The last few years saw significant capital investment associated with our key priorities adding more renewable energy to the system and investing in system reliability, said Bob Hanf, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Power. With both of these initiatives now seeing measurable results, the timing of a reduction in our capital investments is appropriate.
Each fall, Nova Scotia Power submits its capital spending plan for approval. The plan seeks approval for capital projects that allow the utility to build new equipment such as renewable energy projects, maintain the transmission system, and re-invest in existing generation assets. The revised plan now includes $246 million in capital spending, down from the original amount of $337 million.
As part of the process to adjust rates for 2013 and 2014, the Rate Stabilization Plan helped keep the rate request lower than it otherwise would have been, but there continue to be challenges related to the loss of ongoing fixed cost contributions from the pulp and paper industry.
We know our customers are concerned about rising electricity prices, and this is one example of the steps were taking to minimize pressure on rates, said Hanf. We are focused on striking a careful balance that ensures we invest enough in our system to maintain reliability and safety for customers.
Nova Scotia Power is addressing customer concerns about affordability in a number of ways, including a company-wide effort to find additional savings, such as the reduced capital plan proposal. The company is also working with low income advocacy groups and government agencies to improve options for low income customers.