Nova Scotia

N.S. government commissions Muskrat Falls study

Nova Scotia taxpayers are footing the bill for a study that will measure the costs and benefits of joining the Labrador Muskrat Falls hydro project.

Premier Darrell Dexter says it will look at costs and benefits of the project

Darrell Dexter announced the study during his State of the Province address. (CBC)

Nova Scotia taxpayers are footing the bill for a study that will measure the costs and benefits of joining the Labrador Muskrat Falls hydro project.

The opposition leaders have been calling for such a study for months.

Despite two emergency debates on the issue, Premier Darrell Dexter only announced the study Wednesday during his latest State of the Province address to a business crowd.

"Ratepayers in this province rightly want to know what the bottom line for them is," he said. "That is why, right now, the province is completing an independent comparison of the Lower Churchill project with all the other options available."

Details revealed after Premier questioned

Dexter initally refused to share even basic information about the study with reporters. But shortly after his speech, the Premier changed his mind.

Boston-based Power Advisory is doing the review for $85,000. It began working on the study in September.

The Premier's office said the work wasn't publicly tendered.

Dexter told reporters the study will examine alternatives including natural gas.

Dexter said he's confident the study will show that Muskrat Falls, and the costly cable connecting it to the Nova Scotia grid, will provide what he calls the lowest, fairest rates to meet the province's power needs.

The results of the study are expected in the new year.

Tuesday, Nova Scotia Power's parent company, Emera, announced it won't wait for approval from the province's Utility and Review Board before going ahead with the $1.5 billion subsea cable known as the Maritime Link, which is a key part of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric proposal.

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