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Nova Scotia Power handed $750,000 fine for failing to meet performance standards

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s electric utility has been handed a $750,000 fine for failing to meet 2022 performance targets set by the provincial regulator.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board issued a statement today saying privately owned Nova Scotia Power Inc. failed to fully satisfy five of 14 performance targets dealing with reliability, restoring power after adverse weather and service installations.

The board found that even though the utility has increased investments in its transmission and distribution infrastructure to deal with increasingly powerful and more frequent storms, it has failed to achieve certain reliability targets in each year since the standards were established in 2016.

In 2020, the board ordered Nova Scotia Power to pay a $250,000 penalty, and in 2022 the penalty rose to $375,000.

In May, Nova Scotia Power filed a response to the board’s latest findings, saying the utility’s failure on seven occasions to meet the standard for restoring power within 48 hours of severe weather was the result of the widespread damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona last September.

As a result, the board agreed to remove some Fiona-related outage data, as they did after post-tropical storm Dorian caused widespread outages in 2019. But it concluded a penalty of $750,000 for the utility’s 2022 performance was warranted.

“The board recognizes that the inclusion of hurricane Fiona (would have) a significant impact on … NS Power’s performance standards reporting,” the board said in its statement.

“However, the increasing intensity, severity and frequency of adverse weather events are not new phenomena …. It is incumbent upon NS Power to appropriately address the challenges of climate change and adverse weather events.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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