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NB Power sale in doubt, new deal expected next week

The Globe and Mail reports that, “The New Brunswick government is in negotiations with Quebec to revise a controversial deal to sell its power utility to Hydro-Quebec in order to retain an ownership stake for New Brunswickers, sources say.”

“Premier Shawn Graham has faced an outpouring of public and political outrage over a tentative deal signed last October, in which the giant Quebec power company would take over New Brunswick Power in exchange for taking on its debt and cutting or freezing power rates for customers in the Atlantic province.”

“Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward said he believes Mr. Graham’s government is ready to walk away from the troublesome memorandum of understanding, but sources say the province is trying to renegotiate some of the most controversial aspects of it, including the total transfer of ownership.”

“Mr. Alward said Mr. Graham is now seriously backpedalling on the agreement and is expected to table a new and dramatically different deal as early as next week.”

Campaign highlights of our work on this issue include:

October 24, 2009
NEWS: Council of Canadians says NB Power should remain public: The Daily Gleaner reports that, “The Council of Canadians says New Brunswickers should object to any effort to privatize their utility and sell it off, in whole or in part.”

November 3, 2009
NEWS: Council of Canadians raises concerns about the export focus of NB Power sale:
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald article notes, “Andrea Harden Donahue, Council of Canadians energy campaigner in Ottawa, said the deal between NB Power and Hydro-Quebec is based on a business model to sell exports into the northeastern U.S., which is demanding more supplies of renewable energy.”

November 8, 2009
ACTION ALERT: Raise questions about the sale of NB Power:
The approach by the provincial government thus far for public engagement on such a monumental decision has been lacking. There remain a number of unanswered questions about the sale and insufficient plans for consulting with residents of New Brunswick. In particular, the Council of Canadians is concerned about the sale’s impact on the capacity to expand in-province local renewable energy sources, as well as the lack of clarity for a fair worker transition plan and the rights of future workers, and the precedent being set in affirming an export-oriented energy vision. http://canadians.org/action/2009/08-Dec-09.html

December 8, 2009
The Council of Canadians sends an open letter to the premier and party leaders “to express serious concerns with the plan to sell the assets of NB Power and certain subsidiaries of NB Power.”

We’ll keep you posted as this develops.