Prove it

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

So, let’s review. On Monday, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board handed down its decision on the Maritime Link, a key component of the Muskrat Falls project.

It said, in short, that the project does provide a marginally better option for Nova Scotia ratepayers, but that Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link Inc. (NSPML) must first firm up an arrangement to buy more power other than the block it’s getting for free.

Specifically, NSPML must “obtain from Nalcor the right to access Nalcor Market-priced Energy … when needed to economically serve NSPI and its ratepayers; or provide some other arrangement to ensure access to Market-priced Energy.” (NSPI is the province’s power distribution company.)

In response to the ruling. Nalcor boss Ed Martin placed a lot of emphasis on the word “or” in that clause.

This is worrisome, particularly since  Nalcor and NSPML’s parent company Emera made it clear in the past that buying extra power from Nalcor is an option.

Martin suggested he’s unwilling to put any more promises on the table. And that’s a bad thing, because it may jeopardize Emera’s ability to fulfil the utility board’s conditions.

Martin must clarify his position.

Likewise, Premier Kathy Dunderdale took an alarmingly nonchalant tone Tuesday in addressing news that Hydro-Quebec has filed court documents requesting clarity on its water rights at Churchill Falls.

The company argues that if any “flexible operation” of the Churchill Falls plant can be construed as generating extra power, Hydro-Quebec has first rights to that power.

Although the court challenge doesn’t specifically say so, it has direct implications for Muskrat Falls.

The latter relies completely on co-ordinating water usage with Churchill Falls. The rights to that water lie with Hydro-Quebec.

See the problem?

Nalcor brass have repeatedly said such a challenge would be spurious, because the Quebec utility would receive every bit of power it’s contractually due.

And it’s easy to see Hydro-Quebec’s challenge as little more than an under-handed attempt to scuttle or at least impede the project.

It’s exhibited similar cunning in the past. It is a business, in a competitive market.

That hardly matters. The water management issue has been floating around since at least 2009.

Nalcor and the province should have had all their ducks in a row by now.

In fact, one might ask why they didn’t seek legal clarity before the courts themselves.

Railing against the big, bad regime across the border does nothing to reassure people that all is in good hands on this end.

“Don’t worry,” the government says, “we’ve got everything under control.”

Really? Prove it.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link, Hydro-Quebec, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Nova Scotia, Quebec

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • EDfromRED
    July 29, 2013 - 06:47

    This deal has more exposed cracks than a plumbers convention. The PC Muskrat Falls cheerleaders and their big business masters must have their escape routes from the province planned well in advance, because they show no concerns over the common peoples response to being crippled financially in the future by this sketchy looking deal. Centuries ago it was Vikings who would pillage and flee, now it's our elected officials and the puppet masters who pull their strings. It's a pity the PC's did not have the same unstoppable fervor when it came to exploring the reasons why Search and Rescue failed Burton Winters.

  • Cashin Delaney
    July 26, 2013 - 21:26

    Maybe gold rings and lapel pins were just a warm up. Casing Confederation Hill, so to speak. Up the ante now. Turbines and transmission lines. Remember how the spending scandal ended? Me neither. The bean counters, gurus and lawyers took over, to our additional (continuing?) cost. From CBC: Amount of money spent by the provincial government on accounting/consulting/legal related to civil actions to recover constituency allowance overpayments and payments to third-party suppliers as of mid-July 2012: $749,572.99 Amount of money recovered by the government through those civil actions: $860,308.19 Net gain: $110,735.20 I've been entertained in the past by lawyers discussing the profitable ins and outs of suing their own spouses and even mothers, for profit. Not a big stretch of the imagination to believe that our government and supporting cast of hydro-rodents would act in a general manner as to induce legal action against itself, for profit.

  • Winston Adams
    July 26, 2013 - 13:47

    Brad Cabana is right, it seems to me, and few Nflders want to credit his insight and courage to bring this to our Nfld court. This editorial says HQ is cunning in this and past actions. To me it seems Nalcor and our government have been cunning in this scheme to get around HQ's rights that are fairly clear. HQ may want at times to reduce or increase flow and production on the Upper Churchill to maximize or reduce the output from other of their hydro sites. To do so would now impede the Muskrat production. Nalcor wishes to be in control of this, which appears to negatively impact HQ rights. This scheme is either cunning and probably illegal or else it is ingenious. Ingenious solutions make for world class companies, and I guess the courts will enlighten us. Dunderdale ensures us Nalcor is world class. We can hope for that, but I wouldn't bet on it.

  • Brad Cabana
    July 26, 2013 - 08:43

    From the Supreme Court of Canada review of the Reversion Act 1984: " Even if the flow of electricity to Quebec continued at the same rate and for the same price after coming into enforce of this Act, it would be in the form of a priviledge rather than enforceable right. All of this, in my opinion, points to one conclusion: the Reversion Act is a colourable attempt to interfere with the power contract and thus to derogate from the rights of Hydro Quebec to receive an agreed ammount of power at an agreed price." Folks, this law established 28 years ago by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which is not open to challenge. So, as you can read, our government and Nalcor have mislead us, blowing $800 million to a billion in the process. That's the sad truth.