The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has given Emera Inc. the green light to recover $1.7 billion from Nova Scotia Power customers for the Maritime Link megaproject.
The “final cost” approval means ratepayers in Nova Scotia will be paying down the $1.7-billion approved cost over 35 years, including a nine per cent rate of return. In 2022, the bill amounts to $169 million.
The Maritime Link is an overland and subsea transmission system built to deliver hydroelectricity from the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador across Newfoundland and under the Cabot Strait into Nova Scotia.
In its decision, the regulatory board said Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link, a subsidiary of Emera, prudently managed the project despite numerous setbacks, including the failures of two major contractors.
“The planning and development of the Maritime Link Project was a significant endeavour. There have been numerous examples across North America of substantial cost overruns and construction delays of energy megaprojects,” the board said.
“The completion of the Maritime Link Project on time and on budget was a commendable achievement attributed to (the company’s) actions throughout all phases of the project.”
While electricity from Muskrat Falls, known as the Nova Scotia block, recently began flowing into the province at contracted levels, there have been lengthy delays in delivery from Newfoundland.
Emera’s partner, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Nalcor Energy, is years behind schedule and billions over budget with the Muskrat Falls project.
To protect Nova Scotia Power customers, starting in April the board ordered Emera to hold back $2 million per month of the amount it collects from ratepayers. If less than 90 per cent of the Nova Scotia Block is delivered, the money will be used to pay for replacement energy.
The regulator also disallowed some costs Emera wanted to charge ratepayers.
It delivered a mixed verdict on the so-called “acceleration agreement” between Emera and Nalcor that triggered the flow of the Nova Scotia Block, allowing Emera to file its “final cost” application for the Maritime Link.