Sue's Blog

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quebec controls our power - Emera shareholders rejoice?

In 2011 I wrote a piece on the proposed Emera deal. The big talking point for politicians was to avoid big bad Quebec and Hydro-Quebec.

At the time I asked what protections were in place to keep Emera out of the hands of Hydro-Quebec.

Please read the earlier post HERE

The Government of  Nova Scotia may have some protections against the takeover of Nova Scotia Power (wholly owned subsidiary of Emera) however the parts of Emera important to our province have no such protection.

What has changed since 2011? Hydro-Quebec has. They have announced a new direction.

The Crown Company will back off new large scale hydro while optimizing current assets and completing those started (Romaine 3 and 4), concentrate on energy efficiency, transportation electrification, environmentally sustainable management practices and ...

Putting aside for a moment the exceptional organization, human resources, performance, and tight governmental directions for the corporation - HQ continues to plan 15-20 years out with measurable targets and results.

The ... above represents the real problem for Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the promise to double the profits and size of HQ from $13.5 billion to $27 billion.

They have formed a special new group within the company to focus on mergers and acquisitions.

Specifically their sights are set on assets in Europe, the US and the Maritimes.

Imagine if they follow through - Emera shareholders may be in for a bonanza and HQ will have us going out and in both on the Island and Labrador. Even the line that crosses at Soldiers pond may be partly owned by HQ. Imagine that!

So all the people who pushed Emera and Muskrat down our throats may be in for a big payday - if they are shareholders of Emera. In my opinion the problem with cutting a deal with HQ on the Lower Churchill was never really about avoiding Quebec it was about making sure the partner was a venue that was available for share acquisition. No direct money for the elite if Hydro-Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro cut a deal.

HQ CEO - Éric Martel says, “The idea is to increase the benefit for Quebec, to enrich Hydro-Québec and Quebec at the same time, without having to increase rates too much. So this will help us meet our engagement of maintaining rate increase to the cost of inflation, or less”.

Imagine if our leaders did the same.

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