Federal guarantee could lock provinces into Muskrat Falls project

No changes once regulator approves the $7.7 billion project.

December 5, 2012   by CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX — A federal loan guarantee for the Maritime Link portion of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project requires Nova Scotia to promise it won’t try to change the project after the regulator has approved it.

The loan guarantee agreement requires the province to sign a deal with Ottawa saying it won’t make legislative or policy changes that could affect the project once it has been sanctioned by the Utility and Review Board.

Newfoundland and Labrador must also agree to the same arrangement.
Premier Darrell Dexter says that part of the agreement confirms that once an asset goes into the power rate base, it stays there.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said he’s concerned ratepayers seem to be locked into the hydroelectricity even if cheaper energy becomes available.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said he thinks Nova Scotians will be alarmed to learn Emera can sanction the project and get started before the regulator makes a decision on it.

Emera is partnering with Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Crown energy corporation, on a proposal to develop hydroelectric power at the lower Churchill River in Labrador.

The entire Muskrat Falls project has an estimated cost of up to $7.7 billion.

© 2012 The Canadian Press/ Halifax Chronicle Herald

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