A community electric distribution utility.
One of the few remaining
community-owned utilities in Nova Scotia
“RELC is a community-owned utility providing 40 percent green electricity and the best rates and service to its members.”
Riverport Electric Light Commission (RELC) is a community electric distribution utility. There are six municipal utilities in the Province, which include:
- Antigonish Electric Utility
- Berwick Electric Light Commission
- Canso Electric Light Commission
- Lunenburg Electric Utility
- Mahone Bay Electric Utility
RELC purchases its power from New Brunswick Power. RELC pays Nova Scotia Power Inc. for use of its transmission lines and back-up/top-up. There is a substation on Indian Path Road. RELC also purchases wind power from Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA) in Ellershouse. More information regarding AREA is below.
RELC has to follow regulations approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSURB). Application must be made to NSURB to change the regulations. The public is entitled to receive a copy of our Regulations and Act.
Commissioners have to be an elector and a resident within the District for a period of at least one year next previous to his/her election. There are five Commissioners.
An owner of property within the District who is duly qualified to vote in the municipal election for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.
From 5776 Middle LaHave, East LaHave (ending at 688 Indian Path Road), North Side, Riverport, Lower LaHave, Rose Bay (ending at 3176 Hwy. 332), Lower Rose Bay, Upper Kingsburg Lower Kingsburg, and Kingsburg.
We have an Electric Utility Resources Sharing Agreement with the Town of Mahone Bay (i.e., employees, utility truck, etc.). There is a Shared Services Advisory Committee. The Chair, Secretary, and Office Administrator are part of this Committee. The Committee meets quarterly.
Strength in Numbers
The power of Collaboration
Strength In Numbers
In 2013, Mahone Bay, Antigonish and Berwick came together to begin looking for ways to combat rising power costs and achieve green energy targets proposed by the province. They created the Alternative Resource Energy Authority, an intra-municipal organization, to manage the initiative. AREA advised the towns to build a wind farm and hired Minas Energy to help AREA navigate the permitting and construction activities required to achieve commercial operation of the wind farm.
The partnership provided strength in numbers, allowing the towns to collectively pursue a project none had the resources to do alone. It also marked a significant shift for the municipal utilities, from passive energy distributors retailing wholesale power to their customers, to active green-energy producers.
The Ingredients for Success
In 2015, construction on the Ellershouse Wind Farm, in West Hants, began. Today, the farm’s 10 turbines produce up to 23.15 megawatts, supplying 40 percent of the energy for the three municipal utilities and the Riverport Electric Light Commission.
With this move into renewables, these Nova Scotia towns have the autonomy to generate cost-effective, clean electricity for their customers. They don’t just own a wind farm. In a sense, they own their communities’ energy destinies.
Wind projects, while exciting, are becoming relatively common and widespread.
What is unique and impressive in this model is that municipalities in different parts of Nova Scotia were able to work together to create new revenue streams for their towns and energy stability for their customers.
The Ellershouse Wind Farm generates a number of benefits, none greater than price predictability. The project provides approximately 40 percent of the towns’ energy, and at extremely stable rates.
Then there are the environmental benefits. Ellerhouse has allowed these communities to reduce their carbon footprint by approximately 30,000 tonnes a year.
Taxpayers also win. Revenues generated by the project help pay for municipal expenses and projects without the towns necessarily having to raise taxes to bankroll them. And the project is contributing directly to the communities through the Ellershouse Wind Farm Society, which gives $10,000 a year to local initiatives.
Source: Powering Our Future