[Sust-mar] Fuelling the NS Power Debate

Christopher Majka c.majka at ns.sympatico.ca
Thu Jun 14 15:26:16 EDT 2012

Power to the People?

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  

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:

The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute  
concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as  
environmental sustainability. 

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