Order new power cable by this fall, says Maritime Electric president

Ryan Ross
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Maritime Electric

Order for a new power cable from P.E.I. to the mainland needs to be done soon, but who will pay

The order for a new power cable to the mainland needs to be done by the fall, says a Maritime Electric spokesman, but who will pay for it is still up in the air.

Fred O’Brien, Maritime Electric’s president, said the company supports the province’s efforts to get federal money for the cable, but leaves any decisions about other funding measures to the P.E.I. government.

“We’re supporting them in any way we can,” he said.

O’Brien was at a Fortis shareholders meeting in Charlottetown Thursday where he provided updates on the company, along with an overview of what happened with Maritime Electric over the last year and challenges faced due to increased power consumption.

Fortis owns Maritime Electric.

In May, Maritime Electric started preliminary work on a new cable to the mainland as it moves to meet growing demand for electricity in P.E.I.

There are two cables running between P.E.I. and New Brunswick and the utility expects to need a third by 2016.

Talks are underway between the province and the federal government about funding for the cable, which has seen its price tag increase over the years.

O’Brien said the cable’s final cost has yet to be determined, but a range of $100 million to $150 million has been estimated.

“That’s fair at this point,” he said.

A new cable is needed thanks to the increased power use, in large part because of more customers using heat pumps in their homes.

O’Brien said the provincial government will deal with financing the cable for any amount that doesn’t come from the federal government.

How much any financing will impact electricity rates for Islanders won’t be known until Maritime Electric knows how the cable will be paid for, O’Brien said.

“There will be some impact on rates once it’s in place.”

O’Brien said the company would like to place a cable order by the fall because getting it is the part of the project that will take the most time.

“Right now our focus remains on trying to secure support from infrastructure funding so we haven’t pursued any alternatives at this point as to what would happen.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Maritime Electric

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown, New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Etta
    June 13, 2014 - 12:21

    So glad that all the windmills that have spoiled our countyside have helped reduced our electricity bills... oh wait... does anyone know who is benefiting from all the wind power generated? With all our forward thinking politicians why not site some more windmills AND buy another cable to the mainland-- put 150 million on top of the debt we have now and we'll all have to move off island for work. Sigh!

  • Observer from the East
    June 13, 2014 - 11:14

    If we ever got a chance to join up with Hyrdo-Quebec and toss out these rip-off artists at Maritime Electric, I'd do it in a second

  • Everett
    June 13, 2014 - 10:17

    So what I make of this story is if I need a new table saw the tax payers should buy it for me. lol Did they pay back the 200 million they got from us last time. I do know they lowered our electric bill one month by 15 dollars but it also they raised it 45 the next month. Would be interesting to see who has shares in them!

  • James
    June 13, 2014 - 08:04

    Here's an idea, why doesn't Maritime Electric pay for it? That would make too much sense!

  • mike
    June 13, 2014 - 07:16

    Not sure why ME is not paying for it themselves. How come so many businesses want the government and tax payers to pay for everything. If the government is paying for the cable should they now own ME. Why do we even need a new cable. We have the option to generate power on PEI with solar, tidal and wind power. Put the 100-150 mil to renewable energy generated on PEI.

  • don
    June 13, 2014 - 07:04

    well the answer is simple. the tax payers will pay for it. no mater what maritime electric says we end up paying.