FREDERICTON (GNB) – NB Power today filed a rate application with the Energy and Utilities Board which, if approved, will help the utility to better service its debt obligations and continue to improve customer service, invest in new technologies, increase renewable energy projects, and strengthen cybersecurity.

The average rate increase application is for 2 per cent, amounting to an extra $4 a month for the average household in New Brunswick.

“We recognize that any rate increase can be a challenge for our customers. That is why we are continuing to drive costs out of our business through continuous improvement while helping customers reduce their energy use,” said Darren Murphy, chief financial officer and senior vice-president of corporate services. “Modest increases now will ensure we are in a position to invest in a sustainable future to protect our customers over the long term.”

If the Energy and Utilities Board approves the application, New Brunswick would still have the lowest electricity rates in the Maritime provinces.

The application also includes a proposal to develop an Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI.

AMI, a well-established and safe technology with 10 million meters in use in Canada and 50 million in use in the United States, is intended to help improve the efficiency, reliability and security of the power grid.

“The Advanced Metering Infrastructure technology allows two-way communication with customers, giving them a more complete picture of their energy usage,” Murphy said. “It will also allow NB Power to pinpoint outages very quickly without customers having to notify us, providing a greater ability to restore power more quickly.”

A hearing on the rate application with the Energy and Utilities Board is expected to be held in February of 2018.