Nfld. & Labrador

Premier says rate mitigation update coming next week

Premier Dwight Ball was pushing to have a deal with Ottawa by the end of the month to keep power rates from skyrocketing.

Premier Dwight Ball has been pushing for a deal by the end of January

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, left, meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Among other things, the two politicians discussed rate mitigation. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Premier Dwight Ball says there will be an update on a rate mitigation deal with Ottawa coming next week, as the province continues to look for help dealing with the financial burden of Muskrat Falls.

During a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland two weeks ago, Ball said they were pushing to have an agreement in place with Ottawa by the end of January.

Ball first set that date in a November meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, when Ball first said he expected a federal Muskrat Falls solution as the month came to a close.

But in a statement emailed Thursday, Ball said the province has a team in Ottawa now still talking with the federal government. 

The province is looking for federal money to keep electricity costs from skyrocketing once Muskrat Falls comes online — about $200 million a year to hold rates to 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised rate mitigation for the project — which is billions over budget, and will soon result in an annual bill of $725 million — saying his government "will continue to be there" for ratepayers. 

But during a September campaign stop in St. John's, Trudeau stopped short of committing to the $200 million per year the province wants from Ottawa. 

Ball's Thursday statement said "talks are continuing with the federal government to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people of our province when it comes to sustainable electricity rates."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador