March 24, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Government of New Brunswick will not proceed with an energy agreement with Hydro-Québec, Premier Shawn Graham announced today.
"Over the past several weeks, as we worked to take the energy agreement and turn it into a full legal document, a number of issues emerged," Graham said. "Hydro-Québec asked for changes to the agreement that would have unacceptably taken away some of the value and increased some of the risks for New Brunswickers."
Graham said that, during the process of moving from an agreement-in-principle to a legal contract, Hydro-Québec proposed further changes that were not in the best interests of New Brunswick.
"I believe the original agreement provided good value to New Brunswick in both direct benefits and reduced risks," said Graham. "I believe the amended agreement from January also provided good value for New Brunswick in terms of benefits and reduced risks. However, with Hydro-Québec's proposed changes, I do not believe New Brunswick receives enough in direct benefits and reduced risks to provide a deal worth signing. The reality is that, when Hydro-Québec did its due diligence, it found that there were more risks than it was willing to take on. This change in the position of Hydro-Québec meant that the terms of our agreement-in-principle could not be met. Our government could not accept that."
The government will now look at other alternatives to address the challenges facing NB Power and the electricity situation in New Brunswick, and in doing so, it will look for input from New Brunswickers.
"I think it is pretty clear to everyone that, even if you are doing the right thing, or the necessary thing, there is a right way and a wrong way of going about it," Graham said. "People were not upset with us for taking on the electricity issue; they were angry with us because they wanted to be part of the solution and our process did not let them in.
"I can assure you that, after the debate of the past few months, I have heard loud and clear that New Brunswickers want to help us deal with our energy challenges. That is an important lesson, and it is why I am committed to working with the people of the New Brunswick as we work to move our province forward generally and on the energy issue."
MEDIA CONTACT: Communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144.