Nfld. & Labrador

'It will not bankrupt this province': Dwight Ball on Muskrat Falls update

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady spoke about today's update on Muskrat Falls.
Premier Dwight Ball says his government will work to keep consumer power rates as low as possible as the cost of developing Muskrat Falls balloons. 2:22

Premier Dwight Ball says his government will work to keep consumer power rates as low as possible as the cost of developing Muskrat Falls balloons.

"It will not bankrupt this province," Ball said of Muskrat Falls Friday afternoon, after Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall announced the project's cost is up again and that it is further behind schedule.

Ball, with Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady, said government has asked Marshall to find ways to reduce rates.

"Today's numbers would mean extra costs for electricity users, however, to ensure rates remain competitive, our government has made the commitment to offset the electricity rate increases resulting from the Muskrat Falls project," Coady said.

Premier Dwight Ball says he wants the legacy of Muskrat Falls to be one of reliable power and affordable rates, and will work to make sure the project gets back on track. (CBC)

"We must ensure reliability of power, which will be done through Muskrat Falls, and we must keep rates as low as possible."

Ball, Coady and Marshall have all said stopping the project would cost more than finishing it, and is therefore not an option.

Marshall's newest projection is the most "comprehensive and transparent review of the project to date," according to Ball, who said Muskrat Falls was sold to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as a "best case scenario."

"I've always been very vocal about my concerns around these very issues," Ball said. 

"We promised the people of the province that we would open the books on Muskrat Falls and that is exactly what we have done." 

Ball said his government inherited this project and its accompanying challenges, but said they're going to do their best to make sure the impact on ratepayers is minimized where possible.

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady spoke with reporters in St. John's on Friday, following an update from Nalcor on the Muskrat Falls project. (CBC)

"I'm going to continue to explore whatever options we have available to us," he said.

Marshall announced Friday morning the overall project costs have grown to $11.4 billion, including interest.

Marshall said Muskrat Falls "was not the right choice for the power needs of this province."

Ball said he wants the legacy of Muskrat Falls to be one of reliable power and affordable rates.