Ottawa to be pressed to pay for Lepreau delays (10/04/26)

NB 610

April 26, 2010

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The federal government will be pressed by Premier Shawn Graham and Energy Minister Jack Keir to meet its responsibilities to New Brunswickers and cover all the costs associated with the delays at the Point Lepreau generating station.

The premier and Keir will travel to Ottawa on Tuesday, April 27, to call upon the federal government to cover the costs associated with these delays to mitigate the financial risk to ratepayers.

Keir made the announcement today following an update from NB Power on the deferral account and other costs associated with the delays.

The delays in the refurbishment project mean NB Power faces additional costs of about $475 million if the project is completed in February 2011. This could result in a one-time, across-the-board rate increase of three per cent or more should there be further delays. This increase will be beyond any increase that the utility may require next year for operating expenses.

"An increase in rates would be considerably less if the federal government steps up to its responsibility," Keir said. "As I have said all along, it is not fair for New Brunswickers to shoulder these costs. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has accepted responsibility for the delays. It is time for the federal government to take financial responsibility."

Keir has not been made aware by AECL of any additional delays beyond February 2011; the minister said, however, that he has been led to believe that there may be further complications and delays. Any delays beyond February 2011 will result in additional costs of about $30 million a month, adding further financial pressure on NB Power and New Brunswick ratepayers.

"It is not right for the ratepayers of New Brunswick to pay for AECL's learning curve, and the premier and I will be strongly delivering that message in Ottawa," said Keir. "The federal government has a clear financial obligation here."

Keir also thanked NB Power's team of employees for its dedication throughout the project.

"The employees at the Point Lepreau generating station are to be commended for their track record of safety while delivering Phase 1 of the project on time and on budget," he said.


MEDIA CONTACT: Bonnie Doyle Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-658-2410.