The power-generating assets associated with the former Abitibi paper mill in central Newfoundland, expropriated by the provincial government in December 2008, can be considered by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) as part of the coming review of the provincial power business, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The reference questions for the review, released this week, make specific note of a collection of Nalcor Energy entities as subject to review: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Labrador Island Link (LIL) Holding Corp., LIL General Partner Corp., LIL Operating Corp., Lower Churchill Management Corp., Muskrat Falls Corp., Labrador Transmission Corp., Nalcor Energy Marketing Corp., the Gull Island Power Co. and Nalcor Energy. However, the former Abitibi assets are not completely covered there.
The hydro dams and generating stations along the Exploits River that once served the shuttered paper mill — sometimes referred to as Exploits Generation — have been operated by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, but are not Hydro assets. They are not owned by Hydro.
Hydro has been operating the assets under an agreement with the provincial government.
They are still direct government assets and Hydro’s operating licences were extended by the government earlier this year, under the Abitibi-Consolidated Rights and Assets Act.
In response to questions to clarify ownership of the assets, The Telegram received a statement by email from the Department of Natural Resources.
“The reference question does not refer to Exploits specifically, however there is opportunity for the Public Utilities Board to consider it,” it says.
“Maximizing domestic load or exports is one of the considerations in the reference question. From that perspective, the Public Utilities Board could consider Exploits to be part of the mix. It will be up to the PUB to make that determination.”
As previously reported, the review will not include the ability to dig into the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. (CFLCo) or Nalcor Oil and Gas.