SUMMERSIDE – The City of Summerside has lost its bid to secure better power rates for the ratepayers in Summerside.
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission has denied the city’s application for Summerside Electric to install its own transmission line and interconnection to access the two submarine cables at Maritime Electric’s switching station in Bedeque.
The city has contended it is being unfairly treated when it comes to energy charges to its citizens and it has to do with the cost of moving power through a Maritime Electric cable.
According to figures released by the city in 2012, Summerside pays about $100 per user of electricity to transmit the energy from Bedeque to Summerside.
The city sees that rate as unfair, especially when it’s compared to the wind developers on the Island who can ship their wind off-Island for about $20 per customer. The wind shipped from West Cape to Summerside costs about $30 per customer.
The city said it can build a line from its Ottawa Street substation to Bedeque and move power more cheaply.
There are two components to this issue – the Open Access Transmission Tariff and the city’s desire to run its own power transmission line.
Maritime Electric set the tariff and Summerside Electric objected to it because it allows Island wind producers to export wind power off Island for a lesser rate than Summerside can transmit electricity from the substation in Borden-Carleton. The city was transmitting a lesser distance but being charged a higher rate.
Power is transmitted via two 200-megawatt underwater cables that lead from the power substation in Bedeque and travel to the shoreline through the Fernwood area and then go underground across the Northumberland Strait to Murray Corner, N.B.
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart said he only learned the decision Wednesday morning and hadn’t had an opportunity to review IRAC’s ruling.
“I will say that I am disappointed with it,” the mayor said. “IRAC made the decision. I was never a great lover of IRAC anyway, making decisions for municipalities that should be left to the councils. Having said that, we’ll just wait and see how it unfolds and see what the options are. Council will also be reading it through and determine what they want to do.”
The city has 20 days to appeal the ruling to the P.E.I. Court of Appeal.
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