Timing questionable

On April 2, the Yukon Party government announced a $10-million commitment to the Carmacks-Pelly Crossing grid extension — pending its approval…

On April 2, the Yukon Party government announced a $10-million commitment to the Carmacks-Pelly Crossing grid extension — pending its approval by the utilities board.

The announcement came two days before the deadline for final submissions on the power-purchase agreement to the Yukon Utilities Board.

And in its final arguments to the board on the power-purchase agreement, the $10-million commitment was highlighted by YEC as affecting the purchase agreement’s impact on ratepayers.

While the proposed power deal doesn’t require the added money to be feasible, “(T)here is no doubt the YTG’s new funding will serve to materially reduce the risk to ratepayers and ensure long-term rate stabilization,” reads YEC’s submission.

Critics are demanding the board dismiss the last-minute funding announcement.

They charge that it stinks of political meddling in the process.

“We’ve asked the board to totally ignore that and take the power-purchase agreement as it stands,” said Roger Rondeau, of the Utilities’ Consumers Group.

“I think they (the Yukon government and YEC) were scared shitless that they were going to deny it, that’s why they put that in so quickly,” he said.

“They’re working together. You can’t tell me that Mr. (Willard) Phelps (chair of Yukon Development Corporation) and Mr. (Archie) Lang aren’t working together.”

Even if the board accepts the $10 million as affecting the proposed agreement’s impact on electricity customers, “all it does is put that risk on the taxpayer,” said Rondeau.

Lang has refused interview requests from the News since being re-elected in October.

Officials with YEC couldn’t provide comment. President David Morrison is on vacation and YDC chair Willard Phelps is in the United States.