scotia Power’s monopoly if elected.
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