Nalcor and Emera to present new cable deal to regulator: Newfoundland premier

GANDER, N.L. – The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador says her province’s Crown-owned utility and Emera have a solution they can present to Nova Scotia’s regulator to permit approval of a subsea hydro cable.

Kathy Dunderdale said in a weekend speech that Nalcor has crafted an agreement with Halifax-based Emera Inc. (TSX:EMA) for the Maritime Link they can present to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

The review board has ruled Emera needs to show it has access to surplus energy at the best price from the Muskrat Falls project _ or an equivalent supply from another supplier _ before it will approve a proposed $1.5-billion undersea cable.

Dunderdale said both companies have been meeting over the summer to find a solution satisfactory to all sides to meet that condition.

She said her office made clear to Nalcor that Nova Scotians weren’t to receive subsidized power rates and that Newfoundland and Labrador would be able to keep electricity for use in the province if it was required.

Dunderdale said after giving Nalcor those instructions, her officials told the Crown utility to, “go and craft a solution.”

“And they have crafted a solution and it’s going to go before the board very shortly and that issue will be resolved,” she said.

Nalcor has a 35-year deal with Emera subsidiary NSP Maritime Link Inc. to supply Nova Scotia with 20 per cent of the energy from the first phase of Nalcor’s hydroelectric development on the Lower Churchill River in exchange for paying 20 per cent of the capital and operating costs of the $7.7-billion Muskrat Falls project.

However, some Nova Scotia opponents of the deal questioned during regulatory hearings how much it will cost NSP Maritime Link to buy energy from Muskrat Falls if it wants to exceed the 20-per-cent block for which it has negotiated an annual contracted price.

The utility and review board shared those reservations in its findings.

Emera president Christ Huskilson has said the company will take the time it needs to do an analysis of the board’s decision.

Sasha Irving, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment directly on Dunderdale’s comments.

“Work continues on the project and we continue to work on the conditions,” she said in an interview on Monday.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.