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NB Power and Ontario Power Generation talk Point Lepreau partnership


NB Power is pitching a new partnership with an Ontario electrical utility, which could include management or ownership of Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear generating plant.

The Maritime utility is confirming discussions with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) about the possibility of sharing duties at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, 35 minutes west of Saint John.

“All possible options are being considered as we lay out a path for a very different future that will ensure we have affordable, safe and reliable electricity for our customers and improved financial health,” said NB Power spokesperson Dominique Couture in a written statement.

“While this partnership is still at the exploration stage, we have a long-standing relationship with OPG, and we know them to be good partners, allies and colleagues. Any partnership would be a win-win relationship, established in the best interests of both Ontario and New Brunswick.”

NB Power and Ontario Power Generation are both provincial crown corporations. OPG operates two of Ontario’s three nuclear generating plants.

Premier Blaine Higgs said discussions between NB Power and OPG could include a management or ownership agreement at Point Lepreau.

NB Power and Higgs’ acknowledgement of discussions between the provinces came after Liberal energy critic Keith Chiasson brought it up during question period on Wednesday morning.

Chiasson referenced a company e-mail from Ontario Power Generation CEO Ken Hartwick, announcing the negotiations to OPG staff.

“The reason I brought it up in the house today was just about transparency,” said Chiasson. “If there are negotiations going on with OPG, I think we should know as stakeholders of NB Power.”

The Point Lepreau CANDU nuclear reactor began producing electricity in 1983. Last summer, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission extended the plant’s operating licence until 2033.

Several breakdowns and cost overruns at Point Lepreau have added to NB Power’s $5 billion debt. NB Power is proposing a rate increase for customers amounting to 4.8 per cent beginning next month, pending approval from the province’s Energy and Utilities Board.

The EUB rejected NB Power’s initial rate increase request of 8.9 per cent. Top Stories

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