Kelvin Parsons, Opposition Natural Resources Critic and MHA for the District
of Burgeo-Lapoile, says it is unfortunate that government had no other
choice but to put forward $10 million to the Rate Stabilization Plan for
industry as a result of their failed negotiations to keep the Abitibi paper
mill open in Stephenville. Parsons is also reiterating his call for
government to now step forward and provide some relief for consumers who are
dealing with increasing power costs.
"While it appears government had no
other choice but to put forward $10 million for the Rate Stabilization Plan,
this would have been an unnecessary expenditure if governmentís approach to
negotiations with industry produced results," said Mr. Parsons.
"Unfortunately, the premierís approach to private sector negotiations has
been a dismal failure and the people of the province are the ones who
continue to suffer from this inaction.
"Now that government has demonstrated that they have money to invest in
the electricity sector to help industry, I am calling upon the province to
invest similar dollars to help keep electricity costs down for consumers.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has already made application to charge more
for power in this province, even though consumers have already experienced
significant increases over the past three years. If there is money to help
lower power costs for industry, there should also be money available to
avoid another rate increase for the average consumer.
"As this government continues to have little success in negotiating deals
with industry, the people of the province will continue to see the negative
impacts. While the taxpayer is now forced to subsidize our other industrial
customers to ensure they do not follow Abitibiís lead, consumers are left in
the cold with no help from government."