Ratepayers are better protected under the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board’s Maritime Link decision released today, Nov. 29, said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. The board addressed the eight conditions proposed by government during a recent hearing. The province proposed the conditions to ensure the Maritime Link proponents, Emera and Nalcor shareholders, take on project risks, not ratepayers. “Our first interest has always been the protection of Nova Scotia ratepayers, that’s why government pushed to improve the deal,” said Mr. Younger. “We have reviewed the board’s decision and are confident that ratepayers are better protected, and that Emera and Nalcor will bear the project risks, not ratepayers.” Emera and Nalcor must follow the terms of the agreement as presented to the board, which includes improved and transparent procurement practices, as well as enhanced auditing and oversight by the board. In July, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved the Maritime Link project with conditions Emera had to meet to ensure ratepayers had access to surplus market energy. The board has determined that, with the availibility of market-priced electricity factored in, the Maritime Link is the lowest long-term cost alternative for electricity ratepayers in Nova Scotia. The board’s decision was based on evidence tested during two hearings that included testimony from experts and interveners representing Nova Scotia ratepayers. “We appreciate the work of the board and all of the interveners to ensure this agreement is in the best interest of Nova Scotia ratepayers,” said Mr. Younger. “We now have some work to do to ensure that Nova Scotians benefit from millions of dollars in savings through the federal loan guarantee.” The Maritime Link project will provide a renewable and reliable source of energy for the next 35 years and place Nova Scotia in an energy loop. It will also enable greater regional co-operation and enhance opportunities for competition in the marketplace.