Muskrat Falls price rise “unsettling,” a blow to consumers, says Murphy

NDP St. John's East MHA George Murphy

NDP MHA George Murphy (St. John’s East) says the news from Nalcor today on cost overruns on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is very unsettling. He is particularly concerned about a projected 25 per cent increase in electricity rates.

“This government refused to increase minimum wage rates to keep up with the cost of living,” Murphy said. “I don’t know how the Tories expect people to pay the bills on a minimum wage salary as it is – how can our lowest-paid workers keep up with this sort of increase? And what will government do for seniors living on fixed incomes? “A 25 per cent increase in power rates is disastrous for low-income earners.”

Murphy says he has seen no sign that government has a plan to help the people who will suffer because of the increasingly expensive Muskrat Falls project.

“The amount the people of this province will have to pay to build Muskrat Falls has increased 40 per cent – a full $2 billion – since this project was first announced, and $800 million in the year and a half since it was sanctioned – and there is no steel up yet,” said Murphy. “No building, no transmission towers, no power lines, and 10 per cent of the contracts have yet to be awarded. I find that very disconcerting.”

Government continues to insist Muskrat Falls is still the least cost option to provide power to the province, but Murphy has his doubts. “There is one body that could properly determine that, and that would be the Public Utility Board,” he said. The PUB declined to rule on the project last year, claiming Nalcor had failed to give them the information they needed to make a determination.

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