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Should NB Power Answer for Cost Overruns?

Posted on January 14, 2013

NB Power says the Energy and Utilities Board does not have the authority to question the “reasonableness” of bills it ran up during the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station’s refurbishment because legislation passed by the former Liberal government shields those expenses from scrutiny (as the CBC reports it).

This project ranked number 18 on our 2010 Top 100 list, with a cost of $1.4 billion. But $1 billion worth of cost overruns bumped it up several spots to number 13 on the 2012 list.

Darren Murphy, a vice-president at NB Power, told a CBC reporter that the Electricity Act deems the costs of the nuclear refurbishment to be prudent and that the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) is not required to review the costs.

According to the CBC, EUB hearings are being held in Saint John to determine how NB Power will back the money in the $1-billion deferral account, which was accumulated while the nuclear reactor was being refurbished. The public intervener has questioned NB Power’s estimates for the refurbished reactor’s lifespan and the amount of money that is in the deferral account.

What do you think? Should NB Power have to account for $1-billion in cost overruns?

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