Canadian Consulting Engineer

Power industry competition heats up in eastern Canada

Hydro-Quebec, Canada's largest utility, has announced it will buy the majority of New Brunswick Power's assets...

November 9, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Hydro-Quebec, Canada’s largest utility, has announced it will buy the majority of New Brunswick Power’s assets. A memorandum of understanding was announced by the premiers of Quebec and New Brunswick in late October. The $4.8 billion tentative deal would wipe out NB Hydro’s debt and would see Hydro-Quebec take over the majority of New Brunswick’s generating stations as well as transmission lines. Several consulting engineering companies in New Brunswick work in the power sector and their business could be affected.

In a CBC report, Quebec premier Jean Charest suggested the move would help Canada to export power to the United States: “that is where things are going to happen. The Americans need clean, renewable energy and they need a lot of it. And guess what? We in Canada are the ones that can supply it.”

Under the agreement, Hydro-Quebec will not take over New Brunswick’s three thermal generating stations, Coleson Cove, Dalhousie and Belledune. The province’s single nuclear reactor, at Point Lepreau, won’t change hands until its refurbishment is complete in 2011.

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, expressed concerns that Hydro-Quebec is establishing a monopoly over power supplies in Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland Hydro has plans for its own massive hydroelectric project on the Lower Churchill River and has been in discussions with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick over possible partnerships with them to export the power.


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