Nova Scotians will start paying an average of an extra dollar a month on their power bills starting in January to cover the cost of expanding energy conservation programs in the province.
On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved Nova Scotia Power Inc.'s $23-million energy conservation plan for 2010 to reduce electricity use, peak demand, air emissions and greenhouse gases.
NSPI wants to convince customers to use less electricity so it doesn't have to build another generating plant, which could cost more than $1 billion.
But the board turned down the power company’s application to recover related lost revenues from consumers.
NSPI said customers can expect to recoup their money, and possibly more, after three years, because they will be using less electricity.
Environmentalists want the provincial NDP government to act on a recommendation made eight months ago to name an independent administrator to monitor the conservation programs rolled out by Nova Scotia Power.
Acting Energy Minister Frank Corbett said the government hasn't named anyone yet, but it won't be the government's in-house agency, Conserve Nova Scotia.
"Clearly, it would be our desire, as a government, to look at a single person to administrate these programs, who would be more arm's-length," Corbett said.
"We are going as fast as we can and, hopefully, that means we’ll have that person hired and going by the new year."