Customers to pay for power back-up centre

DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA - Nova Scotia Power wants ratepayers to pick up the multi-million dollar cost of protecting the utility during a major power outage.

Utility spokesperson David Rodenhiser said what's being sought is a backup for the brains of the electricity system.

Right now, all power response originates from NSP's control centre at Ragged Lake, outside Halifax. It's a communications hub that monitors electrical generation, transmission and distribution throughout the province.

A back-up facility is located at Scotia Square in downtown Halifax, but the system does not meet new North American electricity reliability standards because it relies on remotely accessing the equipment at Ragged Lake.

"What the new standard requires us to have is a centre that will be fully functional in the event Ragged Lake is not there," explained Rodenhiser.

The new back-up control centre must be built by the first quarter of 2012 at a cost of $3.2 million. Construction is expected to begin this Spring at a new location at Tufts Cove in Dartmouth.

"It's a proactive step to be prepared for emergencies and I think Nova Scotians understand the value of that," said Rodenhiser.

Like any NSP capital project, the endeavour will be scrutinized by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Rodenhiser said provided the UARB approves, the cost will be borne by customers.


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