Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy says he doesn’t know what Christopher Huskilson is talking about.
Huskilson, the CEO of Nova Scotia utility Emera, said in a legislative committee meeting energy prices of 14-16 cents per kilowatt hour were “too high.”
During the same meeting, he said Emera’s involvement in Muskrat Falls meant, “We’re paying no more and no less than Newfoundlanders will pay for this particular energy.”
However, Kennedy said as far as this province is concerned, the price of Muskrat Falls power will be 14.3 cents per kilowatt hour.
“What’ we’ve always maintained is the cost of delivering Muskrat Falls power to the ratepayers in the island of Newfoundland will be 14.3 cents per kilowatt/hour,” Kennedy said.
“That 14.3 cents includes a 15 per cent contingency for overruns. It includes escalation costs. It includes the cost of building the generating plant and the transmission link, and also the operational expenses, among other things.”
As far as Huskilson’s comments about being “too high” Kennedy said he doesn’t understand them.
“I can’t really explain what Mr. Huskilson is getting at there,” he said.
Kennedy said to cut through the controversy around the Muskrat Falls hydro deal, people should focus on two basic questions; does the province need the power, and is this the cheapest option to get it?
“These are the two issues that will be looked at by the Public Utilities Board,” Kennedy said. “So if we need power, and if rates are going up anyway — which we know they’re going up by approximately 37 per cent between 2011 and 2015 — then what are we going to do about our need for power, and our need to stabilize rates?”
The Public Utilities Board is in the process of reviewing Nalcor’s numbers, ahead of public consultations to independently review the necessity for the Muskrat Falls project.
The board will decide which is a lower-cost option, the current government plan, or an isolated-island option.