New Brunswick premier offers update on “energy sector that was fractured and in disarray”
By Anthony Capkun
August 27, 2012 – New Brunswick’s Premier, David Alward, today provided an update on progress being made to rebuild the province’s energy sector during an event overlooking the Mactaquac Dam, saying “During the last two years, our government has worked with New Brunswickers and our utility to rebuild an energy sector that was fractured and in disarray”.
Alward highlighted achievements in support of the energy sector, including:
• the development of New Brunswick’s first comprehensive energy policy in a decade;
• the lowest electricity rates in Atlantic Canada, with another year of a rate freeze ahead;
• the “record profitability and new culture of performance” at NB Power;
• an environmentally sensitive solution to the issue of high industrial electricity rates;
• the establishment of aggressive renewable energy targets.
The New Brunswick Energy Blueprint, released in the fall of 2011, establishes a 10-year vision for energy in New Brunswick. “Our blueprint laid out a plan that would provide low and stable electricity rates for New Brunswickers, not just through the rate freeze, but for the long term,” said Alward. “During the past year, we have been working on all 20 action items, and we are seeing significant progress and benefits as a result. Through cost reductions and efficiencies, NB Power now has the lowest electricity rates in Atlantic Canada while earning record profits and building equity.”
As recommended in the blueprint, the provincial government is streamlining and re-integrating NB Power and the New Brunswick System Operator into a single Crown utility.
The Large Industrial Renewable Energy Purchase Program was also introduced to support energy-intensive large industry selling renewable electricity to NB Power. This supports renewable energy goals laid out in the blueprint while providing a way to lower energy costs for New Brunswick companies.
Alward also highlighted the recent multi-year agreement between Siemens Canada and NB Power to integrate smart grid technology into the province’s electrical system and create a centre of competence based in Fredericton. As part of NB Power’s Reduce and Shift Demand Strategy, this agreement will enable the utility to place an even greater focus on its customers while continuing to offer stable rates and modernizing the provincial electrical system.