07/22/2013 05:00 EDT | Updated 09/20/2013 05:12 EDT

N.S. utility board to rule on who pays for Muskrat Falls link

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will release its decision on the Maritime Link proposal in a matter of hours, answering one of the project’s most contentious questions: who’s going to pay to build it?

The board has been asked to decide whether the project is the cheapest option for Nova Scotia over the long-term. Emera Inc. is asking the regulator to approve $1.52 billion in capital spending.

Nova Scotia Power’s parent company is a minority partner in the Muskrat Falls project and is responsible for the Maritime Link, which may see as much as 40 per cent of the electricity from the 824-megawatt project moved to Cape Breton by subsea cables.

The project could see ratepayers footing the bill for the next 35 years. Emera said the project would add $1.50 per month to the average household's power bill over the first five years.

During the spring UARB hearings no one opposed the project outright but the consumer advocate, along with a lawyer representing several big businesses, said the project is simply too risky to be locked into for over three decades.

They said they believe Emera should take the financial hit, not ratepayers.

The UARB is scheduled to make the announcement at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.