Nfld. & Labrador

Nalcor morale low, says CEO Stan Marshall

Morale at Nalcor Energy is low because of criticism of the Muskrat Falls project, says the utility's CEO.

'The only thing we can hope to achieve is to finish this project properly.'

Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall speaks to the media earlier this year. Marshall told CBC this week that morale at the energy utility is low. (CBC)

Morale at Nalcor Energy is low because of criticism of the Muskrat Falls project, says the utility's CEO.

Stan Marshall told the St. John's Morning Show that one of his challenges is to address low morale among Nalcor employees because of criticism of the hydroelectric project's spiralling cost and potential environmental effects.

"There are a lot of really good people here," he said in an interview aired Wednesday morning. "They're dedicated, very qualified. Most of them are Newfoundlanders. They're trying to do a good job, and in their own efforts they are doing a good job."

'It should never have been started'

Criticism of the project should not be focused on Nalcor employees, said Marshall, but the project itself.

"It should never have been started," he said. "[But] we're so far along the only option now is to complete, and so I'm trying to encourage them to focus on what it is they are doing, to forget about the criticism for the time being."

We're so far along the only option now is to complete, and so I'm trying to encourage them to … forget about the criticism for the time being.- Stan Marshall

Nalcor won't be judged by the way the project began but by how it finishes, said Marshall.

"So I'm saying to them, 'Let's finish strong,'" he said. "I personally was not in favour of this project; that's fairly well-known. I came here because I felt it was my duty to help and do what we could here, and I'm absolutely convinced that we're on the right track now, and I need these people."

Nalcor doesn't need to be popular to do the project right, said Marshall.

"The only thing we can hope to achieve is to finish this project properly, and that when it's finished, people say 'They did a good job,'" he said. "We need some of this [energy] for ourselves. So if we don't do this, we have to spend others of billions of dollars to meet our own needs."

No magical cutoff for project

Asked if the project's cost could increase to the point he thinks it should be scrapped, Marshall said it won't come close to that.

"If this price doubles again, then sure. I don't want to spend another $10 billion," he said, but he added there's no "magical cutoff" point for the project.

"Within the framework that I see it now, it's quite clear," he said. "Even with the other cost pressures we have, I see no scenario that we reach anywhere close to that point."

With files from the St. John's Morning Show

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