The Newfoundland government should not proceed with the Muskrat Falls project.
Now that we have been fully briefed by Nalcor officials at the last Annual General Meeting re: proposed Muskrat Falls development and after listening to Dunderdale and her ministers, we are firmly convinced that government should not proceed further in this $6 billion, 824MW project.
1 - By going it alone on this project we, the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador, will have to borrow the money required -- $5-6 billion. The interest on the loan will be seven per cent to 7.5 per cent with or without a federal loan guarantee.
With a 50 year term to repay this huge loan we, the taxpayers, will have to pay each year $295 million towards paying off that huge loan.
2 - The fact is that this project, even if completed, will not provide any revenues other than what our own ratepayers will be paying on their monthly light bills.
Nalcor and the government claim, based on their own assumptions, that our light and power bills will increase by approximately 40 per cent. Their projections are that power from Muskrat Falls will coast .33 cents KWH (blended to 14.5 cents) on the island portion of the province. This cost is not taking into consideration any cost over runs in the construction of a power plant and transmission lines.
Our light bills will increase substantially, no doubt about it, but by how much indeed is the real question. 40, 80, 100 per cent?
3 - The financial situation of this province must be taken into consideration. We presently have a provincial debt of $8.5 billion. One of this highest per capita in all of Canada. Our deficit projected for the next year -- in the last Dunderdale administration -- will be $495 million. To add anther $6 billion to our provincial debt at this time would be irresponsible in our opinion.
4 - It is disturbing for us to learn that recently, the Newfoundland government has injected $748 million into Nalcor towards the Muskrat Falls project and has approved the awarding of a contract to S&C Lavelin, a Quebec-based company, for $50 million re: the Muskrat Falls project.
We say disturbing because it is spending taxpayer funds prior to any independent audit re: the economic viability of the proposed project.
We are also convinced that a strictly independent audit will show that the project should not proceed at this time.
5 - If there is a need for additional power in the next five to 10 years, then Nalcor should be given the approval to upgrade the Holyrood plant and develop small plants (ie: Island Pond, River Pond and Portland Creek). Also, Nalcor should place more emphasis on the development of wind power and solar power.
The provincial government of the day should not burden taxpayers of our province with a debt load that we may find difficult to service, especially after our oil revenues are gone.
Jim Morgan & Rick Bouzen
Concerned tax payers from St. John's