The province’s consumer advocate opposes a proposal by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro to increase power rates by up to 18 per cent on July 1.

Dennis Browne says Hydro wants the increase because of issues with the Rate Stabilization Plan. That plan has been in place since 1986. Its purpose was to provide domestic ratepayers with a mechanism to stabilize electricity bills during winter, when fluctuating oil prices affect the cost operating the Holyrood Generating Station.

Browne says it’s time to redesign the Rate Stabilization Plan.

Newfoundland Power advocates using money from the plan to reduce Hydro’s proposed rate increase. Browne is supporting that plan.

“To burden ratepayers with an 18 per cent rate increase is unacceptable,” he said in a news release. “The measures proposed by NL Power to offset the rate impact appear reasonable”.

Browne says he will vigorously oppose any extraordinary increase in customer power rates.