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P.E.I. premier asked Trudeau to cover most of Maritime Electric storm costs

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Premier Dennis King requested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cowl the prices incurred by Maritime Electrical following the system-wide energy outages after post-tropical storm Fiona.

Throughout query interval on Nov. 9, King stated he had requested Trudeau for assist in masking the prices of the personal utility within the days that adopted the storm.

King was responding to a query posed by Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly, who had requested whether or not the province would overturn a choice by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee (IRAC) if it authorised proposed electrical energy fee will increase.

“When the prime minister got here and we met on the Charlottetown airport, I requested him if we would come with all the value that Maritime Electrical would take to re-establish energy in Prince Edward Island,” King advised the legislature on Nov. 9.

“The prime minister advised me that was one thing he thought can be truthful and that he would entertain, Mr. Speaker. So, we have been on this, Mr. Speaker, lengthy earlier than (McNeilly) even considered it.”

A Maritime Electric crew works on County Line Road in Emerald on Sept. 30 as part of repair efforts after post-tropical storm Fiona. - Ryan Ross
A Maritime Electrical crew works on County Line Street in Emerald on Sept. 30 as a part of restore efforts after post-tropical storm Fiona. – Ryan Ross

Chatting with reporters after query interval, King stated the request was made as a result of he wished ratepayers to not must pay for Maritime Electrical’s Fiona-related bills.

“We wished to ensure that all the prices that will be incurred to scrub up the bushes and re-establish the ability traces, with as much as 200 and a few crews that have been there, wasn’t one thing that will must be absorbed by a future fee improve with Maritime Electrical,” King stated. “The prime minister was very, very receptive to that.”

Downed bushes wreaked havoc on the province’s energy grid after post-tropical storm Fiona. Nearly all households misplaced energy, and a few confronted a wait of practically three weeks earlier than energy was restored.

King stated the federal-provincial catastrophe monetary help program would permit the federal authorities to cowl as much as 90 per cent of the utility’s value. A proposal, which would come with the utility’s prices incurred because of the storm, has not but been finalized.

Kim Griffin, communications supervisor for Maritime Electrical, advised SaltWire the utility has not but decided the full value of its Fiona-related restoration efforts.

Griffin stated she had been conscious the province had requested federal help for all Fiona-related prices, together with the utility’s.

Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electric, said the utility has yet to determine what the total costs were as a result of post-tropical storm Fiona. - Rafe Wright
Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electrical, stated the utility has but to find out what the full prices have been because of post-tropical storm Fiona. – Rafe Wright

Griffin stated a report shall be filed with IRAC sooner or later detailing the utility’s prices.

“Usually if there is a massive expense incurred or a serious occasion … we might go and we might submit a report back to IRAC. After which, relying on how the prices have been, then would both submit one other utility of easy methods to get well these prices and over what time,” Griffin stated.

The utility’s complete prices after 2019’s post-tropical storm Dorian added as much as about $3.4 million, in line with IRAC filings. The prices from Fiona are more likely to be far larger.

The Pink Cross is administering one portion of the catastrophe monetary help program, which offers protection for property harm not lined by insurance coverage. A second portion of the catastrophe monetary help program is run by the province and would cowl disaster-related prices for municipalities and the P.E.I. authorities.

In an electronic mail, Justice and Public Security communications officer Vicki Tse stated the province hopes to incorporate the Maritime Electrical bills in a declare underneath this element. The province’s declare may additionally embody among the bills the province incurred for tree-clearing after Fiona.

Maritime Electrical is a regulated personal utility owned by the Newfoundland-based Fortis Inc. Fortis reported $1.6 billion in complete income in its 2021 audited monetary assertion.

Fortis Inc.’s monetary statements additionally point out the corporate reported it acquired a web rebate of $13 million in taxes in the identical 12 months. 

Final June, Maritime Electrical utilized to IRAC for a 9 per cent fee improve for all P.E.I. households over the subsequent three years.

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He could be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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