2014 penalty jumped millions of dollars in just weeks
Just a day after the NDP revealed that serious problems with the Sask. Party’s carbon capture experiment cost the province a $12 million penalty, new internal documents show that penalty climbed fast – jumping upwards of $3 million in just one week in 2014.
“The government claims we’re already in for a $5-million to $6-million penalty, plus millions in lost revenue, for 2015 because their billion-dollar experiment isn’t working properly,” said Cathy Sproule, the NDP’s SaskPower critic. “But considering how fast last year’s penalty appeared to rise, Saskatchewan families need to know what we’re paying this year – because sadly, now we’re all bracing for more power rate hikes by the Sask. Party.”
Briefing notes prepared for the Sask. Party minister show that on Sept. 30, 2014 the failure to deliver promised CO2 to Alberta corporation Cenovus would result in a $7 million penalty. Just a week later, another briefing note for the same minister says the payment was estimated in the range of $8.7 million to $10 million. By Dec. 31, it had grown to $12 million.
“The Sask. Party certainly led everyone to believe this technology was working, never mentioning that the plant has only gotten up to 40 per cent capacity in over a year of operations, and that penalties and losses were piling up,” said Sproule.
“Now, SaskPower has a pricey overhaul happening, and they’re behind delivery schedules for the year. Taxpayers and SaskPower customers paid $1.5 billion for this experiment, and instead of returning that investment, the carbon capture facility is bleeding money losses.”
In 2014, those losses on top of its $1.5 billion construction price included a $12-million penalty and about $10 million in lost revenues.
“We all deserve to know when this plant will start working well enough to at least break even and stop driving us further into the hole every month – but the Sask. Party can’t even tell us that. I want to remind them this is taxpayer and SaskPower customer money they’re losing here,” said Sproule.
SaskPower rates have increased 42 per cent under the Sask. Party.
The Sask. Party’s decision to install more than 105,000 faulty and fire-prone smart meters, despite fire problems in other jurisdictions with the same model, cost the Crown tens of millions of dollars, including a settlement gift of about $24 million to the manufacturer of the smart meters. The Sask. Party promised that wouldn’t be charged to SaskPower customers – but then hiked SaskPower rates yet again.