P.E.I. in talks to buy electricity from Quebec

Teresa Wright
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Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard waves to supporters during his victory speech, Monday, April 7, 2014 in St-Felicien, Que.

Prince Edward Island has begun preliminary negotiations to purchase electricity from Quebec.

P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz sat down with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard last week to discuss a plan that would see Prince Edward Island purchase upwards of 100 megawatts of energy from Hydro-Québec.

“We’re always looking for ways to lower down our electricity costs but also in terms of providing more green energy for our province,” Ghiz said.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to sit down with Premier Couillard to start some discussions on Prince Edward Island, or Maritime Electric, purchasing some of their hydro-electricity.”

Ghiz acknowledged the talks are preliminary, as P.E.I. is still under a power purchase agreement with New Brunswick as part of the five-year, $60-million P.E.I. Energy Accord.

That agreement does not expire until 2016.

But as the province continues to try to negotiate funding for a third underwater power cable to the mainland, some preliminary negotiations are already underway to ensure P.E.I. can secure the most affordable electricity rates possible.

Ghiz added that P.E.I. was able to secure a better deal with New Brunswick under the Energy Accord because it was also in discussions with Quebec at that time.

“This is just opening the door as we move forward to look for the best possible price and also the greenest power moving forward,” Ghiz said.

He added that no matter what happens with these negotiations, P.E.I. would be purchasing some power from New Brunswick since P.E.I. has a five-per cent stake in the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

A 100-megawatt power purchase agreement with P.E.I. would be a small contract for Hydro-Québec, which produces in excess of 40,000 megawatts of energy.

Nonetheless, Ghiz said Couillard was receptive to his pitch, in part because of the good relationship he was able to foster with the new federalist premier during the Council of the Federation meetings in Charlottetown this summer.

During the close of those meetings, Ghiz in fact referenced the strong consensus around the premiers’ table as a means to open the door to more electricity options for P.E.I.

As he enters his final days as premier of P.E.I., Ghiz says he hopes to do what he can to build on that work and try to get negotiate good energy rates for Islanders into the future.

“Our peak demand is rising and we do need to buy excess energy, and I’d rather buy it at the best possible price and at the greenest level possible,” Ghiz said.

He says he will continue his discussions with Couillard at the upcoming mid-year Council of the Federation meetings in Ontario in January.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Hydro-Québec, Maritime Electric, Islanders

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Quebec, New Brunswick Charlottetown Ontario

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Recent comments

  • get government out of electricity
    December 27, 2014 - 23:17

    This government needs to step back from meddling in energy policy. MECL is a private company. Yes it is a monopoly but so what? They own the power lines, they buy the generated electricity and sell it to their customers. End. Of. Story. The Government of PEI has no place being involved in the purchase of electricity, let alone the regulation of it. It just doesn't have the social license to do so. What's next? You're going to be negotiating with the Saud Family in Saudi Arabia to buy oil as the intermediary for the Irvings?

  • SlyFox
    December 27, 2014 - 10:33

    This means nothing without the third cable.The two now are past there expiry date and working on luck as of now.Also when NFLD gets UpperChurchill Falls producing ,power rates in the Maritimes should drop because of the new energy created by NFLD.So Quebec should be looking to deal with anyone who wants to buy.

  • ben barr
    December 27, 2014 - 08:17

    most important if mamufacturing is to come to the island in any time soon

  • George
    December 26, 2014 - 22:00

    Oh no not again, heard that promise before last election. Trying this again.

  • Dm
    December 26, 2014 - 19:41

    We pay more for power then any other Provence by far ghiz knew that before he came into government and has and will do absolutely nothing about it, all his government did was go into debt And make part binns government look like they knew what they were Doing... Sad islanders would vote a dog in if they thought they herd his name before.

  • so sad
    December 26, 2014 - 19:20

    It would be nice it the guardian would find out how much of our wind energy is sold off island and at what price.

  • enough already
    December 26, 2014 - 11:14

    Why are we not using power generated by the wind?

  • Garth Staples
    December 26, 2014 - 11:01

    When it comes to electricity rates this government is 0 for 0. All "preliminary" talk.

    • Scott
      December 26, 2014 - 13:01

      Garth, how quickly you forget... your Tories track record was no better, or worse. Forget the partisan card, and for once try seeing the world through clear lenses instead of blue tinted. Your partisanship grows tiring.

  • don
    December 26, 2014 - 10:49

    WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO BUY THE POWER IS THAT NOT THE JOB OF MARITIME ELECTRIC? OR DO WE BUY THE POWER PLUS PAY MARITIME ELECTRIC ALSO? SOUNDS LIKE WE ARE BEING SCREWED AGAIN BY GHIZ AND THE MARITIME ELECTRIC.

    • @ Don
      December 26, 2014 - 13:09

      Hey Don , are you just learning that ???????? Maritime Electric shares are like GOLD , but hey , isn't it the correct thing that we make the people in other provinces rich , the Island way . Just love it .