Fentie misrepresenting Mayo B savings: Liberals

When it comes to Mayo B's cost savings, Premier Dennis Fentie has his facts wrong, says the Opposition. He's playing with the numbers, say Liberal MLAs.

When it comes to Mayo B’s cost savings, Premier Dennis Fentie has his facts wrong, says the Opposition.

He’s playing with the numbers, say Liberal MLAs.

“Forecasts indicate that, without this project, at least $20 million of diesel will be needed annually by the year 2012 to meet the projected demand of our consumers,” said Fentie in his budget speech on March 25.

Klondike MLA Steve Nordick made a bolder claim in a response to Fentie’s budget speech on March 30.

“Yukon Energy has projected a savings of $20 million per year in fuel costs starting in 2012,” said Nordick.

The government’s remarks are deceptive, say Liberals.

Actual savings are around $3 million, according to the Yukon Energy Corporation’s recent regulatory filing to have the project approved.

Fentie has refused interview requests to clarify statements by reporters and the Opposition.

“He’s trying to fool Yukoners into thinking the Mayo B project is a lot better than it is,” said Liberal MLA Gary McRobb, who is his party’s energy critic.

On Monday, McRobb questioned Yukon Energy president David Morrison about Fentie’s claims.

“The benefit of building the project, not burning the diesel, and taking the costs of the project … is $3-point-something million,” said Morrison.

Fentie also made questionable statements during a recent visit by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada minister Chuck Strahl.

When asked if signing contracts for construction of Mayo B before Yukon Energy finalized the regulatory process was risky, Fentie said many of the regulatory requirements had been approved.

It isn’t clear what process he was referring to. The only hearings on Mayo B with the Yukon Utilities Board were late last week, after Fentie made the comments.

Then, once again in defence of rushing the construction contracts, Fentie said his government was going out of its way to get the project Yukon Utilities Board approval.

SDLqOne must remember there are past governments that didn’t go through the utilities board for major projects,” he said.

But Mayo B is the most expensive energy project in the Yukon’s history and the only generation project handled by the territorial government.

All the Yukon’s major power plants – Whitehorse, Aishihik and Mayo – were built when the power grid was owned by the federal government. The federal Northern Canada Power Commission sold the plants and the rest of the grid to the Yukon government in the mid-1980s.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com