Public Utility Regulation in Nova Scotia

“The Telephone Utility is one of the oldest and largest public utilities, and perhaps the one which comes into direct contact with the most people in their workaday lives. The telephone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, a man well and favourably known in Nova Scotia, as during the last years of his life he made his home in Cape Breton, just outside of Baddeck. The first telephone in Halifax was installed in 1877, and the first actual commercial use of the service was at the Caledonia Mine, Cape Breton, also in the same year. At this time the receiver and transmitter were not separate, but the same instrument was used for both, being changed back and forth from ear to mouth. In 1878 the first long distance call in Nova Scotia was placed from Halifax to Truro. In 1879 the first switchboard to connect the different lines in Halifax became necessary. It was located in an office on Hollis Street. No directory was issued until 1880, and the first one carried the names of 77 subscribers. A submarine cable was laid across Halifax Harbour in 1881 to provide direct Halifax connections for Dartmouth users.”

“The Town of Dartmouth first had continuous 24 hour electric service when the cable was laid crossing the Halifax Harbour in June, 1916. Rates at this time were 12 1/2 c. net per kilowatt hour for general lighting service. In 1917 these rates were reduced by 20% or 25% where a contract was signed for five years. In 1927 the Board’s standard form of rate was adopted in Dartmouth, and for residence service was 3c. per hundred square feet of floor area, 7c. per kilowatt hour for the first block, 2 1/2 c. per kilowatt hour for all excess (same as in Halifax). The next rate change was in December 26th, 1929, when the cost of current for the first block was reduced from 7c. to 5c. per kilowatt hour and all excess remained as in Halifax, at 2 1/2 c. It is the duty of the Board to see that all reasonable extensions in the public utility service are made, and this has been done in many cases in the last few years by agreement with the Public utility, and sometimes after public hearing.”

Roper, J.S. “Public Utility Regulation in Nova Scotia” Dalhousie Review, Volume 17, Number 1, 1937