New Brunswickers could be paying more for electricity by August

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NB Power is hoping for a 2.9 per cent electricity rate increase from New Brunswick residents to help with its debt and future costly projects.

It would add $5 to the average household’s monthly power bill.

“NB Power is taking a managed approach to rate increases as it works toward providing quality service to New Brunswickers, servicing all of its debt obligations, funding required capital expenditures and continuing to build equity in the future,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The utility filed the application for the hike in January, aiming for the increase to be in place by April 1 or July 1.

The Energy and Utilities Board held a hearing in May to discuss the rate increase. Public Intervener Heather Black says NB Power revealed it had not met its net income targets.

“A lot of the issues in missing their targets come from things like high fuel and purchase power costs, that they only have a limited amount of control over,” she said. “But there are some things that they can do better, and one of them that the board made special mention of in this rate hearing is the habit that NB Power’s gotten into of filing for their annual increases too late in order to set the new rates for April 1, so they’re sort of leaving some of that money on the table.”

So far this year, that delay has cost NB Power over $7 million.

The utility is waiting for a decision from the EUB. An increase could be in place by Aug. 1.

Even with a rate hike, NB Power says New Brunswick would still have the lowest electricity rates in the Maritimes.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown)