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Energy rates slated for huge jump - Maritime Electric predicts rise of 40 per cent in 2007 due to cost of bringing in alternative power.

In the provincial legislature Friday, Liberal House Leader Richard Brown said the Island’s main power utility is being hit with major expense hikes, due in part to the rising cost of energy generally, but also to the added expenses that will come with the promotion of wind energy and other power sources.

Maritime Electric is predicting its energy costs will increase 40 per cent by 2007 and the Island’s Opposition is asking government what its plan is to protect consumers from soaring power rates.

In the provincial legislature Friday, Liberal House Leader Richard Brown said the Island’s main power utility is being hit with major expense hikes, due in part to the rising cost of energy generally, but also to the added expenses that will come with the promotion of wind energy and other power sources.

Referring to the title of a planned film about the renewable power plan, Brown asked Energy Minister Jamie Ballem to explain how he is protecting the ordinary consumer from major increases in power bills.

“We haven’t seen nothing from Jamie’s Dream yet,” Brown said.

Ballem acknowledged P.E.I. is likely to see energy prices rise at rates than could be 10 per cent or higher.

“It’s a fact of life there are double-digit increases coming in power and energy rates, there’s nothing we can do about it except maybe we can produce some renewable energy locally,” he told Brown.

The minister said Maritime Electric faces rising power costs from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and that prices stand to rise generally as the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Maritime Electric is predicting its energy costs will increase 40 per cent by 2007 and the Island’s Opposition is asking government what its plan is to protect consumers from soaring power rates.
 
In the provincial legislature Friday, Liberal House Leader Richard Brown said the Island’s main power utility is being hit with major expense hikes, due in part to the rising cost of energy generally, but also to the added expenses that will come with the promotion of wind energy and other power sources.
 
Referring to the title of a planned film about the renewable power plan, Brown asked Energy Minister Jamie Ballem to explain how he is protecting the ordinary consumer from major increases in power bills.
 
“We haven’t seen nothing from Jamie’s Dream yet,” Brown said.
 
Ballem acknowledged P.E.I. is likely to see energy prices rise at rates than could be 10 per cent or higher.
 
“It’s a fact of life there are double-digit increases coming in power and energy rates, there’s nothing we can do about it except maybe we can produce some renewable energy locally,” he told Brown.
 
The minister said Maritime Electric faces rising power costs from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and that prices stand to rise generally as the soaring cost of crude oil drives up the market value of any type of energy.
 
He said the one upside of that development is that it makes the Island’s most ready energy source — wind power — increasingly cost-effective compared to power derived from fossil fuels.
 
“Someone said to me that we’re not very far away from that being the cheapest power we can buy,” Ballem said during question period.
 
Maritime Electric’s own document suggests an environment in which electricity purchases — the company’s biggest expense — rise dramatically. Numbers the company filed with regulators last January predict overall energy costs will grow from $66 million in 2005 to $93 million in 2007. Among those changes are an increase in wind power costs from $2 million to $14 million and in system energy purchases from $15 million to $37 million. At the same time the utility’s expenditures on firm energy contracts are expected to slip from $24 million to $10 million.
 
Brown said government has left Islanders exposed to rising prices by requiring the utility to make major investments in wind energy, a power source that is as erratic as the weather itself.
 
“In order to rely as much as they intend to on the wind as a source of power they have to backstop it with purchase contracts for interruptible power that we can call on when the wind isn’t producing. That kind of power is the most expensive that’s available,” the Liberal said.
 
Brown said P.E.I. could cut back some of that expense if it found a way to co-operate with other Maritime provinces on wind power.
 
“How about forming a Maritime power generation utility with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia? That would save some of these costs of wind power for all of us,” he said. 


Source: http://www.theguardian.pe....

MAY 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2507-energy-rates-slated-for-huge-jump-maritime-electric-predicts-rise-of-40-per-cent-in-2007-due-to-cost-of-bringing-in-alternative-power
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