Parody of popular folk song protests rising power rates
A well-known folk song has become the latest weapon in a growing backlash against Nova Scotia Power's latest rate hike application.
The song, performed by the Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council's Solidari-Glee, is a parody of the Stan Rogers hit, "Barrett's Privateers." Many of the words have been changed but the refrain strikes a familiar chord with those fed up with high power rates and the rising salaries of "Emera's profiteers."
With lyrics such as ‘oh the year was 1992, how I wish I'd known what I know now…' the song slams the privatization of the utility company and asks that the power be returned to the people.
Last week, Nova Scotia Power filed an application asking for a rate hike of six per cent over two years, which has many people crying for change.
"What we're hoping to do is make folks aware that there are alternatives," says Kyle Buott, a spokesman with the Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council. "There are options and the one we want to really start talking about is returning Nova Scotia Power to public democratic ownership."
It seems the council's message is shared by thousands of Nova Scotia Power customers. An online petition is growing at a rate of three to five names per minute, with more than 18,000 signatures in total.
Some seniors say they are struggling to cope with the rising cost of power.
"Somehow I'm going to have to do without things," says customer Norma Anderson. "It's either going to be some of my medication or some of my groceries. You have no choice."
"I have to cut down my coffee at Tim's, use my bike more often," says customer Terry Michalopoulos. "I have to find about $200 a month to save because I'm a senior."
It seems residential customers aren't the only ones frustrated over the possibility of yet another rate hike. Local business owners say if the increase is improved, they will be forced to make a tough decision – lose customers or pay out of their own pocket.
Business owner Nemat Sobhani says he works double the hours and makes much less. He also says the utility's rates are out of control and need to be re-evaluated.
"Monopolies are no good regardless, but especially when a monopoly is on a utility," sats Sobhani. "This is what we've done. We've basically given a monopoly for something we can't live without."
Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, will be holding its annual general meeting in Halifax on June 7.
The Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council says a rally is in the works for that day.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jill Matthews