Nova Scotia Power and its largest customer want UARB to OK unusual deal

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board is being asked to consider a unique tariff agreement between Nova Scotia Power and its largest customer, Port Hawkesbury Paper, that would see the utility have control over when the paper mill operates.Port Hawkesbury Paper consumes about 10 per cent of all electricity produced by Nova Scotia Power, which is about 100 million megawatts a year. Under the proposed new tariff, the mill would pay a minimum of $4 for each megawatt hour of power it consumes.Peter MacDonald of Port Hawkesbury Paper said the new rate could go as high as $9-10 per megawatt hour."We've designed this rate so that it does two things," he said. "One, it keeps the mill running at a sustainable level and it also provides a greater contribution to the other ratepayers."The proposed agreement would replace one that expires at the end of this year.Nova Scotia Power and Port Hawkesbury Paper are asking the UARB to set a hearing date for their proposal. They're also asking that they be given the go-ahead to use the new tariff on an interim basis if the deal can't be approved by the time the old tariff expires at the end of December.MacDonald said while other utilities have similar deals involving small amounts of power, he said this is the first one on this scale anywhere on the continent."Nova Scotia Power would essentially send us dispatches on an hourly basis as to where they want to position our load," said MacDonald."We have a highly flexible load as well as being a large load, we can move it up and down as high as 210 megawatts and as low as five megawatts."MORE TOP STORIES

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