The Utility and Review Board took the rare step overnight of invoking its interrupter clause to bring down the price of gas, only the third time the clause has been used. It's invoked usually when there's a 6 cent or more swing up or down in the market. In this case, the price is down 6.1 cents a litre to $1.37.3 in Halifax. Welcome news, but in an unregulated market, like Toronto, we would have enjoyed the benefit of the lower price a day earlier. Just sayin'.
The usual weekly adjustment in gas prices will still be made tonight with perhaps another decrease in the range of a penny anticipated. Stay tuned.
The UARB's a busy place this days. It's also holding hearings of course into Nova Scotia Power's proposed rate hikes. And despite much opposition and political posturing, NSP prez Rob Bennett made it quite clear yesterday there will be a power rate hike of 3% next year and 3% the year after. The Dexter government's last minute intervention will not affect the increases. "We have a settlement agreement that we had before the board for that period," Bennett said, adding "It was our intention to honour that." The government's plan to cap the amount taxpayer's contribute to NSP executive salaries and such is really no plan at all. Energy Minister Charlie Parker couldn't even say how much it would save, other than a ball park figure in the hundreds of thousands. That amount would have no effect on rates. I'm with Archie Stewart of Port Hawkesbury whose online petition calling for no rate increase at all has gathered nearly 32,000 signatures so far.
Score a zinger for mayoral candidate Fred Connors last night. Connors is an articulate man, passionate about issues and quick on his feet. During the candidates debate last night he took on the city's developers telling them if they want to build where services don't exist, go ahead, adding, "If you foot 100% of the bill." Told that likely wouldn't get him much support from developers, Connors replied, "They're not supporting me anyway." He got a couple of chuckles for that one.
Is it time to debate Saturday municipal elections. Some years back elections were changed to Saturday's in the hopes it would result in more voter turnout. That hasn't been the case and in recent years voter turnout has steadily dropped each municipal election to the point where last time in Halifax only just over a third of the voters turned out. Some suggest it's apathy and there's no question that's an issue. But I think Saturday voting is also a factor. Weekends are busy times for many folks. We'll see what voter turnout will be like in a month's time. If the downward trend continues, clearly there will need to be a review of how and when we vote.
Have a great day. Get involved. And if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.