A re-elected Liberal Government will legislate a freeze of NB Power rates for residential and small business customers for four years.
NB Power currently forecasts a two-percent rate increase for each year in the foreseeable future. Freezing power rates for small businesses, and for households, apartments, and other residential properties, means that consumers will no longer have to pay the cost of planned rate increases which would have cost them more than $13 million extra each year over the next four years.
Under this plan, NB Power will be required by the Gallant Government to implement measures such as:
- Undertaking a review of NB Power executive management salaries, and decreasing the size of the organization’s executive management by 30 percent, as was done in the civil service under the Gallant government;
- Directing the Energy and Utilities Board to set a cap for administrative expenses as a percentage of overall expenses.
- Creating a linesperson apprenticeship program and hiring more apprentices to reduce the costs paid to contractors;
- Increasing revenues from exports;
- Transitioning from single-year to multi-year rate applications to improve consumer predictability and reduce costs related to regulatory processes that are currently being passed on to ratepayers;
- Continuing investments in energy efficiency to reduce demand;
- Building on the success of the recent insurance settlement to receive additional compensation of the cost overruns during the refurbishment of Point Lepreau.
Over the course of its previous mandate, the Gallant Government has implemented a number of measures to make life more affordable for New Brunswickers. These include:
- Creating the Free Tuition and Tuition Relief for the Middle-Class programs, which have given thousands of students the opportunity to pursue their dreams at our public community colleges and universities.
- Beginning the rollout of programs that provide free childcare for those who need it most and increased financial support for the middle class.
- Extending pay equity throughout the provincial government, including all Crown Corporations by the end of 2018.
- Creating a historic partnership to provide high-speed Internet to the vast majority of households in rural New Brunswick.
- Partnering with the Connected for Success Program to offer low-cost internet to 19,000 New Brunswick families living in public housing.
- Supported the enhancements to the CPP to ensure workers can retire with dignity and income security.
- Actively participating in the development of a new National Housing Strategy which, under a 2016-2018 agreement, has given us the opportunity to invest an additional $56 million in affordable housing in New Brunswick.
- Renewing the Home Energy Assistance Program and increasing the number of eligible families.
Gallant also recently announced that a re-elected Liberal Government would make further increases to the minimum wage, raising it to $14 per hour by 2022.
“Freezing power rates will help New Brunswick families that are struggling to get ahead and will help small business owners create more economic opportunities for New Brunswickers” said Gallant.
Gallant also recently announced that a re-elected Liberal Government will remain focused on helping small businesses with a plan that includes:
- Appointing a Minister Responsible for Small Businesses and Red Tape Reduction to work directly with stakeholders to improve the economic climate for small businesses throughout New Brunswick;
- Reducing red tape for business owners, including removing red tape from the Investor Tax Credit;
- Launching, in partnership with credit unions, a small business loan program for entrepreneurs who are having difficulty accessing capital;
- Modernizing the Mechanics’ Liens Act to ensure small business contractors are paid for their work in a fair and timely fashion;
- Working with our Atlantic neighbours on reducing and harmonizing regulations for business;
- Creating business navigators to help entrepreneurs navigate regulations and other requirements;
- Providing subsidized training to small business owners on ways to increase gender diversification and equity;
- Ensuring a program is in place to assist export-oriented small businesses in growing their exports and diversifying their markets.
These measures build upon steps taken during the Gallant Government’s last mandate, including lowering the small business tax to 2.5 percent, representing a savings of 44 percent, and enhancing the Small Business Investor Tax Credit to allow investors to recoup 50 percent of their investment, up from 30 percent.