Every utility will use the cheapest source of power to satisfy its own energy needs first. For example, hydroelectric power will always be used, if available, because it is cheaper. As the need increases, a utility will obtain more energy from the next cheapest source available, with oil-fired generation generally being the last and most expensive source. The nature of the new 2001 energy supply contracts with NB Power and Emera generally requires Maritime Electric to purchase the most expensive power being used at that time, since NB Power and Emera will use the cheaper power to satisfy their own energy needs first. This arrangement forces Maritime Electric to manage energy purchases carefully, and indeed, this is done on an hourly basis at the Energy Management Centre.
What this means is that Prince Edward Island is basically getting what’s left on the table once New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have doled out the cheap power to their own residents.