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Here’s why Irving Oil is before New Brunswick’s Energy and Utilities Board

Click to play video: 'Irving Oil looks to hike wholesale price of fuel but won’t show why' Irving Oil looks to hike wholesale price of fuel but won’t show why
WATCH: Irving Oil is looking to hike the wholesale price of fuel. The company says it needs to charge more for its products because of a financial hit caused by the pandemic. But as Travis Fortnum reports, Irving Oil doesn’t want to say how big of a hit they’ve taken – Jan 29, 2021

Irving Oil is scheduled to appear before the New Brunswick Energy and Utility Board (EUB) in March, asking for clearance to increase wholesale prices. If approved, that would mean a 4.09-cent-per-litre hike for motor fuel and 3.02 cents per litre for furnace oil.

But now the company says it can’t wait that long.

It’s gone before the board early asking for permission to immediately put a portion of those anticipated increases in place.

In the case of motor fuel, it wants to increase prices by 3.5 cents per litre ASAP. It wants a three-cent-per-litre hike on furnace oil.

The company cites challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in its reasoning for the urgency – namely a decrease in demand and increase in costs.

Read more: Irving Oil lays off 60 workers at its refinery in Saint John due to COVID-19

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Its most recent hike request began to be heard by the board Monday but was adjourned before long when a lot of the evidence the company submitted to state its case was redacted.

Interveners argue much of what they would consider pertinent information has been blacked out by Irving Oil. Recieved through EUB

Interveners objected to the secrecy, citing limitations the blacked-out figures put on their arguments.

So another hearing came up Friday, with whether or not the redacted information should be shared now the focus.

Read more: New Brunswick premier dismisses call for resignation of natural resources minister

“You cannot make an economic argument without providing numbers,” said Abram Lutes with Common Front for Social Justice NB.

“There needs to be some sort of numerical substantiation of these claims that can be examined.”

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Irving Oil says revealing what’s been redacted could hurt their business. Submitted to EUB

Irving Oil argues that revealing what’s redacted could make it vulnerable to competition in a volatile market.

Having now heard both sides of that argument, the EUB took Friday afternoon to deliberate, with its verdict on whether or not to show the numbers to interveners expected Monday morning.

Then the hearing will shift focus back to whether or not these increases will be allowed.

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