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In a Shocking State – electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Muskrat Falls development is expected to become operational by 2021. Serious questions are being raised about it and what it will mean for the future of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is clear Muskrat Falls will have a significant effect on business owners, unless something is done.

The cost of the Muskrat Falls project is forecast to essentially double electricity rates for customers in the province.  As a result, SMEs are looking at an additional cost of $179 million annually – leading to increased prices for consumers.

Electricity is the main source of energy used by small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and it will be difficult for them to reduce their consumption. The high cost of electricity is a concern for many business owners, and the possibility of increases once Muskrat Falls comes online means entrepreneurs should be looking for ways to lessen the impact on their business.

On October 18, 2019, CFIB presented to the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) as part of their review into rate mitigation options and impacts.

Using the data gathered from you, our members, through the NL Electricity Rate Mitigation Survey, we made the following recommendations to the PUB:

  • Conduct an economic and fiscal analysis of any rate mitigation plan
  • Reduce the revenue-to-cost ratio to 5 per cent (i.e. 95-105)
    • Change would not affect residential rates and commensurate reduction would help commercial users
  • Lower demand charges
    • Can help seasonal businesses who currently pay even though they are not in operation; also helps those with complementary energy sources
  • Reform the conservation and demand management programs
    • Small businesses are not taking advantage of these programs in a substantial way

What can you do?
Now is the time to start looking at ways to help your business become more energy efficient. The TakeCHARGE program can help identify and pay for energy efficiency improvements for your business. Contact your power utility to learn more about your options: NL Hydro can be reached at 1-888-737-1296 and NL Power at 1-800-663-2802.

Have questions, got comments? You can reach our office at 1-888-234-2232 or by e-mail at [email protected]

October 23, 2019