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Read The Fine Print: Terms Of Service, Privacy Policies And The Power Of Knowledge

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Mark Tipperman was hoping to do something good for the environment when he looked at installing solar power panels on his Gaspereau home in 2015 through Nova Scotia Power's net-metering program. But there was a problem.

Under net metering, a homeowner uses renewable energy to meet their own electricity needs. If they produce more, the extra energy is put on Nova Scotia Power's grid and the homeowner is credited for that. If they use more energy than they produce, they are billed for the additional energy.

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Tipperman met with a company that did renewable energy installations for homes and he put down a $1,000 non-refundable deposit for a solar project that was expected to cost around $20,000.

Part of getting set up with Nova Scotia Power's net-metering program involves signing a nine-page legal agreement. That's when the problems started for Tipperman.

A lawyer with almost 45 years of experience practising commercial real estate, including negotiating contracts, leases and legal agreements, he said he couldn't sign the contract.

A Nova Scotia Power spokesperson says that in the case of disputes, one option is to use the services of a dispute resolution officer who works to resolve the concerns of customers. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"There were a number of provisions that were very one-sided," said Tipperman.

He said he raised his concerns with Nova Scotia Power and even spoke to a company lawyer about them, but was told no significant changes would be made. As a result, he decided not to move ahead with the project.

"I wasn't going to sign a contract that was, frankly, unreasonable," said Tipperman.

Legal agreement not vetted by UARB

One of his chief concerns is that the agreement wasn't approved by the Utility and Review Board. While the framework for Nova Scotia Power's net-metering program falls under the board's authority, the legal agreement doesn't have to be approved by the board.

"They [Nova Scotia Power] shouldn't be employing a contract with consumers that hasn't been vetted and basically made reasonable by the regulatory authority, so I think there's a hole there," said Tipperman.


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Source : http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-power-net-metering-agreement-criticisms-1.4546104

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