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Nova Scotia, New Brunswick joint power dispatch pares C$6.7M in costs

A pilot project that saw power jointly dispatched betweenneighboring provinces Nova Scotia and New Brunswick pared C$6.7 million in fueland other costs, short of anticipated savings of as much as C$20 million, butenough to allow the program to continue.

The plan will see the joint dispatch that began in March 2015extended to at least June 30 and possibly beyond that point, according to aMarch 31 report from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, or UARB. Thereport was redacted to remove confidential information. 's andprovince-owned NB Powerare working on a longer-term arrangement to continue the plan, the UARB said.

"The pilot has generated significant fuel cost savingsfor customers of both [Nova Scotia] Power and NB Power," the UARB said. "Thesesavings have been achieved in an environment of low commodity prices, which hasbenefitted customers overall, but which also reduced the savings achievablethrough joint dispatch. Through the Pilot Extension Term, the parties willcontinue to work together to create additional savings for customers, whileexploring the possibility of a longer-term arrangement to build on the successof the pilot."

The two provinces have a combined population of about 1.7million and have shared power resources since a tie-line was constructed in the1970s. NB Power owns the 660-MW PointLepreau nuclear generating station and hydroelectric generation aswell as heavy fuel oil, diesel and coal-fired generation. Nova Scotia Powergets about 60% of its electricity from coal-fired generators.

The utilities plan to evaluate the possibility of usingsoftware to jointly dispatch generating units in the two provinces, which couldfurther boost savings under the plan, the UARB report said.