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New Legislation To Modernize Nova Scotia’s Electricity System And Improve Regulation

March 8, 2024
The legislation will create the Energy and Regulatory Boards Act and the More Access to Energy Act and repeal the Utility and Review Board Act.

The Energy Reform (2024) Act, a new legislation, will modernize Nova Scotia’s electricity system and enhance public utility regulation in the energy sector.

“We want Nova Scotia ratepayers to have clean, reliable and affordable electricity. Bold changes are needed to our electricity system to do that,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “With this legislation, we’re changing how the electricity system is structured and regulated. This will make it more accountable, transparent and competitive to make sure ratepayers get the lowest cost options and put the province in a better position as we move to clean energy.”

The legislation will create two new acts and repeal the Utility and Review Board Act.

The new Energy and Regulatory Boards Act will split the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board into two new boards and create the new Nova Scotia Energy Board with expertise in and a focus on regulating public utilities in the energy sector. While the new Board will consider the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act in its decisions, the remaining responsibilities of the Utility and Review Board will remain with a restructured and renamed Regulatory and Appeals Board.

The new More Access to Energy Act will create an Independent Energy System Operator to manage the operations of the electricity system for electricity to be delivered when required and will also manage the connection of renewable energy projects to the grid. These functions will not be covered by Nova Scotia Power.

The new independent, non-profit organization, managed by a CEO reporting to a board of directors, will take on responsibilities for system planning and procuring new energy sources to enhance transparency and accountability to Nova Scotians and the energy sector.

The Nova Scotia Energy Board is expected to be established in 2024, with the new Independent Energy System Operator to be fully operational by late 2025.

The bill also updated other legislation related to these acts, including the Electricity Act, the Public Utilities Act and all legislation referring to the Utility and Review Board.

Under the Public Utilities Act, the bill will make changes to:

•    remove a barrier to Nova Scotia Power owning a nuclear power generating station, allowing the utility to consider the use of small nuclear reactors in future
•    require all larger scale public utilities to conduct public procurements for increased transparency and accountability.

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