Berwick Electric Commission

BEC Rates

January 2024:
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has approved new rates for the Berwick Electric Commission, which will be applied to the customer’s next bill. Domestic customers will see a 3.44 cent per kWh increase. All other rate classes can be viewed through the full board order.

The full board order can be found here FULL BOARD ORDER

Rates charged by the Berwick Electric Commission, have remained comparably low for many years through a combination of tight management of operating costs, and the development of wind resources in collaboration with the Towns of Antigonish, and Mahone Bay. The Ellershouse Wind Farm, Factorydale Hydro Dam, and new Community Solar Garden supply 68% of the community’s energy. The remaining 32% of power is imported and impacted by serious escalations in fuel prices in the world markets.

Our collective work through AREA (Alternative Resource Energy Authority), owned by the Towns of Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay, to secure and build renewable energy resources will help protect Berwick Electrical Commission customers from market rate increases in the future.

The Berwick Electric Commission cannot maintain its financial health and provide reliable service without adjusting rates to reflect the new reality of high market energy costs and future capital replacements. Local utility customers receive superior service through excellent response times and quicker turnarounds on electrical inspection requests.

The transition away from fossil fuels for heating and transportation, combined with our increasingly renewable energy supply, provides a pathway for stable customer rates and increased financial health for the Utility. The future is bright, but these next several years will be difficult as we remain exposed to volatile market prices.

Alternative Resource Energy Authority Request for Proposals

Read more: Alternative Resource Energy Authority Request for Proposals

Factorydale Hydro Electric

Content to be moved from History

Ellershouse Wind Farm

The rising costs of energy in Nova Scotia and a world in desperate need of moving towards green energy formed the basis for three Towns who own their own electric utilities to come together to form a partnership that led to the creation of the Ellershouse Wind Farm.

The Towns of Antigonish, Berwick and Mahone Bay have partnered together, creating the Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA), which built a wind farm to combat rising power costs and to achieve green energy targets proposed by the province of Nova Scotia. To learn more about the start of the Ellershouse Wind Farm and the partners that started the project, watch the video.

Ellershouse Wind Farm began construction in the summer of 2015, using top quality gearless turbines from Enercon. The wind farm started supplying power in December 2015 and all four turbines were working by the end of January 2016. As of 2018, the Ellershouse Wind Farm has a ten turbine, 23.5 MW facility supplying power to the grid. Since the addition of the wind farm, the Town is ahead of schedule to meet the Province of Nova Scotia's 40% renewable energy deadline by 2020.

With the addition of this wind farm as a new power source, the municipal utilities are able to stabilize power rates for customers, any profits made from the sale of this green energy resource will stay among the AREA members, West Hants will receive taxes from the wind farm, and most honourable of all, the green energy targets set by the province will be met!

The benefits of renewable energy allow the Town to provide lower electricity rates so residents can better manage the cost of living and doing business. As the green energy industry continues to grow, the Town will look for new ways to expand our green energy portfolio in order to build a more environmentally friendly community.

Visit the AREA website here

Power Forward Challenge

Equilibrium Engineering and StorTera of Scotland have partnered with the Town of Berwick and Dalhousie University to launch an exciting new smart grid project under Natural Resources Canada’s Power Forward Challenge. The $3M Alba Nova pilot project was selected as the winner, and the project partners were awarded $1M. This project will offer benefits both to participants and the Berwick Electric Commission. The installation of solar (PV) and storage (batteries) with a novel distributed artificial intelligence (AI) control system will help shape the future electric grid.

10 lucky homeowners have had residential solar (~7 kW) and storage (20 kWh) systems installed in their homes. At least 50% of the selected volunteers have also undertaken energy upgrades on their homes that were packaged, delivered and financed with no up-front cost through the town’s turn-key Berwick Green Energy Program.

Berwick will also see two large commercial energy storage systems (250-kW/550 kWh) installed at the Town Hall and the Kings Mutual Century Centre under the Alba Nova project.

The ultimate goal of the Alba Nova pilot project is to increase Berwick Electric’s capacity to take on more renewable energy generation, reduce grid demand through peak shaving and to ramp up energy efficiency while driving down greenhouse gas emissions in the Town of Berwick.

 View a video about the Power Forward Challenge

To read more about Berwick's Power Forward Challenge win: https://www.saltwire.com/nova-scotia/news/berwicks-solar-storage-pilot-project-wins-1-million-prize-100716338/?fbclid=IwAR2kdqDw0ydOXsOnPjbczNed7qvR0-b5opyOIJgGJzMDzEhEtqN2vhQFME8

PFC

Alternative Energy Initiatives

Leading the Scene by Going Green

  • 60%+ of the energy supplied to utility customers comes from renewable sources: hydroelectric, wind and solar

  • 27% of the Ellershouse Wind Farm is owned by the Town of Berwick

  • Our focus is customer care, reliability, and sustainability

  • Affordable Rates: As a municipally owned utility we are able to offer affordable rates!

Learn more about AREA, the Alternative Energy Resource Authority, visit https://www.areans.ca/