UDPATED - NS: Heritage Gas granted extension for its discount program
On March 16, 2020, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved Heritage Gas Ltd.’s application to extend its customer retention program that had been instituted in 2016 and provided up to a 64 per cent savings on the base energy charge. The CPA had intervened, arguing there was no reason for the retention program to continue. Unfortunately, the board did not accept the CPA’s arguments and the program has been extended until December 23, 2023.
The board did, however, agree with the CPA that keeping the Base Energy Charge lower than needed will extend the deferral period, creating inter-generational equity. Heritage Gas also bears the risk of recovery and the return it earns is lower than the approved ROE and weighted cost of capital.
The retention program allows Heritage Gas to levy an annual base energy charge from $3.10 to $8.68 per gigajoule of natural gas consumed. Since the ruling, the company has increased the base energy charge to $6.60.
Heritage Gas has maintained that the Customer Retention Program provides them with flexibility to change its Base Energy Charge within a certain band for commercial customers consuming more than 500 GJs per year, and is required to remain competitive with alternate energy prices and, thereby, retain customers on its natural gas system.