Nova Scotians don’t have a lot of love for Nova Scotia Power. It was run into the ground by the Liberals and then privatized by the Conservatives. Both were mistakes. And decades later, opposition politicians seem to be trying to grow the animosity towards Nova Scotia Power without bringing serious policy to the table, while the grassroots of the left is engaging in hopeful* thinking about nationalizing NSPI.
Halifax municipal councillor candidate Waye Mason even turned Barrett’s Privateers into a rant against Emera, sung here by a labour choir.
Oh, Donald Cameron, cried the town, how I wish I’d known what I know now!
For the largest public private sale
That trapped us in this tragic tale
God damn them all!
We were told the plan would mean that costs’d drop
We’d get a deal – shed no tears!
Now we’re poor and broke on a Halifax pier
Still fighting Emera’s profiteers.
We asked five supporters of power-nationalization how much buying back NSPI would add to Nova Scotia’s debt, and what the affect on the yearly deficit would be. No one could give us a cost for buying back the power grid.
NS Power was sold on the cheap – but Emera won’t be looking to sell for a loss – they are looking out only for shareholders. While public ownership is ideal in an ideal world, buying back Nova Scotia Power today, with its deteriorating infrastructure and it’s soon-to-be-obsolete power plants, makes no sense.
The government already spends $900 million a year on debt servicing costs – money that would be spent on programs if the debt were tackled. Buying back Nova Scotia could bankrupt the province. The grassroots needs to know the cost of the mortgage before buying back Nova Scotia Power’s house.
* Originally, we used the phrase “pie-in-the-sky” instead of “hopeful”. Reader Kevin Russell said this was a “strangely anti-historical misuse of term” and an insult. He is correct, and we apologize for the error.