Customers wonÂ’t pay blackout costs

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - Maritime Electric customers won't see hikes in their bills from the rolling blackouts, an option allowed the utility under the PEI Energy Accord.

The accord offered Islanders an average 14 per cent drop in their electricity bills, but there is also a provision to pass extra costs on to customers if there's a catastrophic event.

"The outages weren't significant enough to warrant this," said vice-president of corporate planning and energy supply John Gaudet.

"The power was restored in some cases in 20 minutes to customers. And the amount of generation that was required was relatively small. We do build in a certain amount of provisional fuel, if you will, to accommodate such circumstances. So, so far so good."

Maritime Electric did incur some extra costs during the blackout, burning fuel in on-Island generators, which is more expensive than the imported electricity it relies on most of the time.

Gaudet said costs would have to go much higher for it to be considered a catastrophic event. Maritime Electric has budgeted for a certain number of outages under the accord.


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