Maritime Link opponents ready to wrangle at hearing2/13/2013
Twenty-three groups and individuals will take part in the public hearing about the subsea cable system designed to bring 500 megawatts of hydroelectricity into Nova Scotia, including some dissenting voices.
Those on the list will have standing as regulators to examine the cost of building the Maritime Link to connect to the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
"We're just the voice of the citizen," said Todd McDonald, one of five people who started the Lower Power Rates Alliance.
McDonald, an energy consultant for eight years, said he doesn't buy Emera's argument that the Maritime Link can be built without ratepayers paying more than $1.50 a month extra on their power bills from 2018 to 2023.
He said that only equals out to $9 million per year. The project will cost $1.5 billion.
"It doesn't add up and when we get into the thousands of pages of documents there are just very different facts on what is being filed versus what is being said in public," McDonald said.
An environmental group and an Inuit group from Labrador will take also part in the hearing, along with Nova Scotia's three political parties and consumer and small business advocates.
Al Dominie said he will attend on behalf of a handful of municipal electric utilities around the province.
"We have an open mind, our position will become clearer as the evidence comes forward," he said.
Hydro-Quebec said it does not plan to attend.
Over the next few months Emera will be asked to respond in writing to hundreds of questions aimed at finding out if Muskrat Falls offers the cheapest green power for the next 35 years.
The 180-kilometre cable could see as much as 40 per cent of the electricity from the 824-megawatt project in Newfoundland and Labrador moved to Cape Breton. It's the largest investment Emera Inc. has ever made.
Muskrat Falls is expected to produce power by late 2017.