Canso Electric Utility scheduled to transfer ownership to Nova Scotia Power for $1

CANSO: An application has been filed to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for the transfer of the assets of the Canso Electric Light Utility (CEU) from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough to Nova Scotia Power.

The sale is for a nominal sum of $1 pursuant to an agreement of purchase and sale made effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Barry Carroll, the municipality’s chief administrative officer, told The Reporter this is the culmination of a process that started in 2010 when the former Town of Canso passed a motion to sell their electric utility.

“When the former town relinquished its town status on July 1, 2012, the MODG assumed ownership of the utility,” he said. “NS Power is best positioned to provide long-term sustainable service for the residents of Canso.”

The joint-application reads the CEU can no longer be maintained without large investments in infrastructure and equipment as current electricity rates in Canso don’t cover operating expenses.

The costs to continue to operate CEU for the municipality would have a significant impact on electricity rates for CEU’s residential customers – estimated to be a 40 per cent increase.

Transferring CEU’s assets to NS Power will provide electricity rates for the customers that are the same as rates being paid in other areas of the province by NS Power customers. It will also provide a safe, reliable, and sustainable electrical service for these customers in a manner that MODG can’t.

David Rodenhiser, a Nova Scotia Power spokesperson, said after attempts to sell the CEU and receiving no offers, the MODG approached them with the understanding that they have the technical and service expertise to meet the needs of customers in Canso.

“As a regulated public utility, Nova Scotia Power is obligated to ensure Nova Scotians receive reliable electrical service. Since the municipality could not find another buyer, it’s our duty to serve these customers, and we’re happy to do so,” he said. “We’re committed to making sure this process, if approved by the Utility and Review Board, is a smooth and seamless transition.”

The electrical infrastructure in Canso needs a significant upgrade to bring the equipment up to a standard level of service consistent with the rest of Nova Scotia. With an investment of $485,000, NS Power will be able to ensure reliable service for homeowners and businesses in Canso.

“The equipment targeted for replacement is approximately 68-years-old, and would include poles, some sections of line, transformers, insulators, and a number of protective devices on the poles and transformers,” Rodenhiser said. “Additionally, two new protective systems would be installed at the local substation.”

These infrastructure upgrades will better position the community to handle poor weather events and overall, enjoy a more stable energy supply.

“The application filed with the UARB would bring the rates paid in Canso in line with the rates proposed for other Nova Scotia Power customers in our 2020-2022 Fuel Stability Plan, which is presently before the UARB for consideration,” he said.