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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Phalanx View Post
It's not related to the pending rate hike, but Rob Bennett is on record as saying that it will be factored into future rate hikes.

http://www.novascotiabusinessjournal...=149861&sc=107

I understand that they have to pay for a building, I understand that using their own property is better than leasing, but I don't understand why we have to pay for the renovations when they're perfectly capable of paying for it themselves.
Have you ever heard of the concept of an "angle"? It's something journalists use to construct a story around. This particular writer chose to build his story around the cost of the building. He then chose to get quotes (ridiculous ones in some cases) from people who were only too glad to travel down his blind alley.

The problem is, they are all wrong.

The article says early on (but the author manages to totally ignore) that the new arrangement will be CHEAPER than the existing. Yes, it gets factored into rates. So does their existing lease. The fact of the matter is that this writer was a total idiot, didn't understand or didn't listen to what was presented, and went down the garden path on a rate hike angle without any clue that it really isn't the story here at all. Hell, if it does turn out to be cheaper, it may lessen the impact of other factors on rates.

You need to ignore that idiotic story.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 12:47 AM
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Actually I read it will be the other way around. Emera will be a tenant of NSPI.
I guess we will see, but that is my understanding of the business case.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 12:51 AM
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Anybody know approximately how much office space will be left vacant by NSP in Scotia Square? I wonder if that would have any negative impact on the ability of upcoming projects to attract tenants.
130,000 square feet

As for the impact, hard to say but one needs to look hard at the new Absorption numbers for B class, not existing tenants just shifting around.

Ask me, it will have a significant effect if a number of the proposed projects come online. Then again if they do it won't matter as the entire market will be upside down, just like it was for the past 10-15 years after purdys II was introduced.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 1:43 AM
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Originally Posted by phrenic View Post
Anybody know approximately how much office space will be left vacant by NSP in Scotia Square? I wonder if that would have any negative impact on the ability of upcoming projects to attract tenants.
Over 100,000 square feet comes to mind if I'm remembering correctly. It shouldn't affect upcoming project since the upcoming office developments are for high-quality space. Scotia Square is probably more hurt by the new developments then they are by it.

Oops SDM and company beat me to it
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 2:38 AM
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Thanks, both of you.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 3:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Have you ever heard of the concept of an "angle"? It's something journalists use to construct a story around.
Again, not an idiot here, please don't treat me like one...

Quote:
This particular writer chose to build his story around the cost of the building. He then chose to get quotes (ridiculous ones in some cases) from people who were only too glad to travel down his blind alley. The problem is, they are all wrong....
Yeah, the problem there is that this isn't the only piece saying it... There was an interview on CBC where the same part about rate hikes being necessary to pay for the building was said. ...And just how is it 'wrong'?

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The article says early on (but the author manages to totally ignore) that the new arrangement will be CHEAPER than the existing. Yes, it gets factored into rates. So does their existing lease.
That's beside the point... Why should we pay for it at all when there are other viable methods for paying for it? I've yet to hear a reasonable answer to that.

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The fact of the matter is that this writer was a total idiot, didn't understand or didn't listen to what was presented, and went down the garden path on a rate hike angle without any clue that it really isn't the story here at all.
Er... I thought it was fairly balanced. The author points out the environmental objectives, and includes the part about it being the cheapest option... The PoV of both sides was presented. Can you point out where anything is factually incorrect with the article?

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Hell, if it does turn out to be cheaper, it may lessen the impact of other factors on rates.
So please answer... why should we pay for this when there are other methods that could be used, and -are- used by just about every other business?
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 5:00 AM
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What are these other methods that do not involve taking money from ratepayers? Also, how is this relevant when there may be little or no net cost imposed and a portion of revenues currently go to paying for leased space?

It is a fundamental part of the nature of business that customers provide moneys to companies which is in turn used to fund business-related expenditures.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 5:25 AM
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I agree with Someone123. What other method is there for them to pay. They are a power company, their source of revenue are those that pay for the power they produce. So why is it bad for that money to go towards a new office space? I don't get whats so bad about this.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Phalanx View Post
Again, not an idiot here, please don't treat me like one...
Nobody is suggesting you are. Please stop saying that. Cripes...

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Yeah, the problem there is that this isn't the only piece saying it... There was an interview on CBC where the same part about rate hikes being necessary to pay for the building was said. ...And just how is it 'wrong'?
You ever been to a press conference with the media? And don't respond by saying you aren't an idiot, please. If you have, you will remember that when questions get asked by reporters, they often take the discussion way off into another direction. I am certain that's what happened here and as a result some of the coverage took this misguided angle.

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That's beside the point... Why should we pay for it at all when there are other viable methods for paying for it? I've yet to hear a reasonable answer to that.
That's because there isn't a reasonable answer to an unreasonable question. We pay for their lease costs now as part of the rate formula. We will pay for occupancy costs anywhere as part of the rate formula. Would the regulator expect them to conduct their business on the sidewalk?

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So please answer... why should we pay for this when there are other methods that could be used, and -are- used by just about every other business?
You've lost me here. They will pay for it either by funding it out of earnings or by taking on debt and repaying it over time, just like any other business.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 3:45 PM
Phalanx Phalanx is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Nobody is suggesting you are. Please stop saying that. Cripes...
"Have you ever heard of an 'angle'..." ...Uh-huh.

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...I am certain that's what happened here and as a result some of the coverage took this misguided angle.
Misguided how?

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That's because there isn't a reasonable answer to an unreasonable question. We pay for their lease costs now as part of the rate formula. We will pay for occupancy costs anywhere as part of the rate formula. Would the regulator expect them to conduct their business on the sidewalk?
But that's my point. General infrastructure costs are already built into the formula. This is a one time expenditure which they can afford this without a rate increase. ...Yet they're going to ask for a rate increase to pay for the renovation, and that's an increase we're going to be stuck with forever.

Quote:
You've lost me here. They will pay for it either by funding it out of earnings or by taking on debt and repaying it over time, just like any other business.
That would be fine if that were the actual case...
...But why is Mr. Bennett saying that the cost of this is going to be passed on to the customers, then?
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 3:53 PM
Phalanx Phalanx is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
What are these other methods that do not involve taking money from ratepayers?
Borrowing against future earnings, issuing stocks, bonds, or just reinvesting current earnings. And yes, I'm aware that bonds have to be paid back over time.

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Also, how is this relevant when there may be little or no net cost imposed and a portion of revenues currently go to paying for leased space?
Because according to their CEO, there will be a cost imposed, and we're not likely to see the end of it.

Quote:
It is a fundamental part of the nature of business that customers provide moneys to companies which is in turn used to fund business-related expenditures.
Yes, I'm aware. That's what we're already doing, and they're operating in the black, which is as it should be... So why should they pass the cost of this down to us, too?
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 7:22 PM
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Phalanx does bring up a good question here, why do our power rates, have to go up, so that NSPI can have the greenest building on the block? Also with this new building, wouldn't they be making Halifax a bit of a joke, with the three ugly sisters just on the other side of the Harbour?

The financing is the real question, do you want your electrical bill to go up, even though you are now probably using less power, due to smart product purchasing around your home, because there is a new building on the waterfront?

Does Donald Trumps tenants rent go up, every time he breaks ground for a building?

I like the building... kind of. I was hoping for something more dynamic. The LEEDS certification is awesome, but I'm not down with my power bill going up, when I know I'm using less, I had a hard time paying for it all last year, and I recorded my usage, then and up till now.

C.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 8:35 PM
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I give up...
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2008, 11:46 PM
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I think the point that seems to be being overlooked is that NSPI is a monopoly and as such cannot charge more without requesting a rate increase and having it approved.

The same thing happens in every business, for example your mechanic renovates his garage, he can increase his hourly rate to help pay for it if he wants. It's the same situation except if you don't like it you can find another mechanic.

Bottom line NSPI has to apply for a rate increase if it's not justified it won't be approved
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2008, 5:47 AM
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Which I'm cool with, but what Phalanx was pointing out, was that they are operating in the black. If they are turning a profit, and expand on they're home base, where is the justification for higher rates? It's not like they're going to not make money. Who else are NSer's going to buy power from?
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2008, 2:46 PM
BravoZulu BravoZulu is offline
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Without seeing financial statements it is hard to make a determination regarding a rate increase. Yes it has been reported that they are operating in the black, but they are in the business of making money, so perhaps their profit margin is not at the level they want it to be due to fuel costs etc, so they apply for a rate increase to increase profits, which has to be approved by the URB (because we don't have the option to buy power elsewhere) if they deem it justified.

Seems to me that if the URB approves a rate increase then we need to trust that they (having all the relavant info in front of them) agree that it is necessary.

and IMHO if they said we want a rate increase "to pay for a new building" the URB wouldn't take too long to refuse it.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 4:17 PM
BravoZulu BravoZulu is offline
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Hey, does anyone know if the parking lot to the north of the lot between the power station and bishops is owned by NSPI? I would assume it is, but looking at the NS property assessment website they are two different parcels of land.

I'm just wondering if that will be redevelopped as part of this proposal. I seem to remember some talk of a park there, but that might have just been rumour. Anyway, just curious, any insight would be appreciated.

Cheers

BZ

Last edited by BravoZulu; Jul 9, 2008 at 4:18 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #38  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 4:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BravoZulu View Post
Hey, does anyone know if the parking lot to the north of the lot between the power station and bishops is owned by NSPI? I would assume it is, but looking at the NS property assessment website they are two different parcels of land.

I'm just wondering if that will be redevelopped as part of this proposal. I seem to remember some talk of a park there, but that might have just been rumour. Anyway, just curious, any insight would be appreciated.

Cheers

BZ
My understanding this is Waterfront Development Corp land.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2008, 8:34 PM
BravoZulu BravoZulu is offline
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Thanks sdm, I guess that would explain why they are listed as two parcels of land then. Too bad I can't see who the owner is on that website without a password, must be public record somewhere though. I'll keep looking
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  #40  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Power move:
NSP plans to spend $58.2m on new waterfront offices
By JUDY MYRDEN Business Reporter
Thu. Sep 4 - 5:17 AM



An artist’s view of the planned new Nova Scotia Power offices on the waterfront. Georges Island is in the backgound.





Nova Scotia Power wants to spend $58.2 million to turn an old power generating station on the Halifax waterfront into its new corporate offices.

The privately owned utility says the multimillion-dollar renovation of the abandoned building would be in the "best interests" of its 470,000 customers.

Consumer advocate John Merrick called it "bad timing" on Nova Scotia Power’s part to announce it wants to spend tens of millions of dollars on new headquarters at the same time it is asking the Utility and Review Board for permission to raise residential power rates by 12 per cent next year.

He said most customers may find the request for an increase hard to swallow while the power company is recording record profits.

"It raises the question whether this is an appropriate time to build new headquarters," said Mr. Merrick, who represents Nova Scotia Power’s 440,000 residential customers across the province.

The review board is to begin hearing NSP’s application for a rate increase on Sept. 15. The hike, if approved, would be the fifth in seven years.

Nova Scotia Power Inc. says in documents filed with the government regulator that it would cost less to renovate the old power station than to continue to rent corporate office space.

The proposed $58.2-million renovation is "$5 million less than the second-lowest-cost alternative," building new offices outside the downtown core, the company wrote in 38 pages of evidence.

"The Water Street renovation is the lowest-cost option for NSPI customers," the documents say. "The expenditure rehabilitates a decommissioned NSPI facility in the downtown core of the province’s capital city and improves the esthetics of utility infrastructure located at this site."

The other option Nova Scotia Power considered was to stay at its current location in Barrington Tower at Scotia Square, where it has rented space since 1971. Details of how much it would cost to stay there were blacked out on the documents, but NSP said it would be more expensive to continue to rent than to renovate the Water Street building. The Barrington Tower lease expires in March 2011.

The Water Street building would be renovated to include six floors of office space and meeting rooms, and it would be home to about 400 employees. Until recently, the old power station housed Electropolis Studios, one of Halifax’s premier film production houses. Electropolis moved to a Sackville Street location after failing to reach a deal with NSP last year to stay on Water Street.

The review board also must approve the renovation proposal and Nova Scotia Power is asking for a "timely" decision so construction could begin in January if it gets the green light.

( jmyrden@herald.ca)
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