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Better Protection Planned for Utilities Consumers

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first_imgGovernment is proposing new rules to ensure Nova Scotians have astrong, capable voice representing their interests at majorutility hearings, including hearings relating to rate increaserequests. Legislation was introduced today, April 21, that will allow theappointment of a consumer advocate for Nova Scotia Utility andReview Board hearings. “We’re making sure the interests and concerns of Nova Scotiansare represented by an independent person or group who has theexpertise and ability to participate effectively in these complexhearings,” said Energy Minister Cecil Clarke. The proposed legislation says a consumer advocate could beappointed by the minister or by the board. Appointments would bemade on a case by case basis, with costs being paid by theapplicant. Government would also have the ability to makeregulations related to the qualifications and experience of theadvocate. The consumer advocate would be responsible forreviewing information and for participating in hearings onproposed settlement meetings. The advocate would not addressconsumer disputes or complaints with respect to utilities. “Consumers don’t always have the time, expertise, or financesnecessary to intervene in rate hearings. Now they will be able torely on the consumer advocate to help ensure that both utilityrates and rules are fair and balanced,” said Mr. Clarke. The proposed amendments would be made to the existing PublicUtilities Act.last_img read more