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Quebec must be ready to pay if it wants more electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey said Monday, describing the current arrangement as “punishing” for his province.

"Show us the money," Furey told reporters in Quebec City, where he is attending the conference of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers.

Quebec Premier François Legault has made it clear his province wants more hydroelectricity from Newfoundland and Labrador, and to extend a deal beyond 2041 for power from the Churchill Falls Generating Station. Signed in 1969, the contract has made more than $28 billion for Quebec's hydro utility, while only returning $2 billion to Furey's province.

Representatives of the two provinces have been meeting, Furey said, adding that he's waiting for an offer from Quebec.

"We're always open to hearing suggestions, we're at the table and we'd like to see what Mr. Legault has to offer," Furey said. "It will have to be a good deal for Newfoundland and Labrador for us to entertain any further developments."

During a visit to St. John's in February, Legault admitted that the Churchill Falls agreement has become "a bad deal'' for Newfoundland and Labrador, but he stopped short of calling it an injustice. At the time, he floated the idea of offering financial compensation to the province before 2041 in order to reopen the contract.

Asked about compensation, Furey said he won't negotiate in public.

In addition to extending the Churchill Falls deal, Legault has also talked about signing a new agreement with Furey's government for a proposed dam downriver from Churchill Falls, at Gull Island, Labrador.

As Legault welcomed his counterparts to the conference Monday, he suggested that a deal with Newfoundland and Labrador is crucial for Quebec.

N.L. Premier Andrew Furey says a hydro deal is reachable provided Quebec ponies up enough cash. #hydro

"Obviously, to reach our carbon neutrality goals, we have to build more renewable energy," the Quebec premier said.

"So, I'm very much counting on Andrew Furey to upgrade Churchill Falls, and then for Gull Island; we have had excellent discussions and we're very optimistic that we'll be able to move forward on that."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.

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I remember controversy back in the day. I think it's a crying shame how bad Quebec took Newfoundland for a ride on that electricity deal. And it wasn't just because Newfoundland was naive--they actually tried running power lines through Quebec, I believe to the US, and those power lines kept mysteriously getting cut. Quebec put them over a barrel.

Yet another dam? When will they learn the damage a dam does, and that solar and wind are cheaper.

And that cost overruns on hydroelectric dams average 75 %, and that 37 % of dams have cost overruns of over 50 % with an average of 186 %. [Bent Flyvbjerg, How Big Things Get Done, 2023, Appendix A.]