Letter: Stop digging already

Published on June 29, 2017

Far be it from me to defend Nalcor (and/or this Muskrat Falls boondoggle), but the June 24 Weekend Telegram editorial “Beyond boondoggle” states that “Not only did the past administration of the project low-ball the capital costs, they low-balled the ongoing operational costs, too... In 2012, the operating costs were pegged at $35 million a year.

Now, the numbers have risen to $109 million annually… an additional $75 million a year and a basic 50-year asset lifespan … that’s a whopping $3.75 billion in operations and maintenance costs that apparently wouldn’t have been taken into account when the government told us that Muskrat Falls was the lowest-cost source for power.”

With respect to this (apparently new) increased operating and maintenance cost estimate, Premier Ball has said that he first became aware of this major increase (nearly a tripling) of operating and maintenance costs on or about June 23 when Stan Marshall provided him with a copy of a 2013 SNC-Lavelin risk assessment report.

But how does this “new information” jive with Nalcor’s 2011 Technical Briefing to the Media?

That briefing/presentation shows that the Muskrat Falls operating costs for 2018 would be about $60 million, increasing steadily to about $210 million in 2066, for a yearly average of about $135 million.

So how can it be (as now claimed) that the operating and maintenance costs were originally low-balled?

And how can Premier Ball (or Stan Marshall) feign ignorance, when these higher operating costs were shown as far back as 2011 and has been publicly available (slide number 34) on my website since 2012?

Like so many things about Muskrat Falls nothing seems to add up.

What does however add up, and what is very well known, is that when one finds him or herself in a deep hole, one should first stop digging.


Maurice E. Adams