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Coronavirus: NB Power requests rate application delay, commits to no disconnections

NB Power says it will not disconnect customers amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
NB Power says it will not disconnect customers amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Kevin Godwin/Global News

NB Power says it has requested a pause on its rate application and committed to not disconnecting any customers for lack of payment until further notice.

The Crown corporation announced the decision in a message to customers on Tuesday in which the company sought to provide clarity in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Town of Rothesay, N.B., votes against installing smart meters at homes

“The situation has been changing by the minute and has led to a lot of uncertainty on how we move forward in these unprecedented times,” reads a release from NB Power.

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“The company acknowledges that the province’s residents may have difficulty paying their bills as a result of illness, job loss or requirements to self-isolate.”

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As a result, NB Power says it has asked the province’s energy and utilities board to delay rendering a decision on its general rate application and the implementation of smart meters.

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If it was fully accepted, the application would have seen a 1.9 per cent rate increase beginning April 1.

The energy and utilities board has since confirmed that they will adjourn their decision until further notice.

NB Power it will “not be disconnecting customers for non-payment until further notice” and that it has cancelled all planned power outages.

Public hearing on proposed NB Power smart meters wraps up
Public hearing on proposed NB Power smart meters wraps up

NB Power has also committed to working with its customers to “manage payments and payment arrangements.”

The company has now reduced its operations to essential services only, which includes emergencies, outage restoration, moving requests and essential water heater services.