UARB Finds Nova Scotia Power Failed To Follow Affiliate Code Of Conduct

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 14:20 PM

The provincial Utility and Review Board has Nova Scotia Power Inc. (NSP) on notice.

NorthStar conducted an independent audit of the power corporation from October 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016 that showed NSP failed to follow the Affiliate Code of Conduct.

That means NSP did not determine if work could be done by their own employees before contracting it to Emera owned affiliates.

The UARB says there wasn't enough documentation to support several contracts that were awarded or extended to Emera affiliates.

And the board says they won't allow transactions between Emera affiliates if the code isn't followed.

They also criticized the corporation's management structure, recommending a return to an independent chair.

The chief operating officer at Emera is also the chairperson of Nova Scotia Power.

Consumer Advocate Bill Mahody says the UARB's decision is good for ratepayers.

"If these rules weren't in place then you would think 'well how do we know that ratepayers are being best served through these affiliate transactions?'" says Mahody. "And we have a process that Nova Scotia needs to follow to demonstrate that and this decision strengthens that."

NSP will also have to advise the UARB when a new power line technician contract is awarded or extended.

"It's important for ratepayers because the reality is that Nova Scotia Power is now on clear notice from the board of the need to be very careful in implementing the code of conduct," says Mahody.

The UARB has also given NSP direction to develop a Cost Allocation Manual for UARB approval that will address purchasing and accounting concerns.