Proposal for a competitive electricity future: Energy Probe submits plan to NB Electricity Taskforce

June 4, 1998

In a report submitted last week to the NB Electricity Taskforce, enquiring into the province’s energy future, Energy Probe outlined a path toward customer choice of electricity supplier, environmental and economic reregulation of the sector, break-up and privatization of NB Power, and a non-nuclear future for the province.

The report noted, “No other industrial sector is likely to exert as profound an influence on the economic prospects and environment integrity of the province as its electricity sector.”

To protect taxpayers, the report recommends that the provincial government not provide any further loan guarantees for NB Power and should treat existing obligations as preferred to new liabilities, as if the existing obligations were a first mortgage and new obligations were a second mortgage.

The report argues that the arrival of natural gas in New Brunswick, particularly if a competitive electricity market is in place to facilitate the development of gas-fired power, represents an excellent near-term opportunity to reduce the province’s reliance on high emission and high cost power from coal, oil, and bitumen. In addition, over the medium term, natural gas can significantly ease the transition to a non-nuclear future for the province.

Solutions are proposed to some of the key environmental deficiencies of New Brunswick’s electricity system: the absence of secure and adequate funding for nuclear waste disposal, the environmental unacceptability of continuing to mine coal in New Brunswick, and the underutilized potential for cogeneration in New Brunswick.

The report also discusses NB Power’s now resolved defamation suit against the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Energy Probe and Energy Probe’s executive director Thomas Adams related to his earlier published analysis as well as raising concerns about actions the utility took against journalists reporting on the suit.

The full text of the report is available on the Internet at http://www.energyprobe.org/energyprobe/article/nbtask.htm. The report’s author, Energy Probe’s Executive Director Thomas Adams, can be reached at 416-964-9223 ext. 239.

For more information, please contact Tom Adams, Executive Director, Energy Probe Research Foundation, phone 416 964 923 ext. 239, fax 416 964 8239

Energy Probe Research Foundation is a non-profit organization supported by 18,000 Canadians and dedicated to consumer and environmental protection and advocates the phaseout of nuclear power for a safer, cleaner and more economical energy future.

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