Halifax, NS – Nova Scotia Power Inc. has many people angry and galvanized, looking for alternatives. Their anger is fuelled by the seeming contradiction of a private company owning a public resource, making windfall profits, boosting its salaries to top executives into seven figures, and then asking Nova Scotians to pay even more for electricity. A new publication released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS) delves into this debate asking should power be returned to the people and what would this alternative mean for Nova Scotians.
After weighing the potential costs and benefits, the author of Power to the People?, Christopher Majka concludes that: "Balancing the objectives of affordability, public ownership, and responsible environmental stewardship might be a complex balancing act. But however complex, they are preferable to a privatized for-profit ethos, ample dividends for foreign shareholders, and escalating salaries for executives – all set against the backdrop of the province's continuing reliance on coal-powered electrical generation."
As Majka further points out, "electricity is a public resource and it should rigorously serve the public's interests, not those of a private for-profit company or those of a political administration. That's why I also recommend that should NS Power become a public utility, an arm's length Energy Council be set up to develop energy policy. Short-term political objectives should not intrude upon long-term energy policy."
Christine Saulnier, Director of CCPA-NS says of this publication: "it provides Nova Scotians with a very informative, and concise overview of how we came to be at this cross-roads today; one that sees rate-payers bracing for the seventh and eighth rate hikes since 2002, while the government struggles to implement an ambitious renewable energy program, at the same time as the private for-profit company's executives receive generous bonuses."
Fast Fact: Power to the People can be downloaded free at: www.policyalternatives.ca.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Christine Saulnier at (902) 477-1252 or (902) 240-0926 (cell) or Christopher Majka directly at: (902) 425-3725.
The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability.