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From the Councillor's Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Tuesday, January 5, 1999)-- Nova Scotia's largest municipality will go on record this evening as being opposed to the province's new natural gas distribution policy if it endorses the concerns of HRM's Sable Gas Committee.
Members of Halifax Regional Council will be asked to approve recommendations by the Committee rejecting provincial regulations dealing with industrial bypass and a single provincial natural gas rate.
Councillor Stephen Adams, chair of the Sable Gas Committee, said potential natural gas consumers in HRM would end up subsidizing rates for less populated areas of Nova Scotia if the Province goes ahead with its present policy.
"Let's keep in mind that close to 40 per cent of the total population of Nova Scotia resides within HRM boundaries. If the Province is committed to a single natural gas rate for all consumers, then the citizens of the Halifax Region will be footing most of the bill for the rest of the gas users throughout Nova Scotia.
"On top of this, the Province is allowing the major industrial users in Nova Scotia to bypass the arrangement with the rest of us and to make their own deals with the owners of the pipeline. Whatever way you cut it, we lose, " said Councillor Adams.
The Councillor said the recent decision by SaskEnergy and Scotia Advantage Energy to withdraw as potential distributors for Sable Gas raises further questions about the financial viability of the distribution project.
" Such an uneconomic project is of great concern to HRM .The imposition of a single rate for distribution by the Province will effectively require HRM natural gas consumers to subsidize the costs of providing natural gas to the less populated areas," he said.
The Sable Gas Committee wants HRM to seek a guarantee from the Province that the Nova Scotia Gas Market Development Initiative Fund ( provided for in the December 3, 1997 Memorandum of Understanding) will be used as intended " to achieve a lower delivered cost of gas for all gas consumers in Nova Scotia." In other words, HRM's concentration of population must count for something when determining the rates.
Other recommendations which Regional Council will be asked to approve include:
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Councillor Stephen Adams
Chair, Sable Gas Committee
HRM Corporate Communications Officer