NDP raises concerns about power reliability and planning for prolonged outages

Today in the House of Assembly, the NDP Caucus raised concerns about adequate power reliability and proper contracts to ensure the availability of backup power in the event of a failure of the Labrador-Island transmission link. NDP Natural Resources Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says last week we learned that there is no agreement with Emera to supply the 300 megawatts required to supply the Avalon Peninsula at peak winter demand.

“The Minster is quoted as saying there is an agreement with Emera for 100 mw – if they can spare it,” said Michael.

“I ask the Minister, why doesn’t Nalcor have a proper written contractual arrangement with Emera for the supply of adequate backup power in the event of a prolonged outage of Muskrat Falls power?”

“Even if Nalcor were to access this adequate supply, does Hydro have the capacity to transmit Nova Scotia power to the Avalon Peninsula?” Michael asked.

Michael says a failure of the Labrador-Island transmission Link in the Long Range Mountains span could take weeks to repair. Nalcor has said in that event “load shedding” – better known as rolling blackouts – would be required.

“These blackouts would be devastating for the people and the economy of the Avalon peninsula,” said Michael. “I ask the Premier, what plans has he in place to address this possible crisis?”

Michael notes that the Consumer Advocate has said unreliable Nova Scotia power in an emergency will likely mean building new gas turbines at Holyrood – to the tune of perhaps $500 million plus fuel. The Advocate noted this flies in the face of the original reason for building Muskrat Falls: to replace Holyrood.

“I ask the Minister of Natural Resources, has she plans to buy these gas turbines and install them at Holyrood? If not, why not?” Michael questioned.

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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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