The NDP Leader is echoing criticisms by the province’s Consumer Advocate Dennis Browne regarding Newfoundland Power’s request to increase its rates once again, this time by 1.2 per cent.
Power rates in the province are already set to increase an average of 6.8 per cent on July 1. In addition to this, Newfoundland Power is now seeking a 1.2 per cent increase to begin in the spring of 2019. Furthermore, NL Hydro also has another application before the PUB, which could result in a further increase of approximately 9 per cent in 2019.
Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says asking consumers to pay even more is irresponsible and unacceptable.
“We are very concerned about these multiple increases, especially in light of the anticipated, devastating burden on ratepayers coming with Muskrat Falls,” Rogers said. “The Consumer Advocate states quite frankly that Newfoundland Power cannot justify any rate increase.”
“Now is not the time to increase rates based solely on paying more to Newfoundland Power’s shareholders,” she said. “The current rate is clearly sufficient – Newfoundland Power is a very low risk utility, yet they claim that this increase is needed because of the increasing risk to investors. A further increase in its profit rate is just not justified.”
Rogers says the NDP Caucus applauds the Consumer Advocate for speaking out on this matter and that she will be meeting with him. “We will continue to voice our concerns about the financial strain these cumulative increases are having and will continue to have on the people of the province,” Rogers said.
“We are calling on government to urgently develop a mitigation plan and let the people of the province know how they plan to assist them in this time of fiscal instability and uncertainty.”