Muskrat Falls Project Could Mean Annual Cost Increase of $179 Million for Business

CFIB Asks for PUB Oversight on Muskrat Falls Project

St. John’s, July 12, 2017 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today released a report on the cost of electricity related to the completion of the Muskrat Falls project. Projections on electricity rates released last month could mean an additional $179 million a year annually for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Newfoundland and Labrador. This would have a huge effect on their operations and highlights the need to mitigate against forecasted rate increases that are more than double the current rates.                                                        

“While there has been no shortage of public attention given to the Muskrat Falls project, often lost in the discussion is the effect projected rate increases will have on SMEs,” said Vaughn Hammond, Director of provincial affairs for Newfoundland and Labrador. “The government has stated it intends to mitigate against these rate increases, which will clearly be needed to avoid harm to the provincial economy.” 

Unfortunately, the Muskrat Falls project is exempt from oversight by the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB). While there are a number of initiatives in place to provide oversight (e.g. a government oversight committee), public calls for an audit of Nalcor and an inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project persist. The PUB is the best way to ensure true transparency and accountability over the Muskrat Falls project, as it has the power to audit public utilities in the province and can compel evidence at a hearing or an inquiry it undertakes. 

“The PUB is an independent, apolitical forum where Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as a public, can have their say on electricity rates in the province,” explained Hammond. “It is time for the government to allow the PUB to meet its mandate and provide the necessary oversight for the Muskrat Falls project.” 

A copy of the report is available here

For further information, contact Vaughn Hammond at 709-753-7745 or vaughn.hammond@cfib.ca. 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

 

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