Nfld. & Labrador

Contractor sues Nalcor Energy for $90M for unpaid work, delay costs

Pomerleau Inc. is claiming millions in damages from Nalcor, alleging the Crown corporation has not paid what was promised under a number of contracts and agreements.

Quebec-based Pomerleau Inc. launching multimillion-dollar suit against Nalcor

Construction crews at an electrical substation near Churchill Falls in Labrador are seen in a Pomerleau YouTube video. (Courtesy Commun Pomerleau)

A contractor on the Muskrat Falls megaproject has launched a pair of multimillion-dollar lawsuits against Nalcor Energy, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation. 

Quebec-based Pomerleau Inc. is claiming millions in damages on grounds that Nalcor has not paid what was promised under a number of contracts and agreements.

The lawsuits were filed at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Dec. 22. 

Nalcor Energy will take the necessary legal steps- Spokeswoman Karen O'Neil

The lawsuits allege Nalcor routinely asked Pomerleau to perform extra work, as well as claiming further costs associated with project delays.

Combined, the two lawsuits seek damages of just under $90 million. The claims relate to two substations that Pomerleau was contracted to build at Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls.

Delays and charges

Pomerleau claims the start of work on the two substations was delayed in 2015, "at no fault of Pomerleau."

The claim says Nalcor agreed to pay for the costs associated with the delay — like required night shifts to finish work quickly — but Pomerleau has not been paid in full.

It also claims Nalcor Energy has not paid out the full amount of the company's original contract, "nor has Pomerleau received payment for the extras to the contract."

Pomerleau is also claiming damages for more delays after work on the two substations began.

The company claims the delays came in part because Nalcor did not provide a complete design, failed to "properly administer the contract," and would not communicate in a timely manner.

It claimed specifically that the Churchill Falls substation was delayed because of the discovery of rock and organic material at the site.

"These additional delays caused Pomerleau to incur significant extra costs," lawyers for the company wrote.

The contractor claimed in both lawsuits that the company "performed its work on the project pursuant to the contract."

The Nalcor Energy headquarters in St. John's. (CBC)

Representatives from Nalcor Energy would not do an interview or provide much information on the lawsuits.

Spokesperson Karen O'Neill said only, "Nalcor Energy will take the necessary legal steps that are in the best interest of the Muskrat Falls project."


Garrett Barry


Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter, working primarily with The St. John's Morning Show.