11/28/2013 08:20 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 05:59 EST

Energy regulator to table key decision on Maritime Link project

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's energy regulator is expected to release a key decision Friday on the $1.5-billion Maritime Link project.

The Utility and Review Board tentatively endorsed the project earlier this year, but it attached a list of conditions to ensure the project doesn't impose a heavy burden on Nova Scotia ratepayers.

The board's decision will reveal whether those conditions have been met by Nova Scotia energy company Emera Inc.

However, Nova Scotia Energy Minister Andrew Younger has come up with his own list of eight conditions, saying earlier this month the government is opposed to a revised agreement to proceed with the Maritime Link project because it puts province's ratepayers at risk of having to pay for cost overruns.

As well, the government has said Emera has failed to meet the board's condition that it gain access to market-priced energy at no additional cost to ratepayers under a commercial agreement signed with Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy company.

Younger has said the province will accept a board decision that includes the province's conditions, but he wouldn't say what would happen if the conditions were left out.

Both the province's consumer and small business advocates say they believe the province's conditions improve the deal, but they still can't support it because it doesn't provide value for ratepayers.

Nova Scotia energy company Emera Inc. wants to build a subsea cable to Newfoundland, which would allow Nova Scotia's electric utility to buy energy from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric plant in Labrador when it is completed in 2017.

(The Canadian Press)



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