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Premier Dwight Ball says progress is being made on rate mitigation, but details are limited.
“There’s been a lot of work that’s been done between the province and the federal government. There’s still discussions unfolding through the week. We’ve made considerable advancement this week on rate mitigation. We’re not quite there yet,” Ball said.
“We’ll be working through the weekend with officials.”
The Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) submitted its final report on rate mitigation options to the government on Friday.
However, recent concerns about the Muskrat Falls project are making the job that much more difficult.
Software needed to operate the Labrador-Island Link is now six months behind schedule and issues with Soldiers Pond continue to cast a shadow over the June 2017 cost and schedule update given by Stan Marshall. The $12.7-billion cost estimate and end-of-2020 schedule remain in place as it stands, Ball said.
“These are still obviously talked about as risk, as well as the synchronous condensers at Soldiers Pond,” he said.
“The answer doesn’t necessarily have to be there, but this could have an impact on budget and schedule. We have to put a mechanism that will, in case something should happen. I spoke to the CEO and the board earlier this week and there’s no reason to believe that the schedule and budget will change.”
Ball says while the risks remain, the target for electricity rates remains 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
“I’m standing here today and saying that we’re working, continue to work within the plan that we put to the people of the province, we ran an election on, and still remains the number one priority for people in our province,” he said.
“Right now we’re working with the federal government, working with Nalcor and others, because you know there are lots of other financers that are part of this plan, as well. I will say the contracts that are in place are tight contracts. There’s a lot of moving parts in putting together a rate mitigation plan. They key is to have willing partners at that table.”