Andrew Younger

Energy Minister Andrew Younger says he's not ready to approve the latest Maritime Link agreement as is. (CBC)

Andrew Younger, Nova Scotia's new Energy Minister, says he's not ready to approve the latest Maritime Link agreement as is.

The subsea cable is expected to cost $1.5 billion and the regulator has asked the power companies, Nalcor Energy of Newfoundland and Labrador and Emera of Nova Scotia, to guarantee enough electricity to prove it is the least expensive option.

Emera said the Energy Access Agreement signed with Nalcor guarantees enough market priced power to offset high-priced power from Muskrat Falls.

The consumer advocate had told the Utilty and Review board on Monday the province intends to support the latest application on the Maritime Link, provided the board adds a handful of conditions to the agreement.

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The 180-kilometre cable could see as much as 40 per cent of the electricity from the 824-megawatt project in Newfoundland and Labrador moved to Cape Breton. (CBC)

"I think we can and should make further improvements to protect ratepayers," Younger said in a statement.

"Evidence has been presented that pricing in the energy market could actually go down, providing a better price for ratepayers as a result of this agreement. But we believe that is only the case if certain conditions, and commitments made by Emera, are in fact enforced by the board."

Consumer advocate John Merrick and the lawyer for Michelin Tire and Oxford Frozen Foods said consumers will wind up paying more for the Maritime Link because the latest agreement has reduced the volume of market priced energy and does not define the circumstances that would cancel delivery of surplus energy from Labrador.

Closing arguments before the Utility and Review Board on the commercial agreement for Maritime Link project will continue Monday. ​