[NEW GLASGOW, NS] — Nova Scotian residents and businesses should be able buy their energy from whoever they like rather than being forced to rely on a monopoly like Nova Scotia Power, says Stephen McNeil.
Nova Scotia's Liberal leader told about 50 people gathered at Glasgow Square that Nova Scotians need to be protected from such a monopoly and the ever-increasing power rates.
"We should be breaking up the energy market and allowing companies to sell directly to you without an arrangement through Nova Scotia Power," he said.
He said power rates have gone up 40 per cent in the past 10 years, but this would level out if the market were opened up.
McNeil also criticized the NDP government for applying an efficiency tax to everyone's power bills — which is hurting Nova Scotians instead of helping them.
He said the efficiency tax allows the government to give rebates to people who make their homes more efficient, but in reality it is costing them more money by having the price of the program tacked onto their bills.
"The Dexter government determined it would collect money so it would give it back to people," he said. "Every Nova Scotian is trying to make their home more efficient, but power bills keep going up and at the end of the day we are still paying more."
McNeil also criticized the province’s Utility and Review Board for always siding with Nova Scotia Power and only disclosing information it wants to release.
"We should know the information too," he said. "The company wants to operate as a private entity one day, but then it wants to be treated like a monopoly when it goes and applies for a rate with the Utility Review Board."
He said the company should be forced to disclose all its salaries and assets and answer questions that are being asked.
"This shouldn't be the only option you have to go to," he said. "You should have an option for energy in Nova Scotia."