North

Low water levels could mean higher power costs in N.W.T.

Low water levels in the Northwest Territories again this year may mean higher costs, either for taxpayers or on power bills. 'The water levels are, if not at historic lows, very, very low,' says Michael Miltenberger.

'We've put in $20 million last year to tide us over until June and there hasn't been any rain'

Water levels on Great Slave Lake are about 10 centimetres below last year. Low water levels across the territory have people concerned about electricity generated from hydro power. (Richard Gleeson/CBC)

Low water levels in the Northwest Territories again this year may mean higher costs, either  for taxpayers or on power bills.

Last year, that led to the power corporation requesting a rate increase. After a public outcry about the proposal, the territorial government decided to cover the shortfall

"We've put in $20 million last year to tide us over until June and there hasn't been any rain," says Michael Miltenberger, the minister responsible for the Power Corporation.

The water level in Great Slave Lake is about 10 centimetres below what it was last year this time, and last year it was already 10 centimetres below average.

"The water levels are, if not at historic lows, very, very low, not only here but nearly everywhere," Miltenberger says. "We've got to track that impact on potential costs to rates."

Low water reduces the amount of hydro electricity that can be generated, and increases the amount of diesel that must be burned to meet the demand for electricity.

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