Nfld. & Labrador: Quebec’s top court rules for N.L. in Churchill Falls dispute with Hydro-Québec

The ruling says Churchill Falls Corp. Ltd. has the right to sell energy produced over a certain threshold.


The town of Churchill Falls, N.L., is seen from the air in November 2009. (Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador has achieved a rare win in its longstanding battle with Hydro-Québec over a 50-year-old agreement on sales of Churchill Falls power that has long been a source of contention for the province.

The Quebec Court of Appeal says in a ruling that Churchill Falls Corp. Ltd. — a subsidiary of Newfoundland’s Crown corporation overseeing hydroelectricity — has the right to sell energy produced above a certain threshold. Hydro-Québec retains the right to sell Churchill Falls energy up to a monthly cap.

That’s good news for Newfoundland and Labrador because it ensures that Churchill Falls Corp. can manage water on the Upper Churchill to avoid negatively affecting the Muskrat Falls facility’s ability to generate power, said Premier Dwight Ball.

The province will be able to set a threshold for the size of reservoirs and ensure adequate flow from the Upper Churchill to the Lower Churchill, he said.

“At least now from a water management point of view, we will not have to worry about that again,” said Ball.

The decision is the latest round in a battle that reached the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled last year that Hydro-Québec had no obligation to modify its 1969 deal, which has provided much more financial benefit to Quebec than to Newfoundland and Labrador. MORE

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