Press Release – GNWT to Cover NTPC Costs

YELLOWKNIFE (September 26, 2014) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) demonstrated its commitment to addressing the high cost of living in the NWT when Premier Bob McLeod and Finance Minister and Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) J. Michael Miltenberger announced today that the GNWT will cover the $20 million in additional costs NTPC faces as a result of extreme low water conditions on the Snare hydro system this summer. The Premier and the Minister also announced that the GNWT will hold a second energy charrette in Yellowknife from November 3-4, 2014.

“Our government is committed to making the Northwest Territories an attractive place to live, work and do business, and addressing the high cost of living is a priority,” said Premier McLeod. “Energy is a huge part of that cost and we have taken this extraordinary step because our government wants to be part of the solution, not add to the problem. This decision will spare residents all across the NWT from having to cover the cost of low water on the Snare system themselves and will give us an opportunity to identify both immediate and long-term solutions for bringing down energy costs.”

“We operate in remote and challenging conditions and that means the cost to provide power throughout the territory is high,” said Minister Miltenberger. “It limits our opportunities to grow a strong, diversified economy and drives up living costs for residents. We need to find more affordable alternatives for generating power closer to communities so we can make some headway in bringing those costs down and support our economic strategy. The second energy charrette will be an opportunity for energy stakeholders and experts to get together and identify some practical actions that government can take immediately, as well as long-term actions that will allow us to hold the line on energy costs into the future.”

NTPC will incur an additional $20 million in costs from using diesel to supplement electricity generation because of extremely low water in the Snare hydro system. To recover these costs, the corporation applied to the Public Utilities Board for a rate rider that would have seen all NWT electricity users paying an additional 3.69 cents/kWh on their power bills. With today’s announcement, the GNWT has eliminated the need for the rate rider and ensured this additional cost will not be passed on to NWT residents.

“While this decision will shield NWT residents from this one potential cost increase, it is clear that the GNWT must find alternatives to the expensive energy sources we currently depend on,” said Premier McLeod. “The first energy charrette was successful in bringing together a broad cross-section of stakeholders and experts to help define a long-term energy vision for the NWT. We want to use the same approach to take a focused look at actions that will help us bring down energy costs in communities immediately as well as longer-term actions government should be pursuing to keep energy costs low.”

The first energy charrette was held in November 2012 and brought together over 120 participants from Aboriginal and community governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and the GNWT in a collaborative process to outline how to meet the territory’s future energy needs. Input from the charrette and public consultations informed the development of the NWT Energy Action Plan, released in December 2013.

Media inquiries:

Brenda Norris
Media Liaison
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: 867-669-2302
Email: brenda_norris@gov.nt.ca

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Hi, I am Angela Fiebelkorn, President of the Fort Simpson Chamber. You can contact us at fscofc@gmail(dot)com or call 867-695-6538.