Power bills going up March 1, and again April 1

Dave Stewart
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Maritime Electric will be putting its rates up 2.2 per cent on March 1. Instead of just worrying about the five per cent GST, Islanders will be paying a 14 per cent tax on their light bills because of the HST starting April 1.

Electricity rates are going up for Prince Edward Island residents not once but twice in 2013.

Islanders will be paying a bit more to turn on their lights beginning March 1.

That’s before the new harmonized sales tax takes effect on April 1 so, in effect, Islanders are facing two increases in the first half of 2013.

Maritime Electric will be putting its rates up 2.2 per cent on March 1. For the average customer, that will mean an extra $2.35 on their bill.

Rates will also be going up 2.2 per cent in 2014 and 2015.

And there’s the HST to take into account. Instead of just worrying about the five per cent GST, Islanders will be paying a 14 per cent tax on their light bills because of the HST.

Kim Griffin, manager of corporate communications and public affairs for Maritime Electric, says the increase was passed in the just-completed session of the legislature.

“That’s going to lock us in for our costs and what the cost increases are going to be for customers,’’ Griffin said Thursday. “That’s going to be their cost increase for the next three years; 2.2 per cent.’’

When electricity rates were stabilized with the 2010 Energy Accord, major jumps or dips in energy costs for consumers were replaced with a 14 per cent rate reduction as part of a five-year power purchase agreement with NB Power.

After the deal’s first two years, power rates were set to increase with the rate of inflation, which the government expected to be about 2.5 per cent annually.

With the HST on the way they decided on 2.2 per cent.

Griffin points out that the HST is a tax and not a rate hike from the utility.

She added that the 2.2 per cent hike customers are faced with on March 1 would be higher if not for the fact the utility has been collecting $21 million in overpayments from Islanders.

According to P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan that money came from the Energy Cost Adjustment Mechanism (ECAM), which the previous Progressive Conservative government established to make sure consumers weren’t hit by spikes in energy prices.

That account is to be emptied and returned to ratepayers by the end of the five-year energy accord, Sheridan said.

Griffin said also helping to keep rates down is the fact Maritime Electric will save $700,000 in HST rebates under what is called an Input Tax Credit. The company gets a portion the HST back, as do other businesses, as part of the cost of doing business.

“We’re saving approximately $700,000 annually. We have several business costs, such as utility poles, wires (and) professional fees.’’

All of it — the $21 million in the ECAM account and the $700,000 — has been rolled into the energy accord in terms of working out what Islanders are paying.

“It allows customers to know that, for the next three years, their cost increase is going to be 2.2 per cent.’’



Organizations: Maritime Electric, NB Power

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Recent comments

  • Checker
    December 18, 2012 - 11:16

    Well folks there are all sorts of things you could do but the most important would be to protest against and vote out this government. The Liberals will amend the Electrical Distribution Act to allow for increases but they will not include a provision to allow for competition, quite simpkly because they need the money. The same applies to oil and tobbaco products. Our government is hosing the poor people of this province so the Brighton boys can affor their PNP perks, their Holman Grand , Plan B and needless projects such as the sink hole conference center. What is wrong with the Conservatives, NDP and the Green Party. Call for the revision and amendment of the Electrical Act to allow for competition! Islanders cannot afford this abuse.

  • brook
    December 14, 2012 - 20:30

    I feel like Rose, - why did you not help stop this tax, - cry now is as good as a hole in the head, -- but you were all too good to be part of a protest, you were smug and thought, - let somebody else do it,. I have to say I am somewhat gleefull of your sufferings, a good match for your cowardlyness, ---- bring the HST on, - suck it up all you couch participants and keep on crying. --- Or show your face agt the group gathering at teh Premier's .levee, --- let's see if you have the balls???

  • fred
    December 14, 2012 - 16:11

    I Just don;t get it. First / before the election ; we were told by Ghiz and wes that they would not bring in the hst. Now; after being elected ; what do we have (the hst) A lot of people voted on the assumption that there would be no hst. A lot of peoples light bills will go up by $100.00 a month. It was interesting when wes was selling the hst ; how he explained how even a cup of coffee would cost less. 2cents. He failed to touch on the costly items like electric ;wood; home repairs; new homes; and the bigest surprise in april when the price of gas goes up 40 cents a gallon. ps. all the ones that voted these sorry ass bunch of clowns in; should be made pay rebate cheques to everyone that didn;t vote for them.

  • Rose
    December 14, 2012 - 12:10

    This is to all the people who did not want to sign my petition when I was going door to door to fight the HST. I wonder how many of you belong to that group and to the group that did not show up for the Rallys and meetings etc. Do you see now why some Islanders have been fighting the HST from the beginning? Don't you wish YOU had done more to help stop it?

  • Move
    December 14, 2012 - 10:49

    Please move the election ahead a few years.Wes and Robert tell us how great the HST will be.How all these companies will return any savings to us.Sure.Sure.Spin Spin.Smile Smile.Shame Shame.Blame Blame.Talk Talk.Shout Shout.

  • judith
    December 14, 2012 - 10:42

    one more reason why I will visit the Premier at his levee New Years day. I will wear a white bow, to identify me as noit the usual levee goer, and I will bring a NOTE listing my complaints to hand to the Premier as I pass through the line, --- I will be peaceful, respectful, and look him in the eye, --- I have written, I have blogged and complained, - but here is my opportunity to not be a coward, --- eye to eye is more effective than all the faceless written words, - hope to see you there, we need to show the Premier who the masses that pays his salary really are. 3 o'clock at the Conf. Centre -- if you don't want to wear a white bow or bring NOTE, is fine too, -- just join us

    • hammike
      December 14, 2012 - 15:55

      Don't forget this is the man that looked voters in the eye and promised no HST. I bet he could beat a lie detector test with a smile on his face.

  • SG
    December 14, 2012 - 10:40

    (Griffin points out that the HST is a tax and not a rate hike from the utility.) What difference will it make Islanders will still be paying more for Electricity in March and April 2013 in fact Islanders will be paying 15.6%. By 2015 Islanders will be paying 20% on their Electricity!! Unbelievable! (She added that the 2.2 per cent hike customers are faced with on March 1 would be higher if not for the fact the utility has been collecting $21 million in overpayments from Islanders.) If ME has collected $21 million in overpayments from Islanders why would ME need to increase Islanders rate by 8.8% over 4 years? Islanders can't afford such increases! This Government has to Go!

  • nb plus ten?
    December 14, 2012 - 10:06

    Whatever happened to the NB Power + 10% rate that we were supposed to have? I would like to see all 3 power utilities in the Maritime Provinces be forcibly merged into 1 single publicly owned utility. If we can have an Atlantic Lottery Corporation, surely we can have a Maritime Electric Power Corporation or Maritime Electric Power Commission or Maritime Hydro.

  • Nor'easter
    December 14, 2012 - 09:43

    Well isn't that great, and Ihe state of Maine is lowering their power rate by 7% in March. I wonder is that because of the cheap wind power PEI is exporting to New England? Island MLA's must be shareholders to agree to this.

  • Fed Up
    December 14, 2012 - 09:35

    Don't you just love the "Ghiz Government"....which is really SUPPOSED to be PEI Government. However, Ghiz and his grabbers think they own PEI and running it into bankruptcy - along with every single one of us! Yet, I still hear people say how great he is?!?!?! ARE YOU LIBERAL VOTERS ALL MAD?!?!?! What does he have to do to you before you kick him to the curb?!?!?!

  • Fixed income
    December 14, 2012 - 09:34

    I live on a disability pension,I have scrapped by for years, Robert Ghiz and Wes Sheridan ,will you buy my food? I am the voice of low income Islander, I don't know how I will make ends meet when these changes come into place.I will not be able to meet my basic needs.

  • Gerard
    December 14, 2012 - 09:05

    This is all getting REDICULOUS Our Daughter owns a home in Halifax and she pays aprox. $74.00 EVERY 2 MONTHS. This is just an example of Islanders trying to keep up with the JONSE'S, everything will be more expensive here on P. E. I. and it is NOT hard to figure out, because, the Island ONLY have a population of aprox 140.000 population, and many of able bodied younger people are moving away to make a real living.

  • annoyed consumer
    December 14, 2012 - 08:57

    So much for companies lowering prices because of HST.....

  • Tim L
    December 14, 2012 - 08:52

    Cons, crooks and LIARS.....let's face reality, the governing Libs and their buddies at the power company...they will all have hefty bonus's and other perks given to them (since they all think they are royalty and above the laws) while the average Islander, yet again, pays the price for their indulgence.....Ghis, you are making your little province a 3rd world country....can we say 'dictatorship'?? You all make me sick!

  • LM
    December 14, 2012 - 08:41

    What about the large sum of money Maritime Electric is supposed to receive from overpayments to CRA?? Are we, the customers, going to see any of that turned into electricity savings? As if the 9% jump this year wasn't enough...So glad I have clean electric heat in my house...can anyone fill me in on the cost savings of these new heat pumps everyone is installing??

  • Every
    December 14, 2012 - 08:29

    Everything is going to go up just before HST and then we will get hammered with the HST. This government STINKS. They may not know the definition of transparency, but they sure do know the definition of dictate.

  • Little Old Lady
    December 14, 2012 - 08:29

    Corporate greed leaves Islanders in need. That would have been a better headline. Stock up on candles, go to bed earlier, hang clothes out in the bitter cold winter, and forget eating out and shopping. Hang that 2.2% on the local economy and see what happens to PEI

  • Surprise - Surprise - Surprise
    December 14, 2012 - 08:14

    Surprise people , this is only the beginning ! Maritime Electric will not be alone in jacking prices before they get the HST gift given to them . Might be a bit like double dipping . We are going to pay big time for our foolishness the last election & ranting about next election means nothing . They all will be getting a pension then if they lose their seat . Looks good on us . LOL

  • myislandhome
    December 14, 2012 - 08:05

    Wasn't there an article a while back saying that customers are going to benefit from a payback of some Maritime Electric contingency fund (millions of dollars)? This sure doesn't seem to line up with that.

  • carlos spicyweiner
    December 14, 2012 - 07:53

    What about all those GD windmills? Shouldn't our power be free by now?

  • One more broke Islander
    December 14, 2012 - 07:52

    THAT IS TO MUCH! I heat my home with electricity. Last year my high bill for a month was over $600, now add on 16.2%. That is about $100 more per month. NO HST ON POWER!!

  • matthewl
    December 14, 2012 - 07:29

    That a boy Wes, blame the previous government. It's never your fault, or Roberts. You guys are the best..your so good I can't wait till your defeated.

  • Thanks for the HST
    December 14, 2012 - 07:28

    Wow, what a great article, well written. Gives you the impression like this isn't a big deal and makes you feel like, it is only 2.2% for the next three years. Well, thanks to the HST, this is a huge increase and it goes like this, based on the above article, the average bill before taxes is $107, so let's see what happens with these "lower than inflation" increases: Feb. 1st, 2013 - bill $107 + taxes = $112.35 Mar. 1st, 2013 (2.2% increase) - bill $107 + taxes = $114.82 Apr. 1st, 2013 (HST) - bill $107 + taxes = $125.75 Apr. 1st, 2014 (2.2% increase) - bill $107 + taxes = $128.52 Apr. 1st, 2015 (2.2% increase) - bill $107 + taxes = $131.35 So by adding 2.2% for three years and let's throw in the HST eh Sheridan because it is good for all Islanders and the increase for the next 26 months for Electricity is 14.5%. So for the average bill, by 2015, we'll be paying an extra $19/month.

  • Rats don't cause the ship to sink . . .
    December 14, 2012 - 07:15

    If the desired effect of Wes and Robert's new tax laws is to push people who have earned a middle class pension away from living on PEI, then everything is working well. If this is the case, this government is putting one important demographic of Islanders into a very interesting situation. Will we spend our retirement dollars in Costa Rica, Panama or Belize? Healthy, adventurous, educated, informed pensioned Islanders who could be stimulating our local economic situation are either being ignored or encouraged to use the escape hatch. It may look like we're just selfish retirement rats jumping from a sinking ship. But, be clear. It's not the retirement rats that are causing the ship to sink. These new tax laws have planb'd Islanders hard, and in the long run it's going to hurt our beloved little Island, It's going to hurt like hell.

  • nosurprise
    December 14, 2012 - 07:13

    And a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you wonderful Maritime big wigs. This is just another kick against Seniors and low income Islanders.

  • mad as hell
    December 14, 2012 - 07:12

    Why didn't you include the average monthly increase the HST will cause? Presuming you used $106.82 as the average monthly bill: March increase of 2.2% = $2.35 March bill will be $109.17 April's HST will add 9%, or $9.83 April bill will be $119.00 So the government will get about $10/month from every household just for them to use electricity. Since we've been told the average Islander won't be impacted negatively by the HST, how much stuff will the average Islander have to buy to save $10/month in sales tax with the %1 reduction in tax on most other things? To make up for that $10, you'd have to be spending $1000/month in sales tax at 1% savings elsewhere. Who spends $1000/month on sales tax? Right - no one.

  • ptrainor
    December 14, 2012 - 05:52

    That's 2.2% each year, so 6.6% over 3 years, plus the HST. Happy New Year

  • Pam
    December 14, 2012 - 05:34

    What a surprise another hike in electricity can't believe a word they tell there customers.what I don't understand is if there is no HST being put on home heating oil or firewood how can the Government put HST on Electricity after all ELECTRICITY is a source of home heat MR WES SHERIDAN.

  • Adolphus
    December 14, 2012 - 05:26

    Thanks, Wes.

  • Brutus
    December 14, 2012 - 05:22

    I think this is crazy raising the price it's already gonna take a jump come April 1 2013 due to the HST don't punish islanders anymore the government did enough of that. What we as Islanders need is some competition for Maritime Electric they have had it to easy over the years with no competition. Screw the GOVERNMENT

  • D'Arcy Horton
    December 14, 2012 - 04:51

    I love how these Corporations and businesses love to squeeze as much money as possible out of us. Most of us, like myself are having a hard enough time trying to get by now, as it is, this only makes it a bit harder, and I work full time, and make half decent money. My heart goes out to the less fortunate that don't make a lot of money. Shame on money grabbing Corporations!

  • don
    December 14, 2012 - 02:37

    talk about greed. well this is to all dizzys gang and to the holders of the power group. all the money you are making in profit to make you more millions well the day will come very soon when all your money will be worth NOTHING you will be just as broke as the guy living in a cardboard box.and if you think the money will help you get into see God lol you will go to the same place as i a hole in the ground.and what gets me is all theses people living it high on the backs of the poor greed has got no one anywhere but what goes around comes around. remember this when you lose everything and i mean everything your fancy homes, cars,bank accounts.and if you think i am nuts well think back to the 1930's well big shoots it is coming again but 10 times worse.but remember this old saying look out for the people you walked on when you were going up the ladder they will be the same one you will see on your way down.without the little guys you crap on you would have nothing. but your greed tells what kind of person you are.

    • Vapid opinions ain't so good, eh Buddy?
      December 14, 2012 - 15:13

      Can we really trust the opinions of someone who consistently writes two words, "dizzys gang" with two punctuation errors? For the record, it's "Dizzy's gang". As well, the over use use of pejoration can be a tad boring. True enough, it does't make you wrong, but it does make your musings appear somewhat vapid.

  • Joe Blow
    December 13, 2012 - 23:57

    Time for citizens of PEI to make the Maritime Electric shareholders some more money I guess!!! There is always a group of idiot shareholders making a fortune on the backs of Islanders!! Makes me sick!!! Robert Ghiz and Wes Sheridan are idiots and they owe PEI an apology for ruining a great little province. These morons need to resign ASAP!!

  • Joe Martell
    December 13, 2012 - 23:33

    I can already hear the question being raised in homes all across PEI, "Honey...what do you want tonite? Lights? Or Supper?"

  • intobed
    December 13, 2012 - 22:53

    Don't listen to them everyone. Wes Sheridan has assured all of us that the HST will not hurt us, and that we will all be better off. Right! Fight the HST, join "Islanders Against HST" on Facebook. Participate. We are not helpless!

  • yeahthat
    December 13, 2012 - 22:23

    o how generous only 2.2 percent per year. I wonder if the average salary will go up 2.2 percent too...nope probably not as jobs keep getting cut, all across PEI.