News release

Legislation to Modernize Electricity System, Improve Regulation

Natural Resources and Renewables
clean energy

New legislation introduced today, February 27, will modernize Nova Scotia’s electricity system and enhance public utility regulation in the energy sector.

“We want Nova Scotia ratepayers to have clean, reliable and affordable electricity. Bold changes are needed to our electricity system to do that,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “With this legislation, we’re changing how the electricity system is structured and regulated. This will make it more accountable, transparent and competitive to make sure ratepayers get the lowest cost options and put the province in a better position as we move to clean energy.”

The Energy Reform (2024) Act creates two new acts and repeals the Utility and Review Board Act.

The new Energy and Regulatory Boards Act will split the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board into two new boards. It will create the new Nova Scotia Energy Board with expertise in and a focus on regulating public utilities in the energy sector. The new Energy Board will be required to consider the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act in its decisions. The remaining responsibilities of the Utility and Review Board will stay with a restructured and renamed Regulatory and Appeals Board.

The new More Access to Energy Act will create an Independent Energy System Operator to manage the operations of the electricity system, making sure electricity is delivered where and when it is needed. It will also manage the connection of renewable energy projects to the grid. These will no longer be functions of Nova Scotia Power.

The new independent, non-profit organization, managed by a CEO reporting to a board of directors, will also take on responsibilities for system planning and procuring new energy sources. This change will enhance transparency and accountability to Nova Scotians and the energy sector.

The Nova Scotia Energy Board is expected to be established this year, with the new Independent Energy System Operator fully operational by late 2025.

The bill also updates other legislation related to these acts, including the Electricity Act, the Public Utilities Act and all legislation that refers to the Utility and Review Board.

Also under the Public Utilities Act, the bill makes amendments to:

  • remove a barrier to Nova Scotia Power owning a nuclear power generating station, allowing the utility to consider the use of small nuclear reactors in future
  • require all larger scale public utilities to conduct public procurements for increased transparency and accountability.

Quick Facts:

  • the legislation reflects the first and most significant recommendation in the Clean Electricity Solutions Task Force report; the task force consulted with Nova Scotia Power, the Utility and Review Board and others to help inform its recommendations
  • other places like New Brunswick, Ontario and the United Kingdom take a similar approach to managing and regulating the electricity system
  • no job losses are expected because of the legislation; affected Nova Scotia Power and Utility and Review Board employees will be offered positions with the new entities
  • the current chair and members of the Utility and Review Board will continue to serve the two new boards
  • the legislation will not result in changes to Nova Scotia Power’s regulated assets

Additional Resources:

Bills tabled in the legislature are available at:

Clean Electricity Solutions Task Force report:

Utility and Review Board Act:

Electricity Act:

Public Utilities Act: