Nalcor should answer questions

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I am looking forward to seeing Nalcor’s response to the questions Russell Wangersky posed in his article “Something is missing” in the Jan. 22 issue of The Telegram. He was referring to the U.S.-based Power Advisory, LLC report for the Nova Scotia government that suggested power from Hydro-Québec would be $402 million more than the Muskrat Falls power over the 35-year period of the contract. Wangersky revealed that the consultants had not even spoken to Hydro-Québec about the price of its electricity before dismissing it as being more expensive than power from Muskrat Falls.

The pertinent question that he raised is how could the consultants possibly come to the conclusion that the cost of Hydro-Québec power would be $402 million more than Muskrat Falls power without knowing what Hydro-Québec was prepared to offer?

Nalcor may have a logical explanation for this and, if so, I feel it is incumbent on them to publically state what that explanation is. If they can’t, it would imply that the report is seriously flawed and if the consultants have been paid a fee for their report, the Nova Scotia government should take steps to recover the fee.

The article also raised another interesting question. “How much, per kilowatt hour, will it cost Nova Scotian energy firm Emera for power from Muskrat Falls?”

The article points out that it should not be too difficult for Emera to provide this information, but that Emera refused to reveal it when its executives were asked directly about it in a Nova Scotia legislative committee session. It is an important number that the Power Advisory must have known in order to make its comparison and yet must have been deliberately left out of the final document.

All this raises another interesting question. “Should Nalcor shareholders be given access to this pertinent information?” The shareholders in this case, of course, are the Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers.


Burford Ploughman

St. John’s

Organizations: Hydro-Québec, Power Advisory, The Telegram Nova Scotia legislative committee

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Nova Scotia, U.S. Nova Scotian Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Casey
    January 29, 2013 - 13:20

    Yea you gotta admire NL's top journalists. While our great benefactor in Ottawa was allowing foreigners to rape NL's fishing banks most of NL's journalists barely whimpered. Way to go,criticize what you can about the Muskrat Falls project and call it hard hitting journalism.

    • Eli
      January 29, 2013 - 15:20

      Where are you coming from CASEY? Since when was a personal view on something connedcted with recognized journalists? Get real b'y.

  • Cold Future
    January 29, 2013 - 12:56

    The price of the power to Emera has been stated by Nalcor and government. It is free for 35 years, 225 MW initially and 170 MW later on. The subsea cable is to be made larger to take some excess power. Whether there is infrastructure to take it to market on the mainland is another matter. It would be subject to transmission wheeling tariffs. Whether Nalcor can sell it or it has to be sold by Emera may depend upon the FERC rules under Nafta. The only sure thing is that the NL ratepayer will subsidize any power sold below the cost of delivery. Quebec will likely determine the Muskrat selling price because it has to compete with their price. The John Smith idea that the water can flow over the dam is the nuttyest thing since the first O’Henry bar was made.After Muskrat is built it must generate with whatever water can be put through its turbines

  • lonenewfwolf
    January 29, 2013 - 12:23

    The Atlantica Power Market: A plan for joint action. The AIMS Atlantica Papers #1 by Gordon L. Weil We need some coverage on what is REALLY going on here. Where are the investigative reporters?

  • saelcove
    January 29, 2013 - 10:53

    Does it bother anyone that nalcor is dealing with a company that is been investigated in Quebec for corruption (snc-lavalin) is the name

    • Corporate Psycho
      January 30, 2013 - 15:14

      Would love to hear the answer to that question. What about Liannu and Pennecon as wel?

  • Rchard
    January 29, 2013 - 09:10

    John, are you suggesting that Hydro Quebec's numbers (i.e. the prices they charge each of their purchasers) are publicly available. If you believe that to be the case, do you believe Nalcor's figures should be similarly available?

  • John Smith
    January 29, 2013 - 08:31

    Why would the consultant firm ask Quebec Hydro? Would not the prudent direction be to look at the industry, look at what QH is charging various customers now, and look at what they will charge in 20 years. If they ask QH they could get any answer....they could say they will charge .0001 per KH...jsut to stymie the deal. As far as what Emera will charge for the power, it will not make any difference to us if they charge $5.00 a KWH...or give it away for does not make one iota of difference. The whole idea is based on the fact that the best option for us to provide power to the proivince is to build muskrat...we will have some excess power for a few years, so we let the power flow over the dam and get nothing....untill we need it...or sell it in exchange for a cable, connectivity, the ability to sell power on the spot market at no charge...and in the end we get the what Emera does with the power matters not to us...

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 29, 2013 - 07:08

    And let me also ask "where is the Nalcor report that shows how much it would cost Nalcor to enter into a power purchase agreement with Hydro Quebec instead of building the Muskrat Falls dam and generation facility?". ...... Nalcor's own documents show (even based on the old DG2 numbers) that the dam/generation plant accounts for about 75% ($26 billion) of the cost to ratepayers over 50 years. It seems however that to purchase a similar amount of power from HQ that Nalcor says we need to get us to 2041 would cost ratepayers only about $3 billion (the transmission line over 50 years would cost about $9 billion over 50 years in either case). ---- Savings to ratepayers? $26 billion. See