Problems plague N.B. power on anniversary of Quebec deal

(Oct. 29, 2010) One year on from New Brunswick’s power deal with Quebec, the problems remain, reports the Canadian Press.

FREDERICTON – It has been a year since New Brunswick announced a deal to sell N.B. Power to Quebec and while the deal and the former Liberal government are both gone, New Brunswick’s power woes remain.

N.B. Power has a nearly $4.8-billion dollar debt, aging power plants and a nuclear reactor refurbishment that’s running three years behind schedule and more than a billion dollars over budget.

The new Conservative government has promised to freeze power rates for three years, but so far has yet to explain how that can be done without burying the utility deeper in debt.

Energy Minister Craig Leonard says the answers will come from a newly appointed energy commission that is to produce an energy policy for the next decade.

Norm Rubin of Toronto-based Energy Probe says the rate freeze is foolhardy and government must start selling power at its true cost.

The Opposition Liberals say Premier David Alward needs to get tough with the prime minister to force Ottawa to pay for the cost overruns at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Alward says he believes more can be accomplished through discussion.

Canadian Press, October 29, 2010

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