According to a graphic in the rate application, the rates would go up 6.6 per cent in 2018 and 6.4 per cent in ’19 for customers on the island,; six and 6.6 per cent for Labrador connected and 6.3 and 6.5 per cent for L'Anse au Loup and Labrador diesel customers.
Much of the province’s electricity system was built in the 1960s and ’70s, and requires considerable maintenance, upgrades or replacement, NL Hydro argues, adding it must take steps to prepare for interconnection with the North American grid.
“We know customers are counting on us to manage electricity costs as much as possible,” said Dawn Dalley, vice-president of regulatory affairs and corporate services at Hydro. “We have made broad changes at Hydro to improve our operations and we are pushing for continued efficiencies. We also know that customers need reliable service, so we continue to invest in our equipment and we are doing the necessary preparation for future changes coming to the electricity system.”
Hydro says the rate increase represents an additional 0.2 to 0.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or an increase of $6 to $6.60 for every $100 on a monthly bill for most customers.
“We understand that any increase in rates can be a challenge for customers,” said Dalley. “We have proposed spreading the upcoming increase over two years to lessen the impact and we remain focused on controlling costs while ensuring reliable power for customers. We have also made recommendations to help offset future rate increases as new equipment and facilities, like Muskrat Falls, come into service.”
The application proposes any savings gained by bringing less-expensive power to the island on new transmission lines from Labrador, or Nova Scotia, be set aside and given back to customers in future rates when Muskrat Falls comes into service.
The PUB will review the application and public hearings will take place before the PUB makes a final decision.