Northland Utilities’ appeal dismissed over Hay River electricity equipment sale

A file photo of Hay River's town hall. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff.)
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The NWT Court of Appeal has rejected Northland Utilities’ appeal that the Town of Hay River should have to pay triple the previously decided amount for its electrical equipment.

The equipment is used to distribute electricity within the town limits. 

In 2016, Hay River’s town council voted not to renew its electricity distribution deal with Northland Utilities, instead opting to buy the equipment out from the power provider and distribute electricity itself.

An arbitrator had originally decided the Town of Hay River would be allowed to purchase the equipment for between $13 million and $14.75 million.

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Northland Utilities was not appealing selling the equipment to Hay River, rather the price. The provider wanted $39 million for the equipment, almost triple the original amount.

Northland Utilities had built the power distributing equipment back in 2006, when the Town of Hay River entered into an agreement with the provider. Since the council vote in 2016, the town has been working on finalizing a price and purchasing the equipment from Northland Utilities.

In the court documents detailing the reasons for the dismissal the court found the arbitrator had been reasonable in his price estimation for the equipment and that there was no obvious error.

The court also noted they didn’t anticipate any negative impact to smaller outlying communities and their access to power if  the deal was approved.

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