October 21, 2022
Mahone Bay Electrical Utility Applies for Rate Increase
The Mahone Bay Town Council has directed staff to apply to the Nova Scotia Utility & Review Board for a significant increase in electrical rates for local electrical utility customers for the first time in nearly 15 years.
Rates charged by the Mahone Bay Electrical Utility, which serves Mahone Bay and part of neighboring Maders Cove, have remained comparably low for many years through a combination of tight management of operating costs – including resource-sharing with the Riverport Electric Light Commission – and postponement of investments in the distribution system. In collaboration with the towns of Berwick and Antigonish, Mahone Bay has developed wind resources accounting for over 40% of the community’s energy needs, complying with the Provincial Renewable Energy Standard. The Ellershouse Wind Farm – along with the community solar garden currently under construction – help to protect Mahone Bay Electrical Utility customers from increases in market rates for energy.
In the context of serious escalation of fuel prices in world markets the Town has sought the most affordable supply of energy for customers. After evaluating several alternatives, it was determined that the most appropriate basis for rate application to the Board would be the Nova Scotia Power rate for municipal customers, approved by the Board. This represents an estimated 37.2% increase in the price of electricity paid by the Mahone Bay Electrical Utility.
The Mahone Bay Electrical Utility cannot maintain its financial health and provide reliable service without adjusting rates to reflect the new reality of high market energy costs. Local utility customers receive superior service through excellent response times and quicker turn-arounds on electrical inspection requests. The Utility is also making up for postponing investments in the distribution system, budgeting for significant replacement and upgrading of older infrastructure including decommissioning of remaining transformers with PCBs.
With these factors considered, the Mahone Bay Town Council will request that the Board consider a rate increase of 34.8% (6.4% for internal cost increases since 2008 and the remainder due to the recent increase in market energy costs). Council has also directed staff to investigate options to assist rate payers experiencing financial hardship in the coming year as a result of increasing energy prices, and to explore a possible ramp-up of the Town’s existing HOME (Heat pump Options Made Easy) program to assist residents in converting away from fossil fuels for home heating.
The transition away from fossil fuels for heating and transportation, combined with our increasingly renewable energy supply, provides a pathway for stable customer rates and increased financial health for the Utility. The future is bright, but these next several years will be difficult as we remain exposed to volatile market prices.
Visit the Town of Mahone Bay website at www.townofmahonebay.ca and watch our YouTube channel for additional information on the rate application and the Board’s process to consider the request, as it becomes available.
August 22, 2022
Legal Proceeding Against Town of Mahone Bay Dismissed
A legal proceeding brought against the Town of Mahone Bay by three property owners has been dismissed. This legal proceeding was a Judicial Review of the Development Officer’s decision to approve a permit for the construction of the new Community Solar Garden at the Town’s wastewater treatment facility site.
The Town put significant effort into communications and discussions with property owners neighbouring the Community Solar Garden site but nevertheless has respected the right of those opposed to the project to seek judicial review of the development permitting.
Throughout the proceeding the Town defended the decision of the Development Officer to issue the development permit for the Community Solar Garden while cooperating fully in the Judicial Review process in the hope of a fast resolution. Council has made every effort to keep the costs of this legal proceeding to our rate payers as low as possible.
The Town Council remains committed to moving ahead with the construction of the Community Solar Garden, which will provide our community with clean, locally-produced electricity at stable prices. Construction activities will be taking place this Fall with the Solar Garden expected to come online in 2023.
For additional information on the Community Solar Garden contact: Dylan Heide, CAO
July 12th & 13th
9am - 6pm
In response to a legal proceeding in the NS Supreme Court brought by some nearby landowners, the Town is defending the decision of the Development Officer to issue a development permit for the solar garden project. Council remains fully supportive of this project. In the opinion of the Town’s planning and development professionals and lawyers, the proceeding is based on a misreading of the Town’s planning documents. The Town nevertheless respects the right of those opposed to the project - or to its location next to our wastewater treatment lagoons - to seek judicial review of the development permitting. Our legal counsel has written to their lawyer to express the Town’s full co-operation in getting to a prompt Court hearing. As the judicial review is a matter before the courts, the Town will not be responding to comments or questions on this matter.
A new committee has been added to the Town of Mahone Bay's roster, the Climate & Environment Advisory Committee.
The purpose of this committee is to provide leadership and guidance on climate change mitigation, adaptation, and environmental stewardship initiatives. The committee provides feedback and engages in community outreach on issues and projects related to environmental sustainability within the Town.
The committee will consist of two members of Council, Councillor Carver and Councillor Wilson have been appointed, the Town's Climate and Energy Program Manager, the Town's CAO and up to five public members as appointed by council. This may include residents of Mahone Bay, members of communities abutting the Town or members of academic or non-profit organizations with an environmental mandate. To read the committee's Terms of Reference or to apply to join, visit the committee's page of the Town website, https://www.townofmahonebay.ca/committees.html
Mahone Bay, NS – The Town of Mahone Bay will be installing eight Electric Vehicle Chargers, or EV Chargers, before the end of the year, welcoming Electric Vehicle users to spend time in Mahone Bay and to share in their green energy.
“Electric Vehicles are becoming more common and will continue to increase in popularity,” said Mayor David Devenne. “With the installation of these EV Chargers, Mahone Bay will become a stopping spot for drivers looking for a place to charge their vehicle while enjoying the sights and local amenities.”
Martha Horsman, Town of Mahone Bay Climate and Energy Program Manager, noted that using a charger that draws power from the Mahone Bay Electric Utility provides an incredible opportunity for Electric Vehicle drivers to benefit from Mahone Bay’s green energy, “The Mahone Bay Electric Utility gets 84% of its power from non-emitting sources, which greatly increases the environmental benefits of driving an Electric.”
Funding from the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, offered through Natural Resources Canada, will cover 50% of the total cost of the budgeted $70,000 for installing the EV chargers in Mahone Bay. The EV Chargers will be installed on Clairmont Street, Main Street, Town Hall, the new Fire Station, the Civic Marina, and the Mahone Bay Centre. Customers can activate the chargers using an RFID card or the FLO mobile app.
Climate and Energy Program Manager
The Town of Mahone Bay is inviting applications for a full-time, Climate and Energy Program Manager on a 2-year term basis.
The Climate and Energy Program Manager provides leadership directing and coordinating implementation of the Town’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan and associated climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. The Manager will work closely with Town staff and partner organizations to design, develop, implement, and evaluate climate and energy projects while conducting related community engagement and outreach to assist in achieving municipal and community carbon emissions reduction goals.
The Climate and Energy Program Manager is responsible for implementing and monitoring progress of action items described in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Action Plan and for developing new strategies for sustainability, clean energy solutions for residents and businesses, and for promoting existing programs.
The Climate and Energy Program Manager will work under the supervision and report to the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer and may occasionally be responsible for direct supervision of interns and volunteers.
Applicants should have at least one year of full-time, or equivalent part-time, experience working in climate and energy related fields (municipal, private company, non-profit, volunteer). Preference will be given to applicants with a university degree in Engineering, Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Urban Planning or an equivalent.
A full job description is available here.
Please submit your cover letter, resume, and three references (at least one professional reference) to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 16th, 2021 (subject line to include Climate and Energy Program Manager in all emails).
Only those who are selected for an interview will be contacted.
The Heat pump Options Made Easy or HOME program is a "One-Stop-Heat-Pump-Shop" making it easier and more affordable to install and maintain a heat pump for your home.
The HOME program provides the year-round comfort of a heat pump without the upfront cost.
You can have ease of mind with maintenance and cleaning taken care of. The monthly fee is inclusive of hardware & installation as well as maintenance & cleaning for 10 years.
It's never been easier to get a heat pump!