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Hydro Québec deals - Vermont and others

'NB Referata Talk: Hydro Québec deals - Vermont and others'

According to this article, NB Power power purchase costs would be about $500 million per year cheaper if we got the deal Vermont got:

[1] [N.B. Tories say Liberal government didn't get best power deal with Quebec] FREDERICTON — The Opposition Tories in New Brunswick say a new power deal between Vermont and Quebec is proof the New Brunswick government could have negotiated a better deal to buy electricity from Hydro-Quebec.

Energy critic Paul Robichaud said Wednesday a 26-year deal Vermont has signed with Quebec gives the state electricity at a rate of 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour - cheaper than the 7.35 cents per kilowatt hour New Brunswick would get under the proposed NB Power deal.

"I believe it was a very poor negotiation," Robichaud said.

"The province of New Brunswick is not only buying electricity at a higher cost than our neighbours, but we're also giving 95 per cent of our transmission capacity to Quebec for eternity, so I believe this is not a good deal."

Robichaud opposes the proposed sale of 10 power plants to Quebec and says the province should instead simply buy cheaper hydro power from Quebec.

But Liberal Energy Minister Jack Keir argues that the Vermont and New Brunswick deals are very different - and the New Brunswick deal is much better.

"We're getting electricity at a cheaper price than we can generate it for," Keir said. "We're going to continue operating our generating stations, we're going to get $3.2 billion taken off the debt, and industry in the province of New Brunswick is going to have the opportunity to stabilize and grow.

"If we did what Vermont did, we'd have to close down (generating facilities) ... and then we'd have to negotiate just a pure electricity deal with Hydro-Quebec."

Keir said the Vermont deal is for just 250 megawatts of power - roughly half the power that New Brunswick's Mactaquac dam generates - while the New Brunswick deal provides the province with a heritage pool of 14 terawatts of power.

New Brunswick and Quebec originally announced a $4.75-billion proposal last October. But the New Brunswick government faced a public outcry and dissent within the Liberal caucus, forcing it to produce a watered-down deal worth $3.2 billion by taking transmission and distribution off the table.

Both provinces sought to have a contract signed by the end of March, but the New Brunswick government has yet to introduce the required legislation.

They are now aiming to finalize the deal by May 21.

Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved

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"4.5 cents a Kw for Vermont and 7.35 cents for us" (Facebook wall)