PEI Energy Commission public hearings on the cost and management of energy in the province took place in Charlottetown today.
The Guardian reports, “Leo Broderick from the Council of Canadians called on the commission to recommend the provincial government take over full ownership and operation of Maritime Electric and all energy utilities and wind farms in the province. With multinational companies in control of most of these assets, Islanders continue to pay high energy prices and in doing so, support mainly non-renewable energy initiatives, Broderick said.”
Maritime Electric is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. As noted on the company’s website “(It) owns and operates a fully integrated system providing for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to customers throughout Prince Edward Island.” Fortis Inc. is a Newfoundland-based international electric utility holding company that operates primarily in Canada and the Caribbean.
The newspaper article notes, “‘We pay 10 per cent of what we have in the province to Fortis, which is Maritime Electric, that would be a 10 per cent savings. And as energy costs continue to rise and we continue to rely on fossil fuels the costs are only going to increase,’ he said, referencing the 9.75 per cent rate of return currently guaranteed to Fortis-owned Maritime Electric. ‘We think there would be further energy savings in the province if all the energy in the province is controlled by the province and then we could even sell it on the market. At the moment all those profits go to Fortis and we need control over that,’ Broderick said. He pointed to the city of Summerside, which operates its own electric utility. He said this community-based model could easily be replicated in other areas of the province. ‘It is not a corporate board. The monies go back into the community, if there are any monies to be made, or at least an attempt to reduce the electrical rates,’ he said. ‘There’s no reason why this could not happen here in Charlottetown, there’s no reason it could not happen in Souris.'”
“The commission will submit a report to government in the fall with recommendations that come from whatever materializes through public input.” Not surprisingly, in Maritime Electric CEO Fred O’Brien’s presentation to the commission today he asserted that a public utility would not help Islanders save on their power bills. “The public meetings continue Thursday.”
The full article can be read at http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2012-02-22/article-2905131/Taxpayers-wont-save-by-taking-over-Maritime-Electric,-CEO-says/1.