Hydro-Quebec sells off $79 million turbines for $75 thousand

Hydro-Quebec sells off $79 million turbines for $75 thousand

Quebec City (Quebec) 29 May 2015 – In a recent report presented by Quebec’s auditor general, Guylaine Leclerc, it was discovered that the state owned power company, Hydro Quebec sold two “made to order” turbines for the now defunct Gentilly-2 nuclear power station for used metal at a price of $75,000. Sounds like not too bad a deal, but when you review what the price of those two turbines cost to taxpayers in the first place, $79,000,000 it doesn’t make much sense.

The story unveils like this. In 2008 the Liberal Government under Jean Charest agreed to refurbish the power plant with an investment of $1.9 billion. Four years later, with the cost of the updating rising possibly to $4.9 billion, the newly elected Parti Québecois under Pauline Marois, cancelled the project and announced that the Gentilly-2 power plant would be shut down due to costs and the apparent danger of nuclear power.

In the meantime several new parts had been ordered for the revamping of the plant, and the two brand new turbines were included in those parts. They had already been shipped to Gentilly, a small town west of Montreal when the orders were given to close down, so Hydro Quebec was suddenly stuck with two unusable turbines which they immediately put up for sale on a tender basis throughout North America. Problem; since they were custom made there were no buyers, so the decision was made to finally sell the turbines for scrap metal. The highest bidder came in at $75,000.

The Auditor General not only questions the difference in price but, also questions the whole process since it seems to have been carried out behind closed doors. She claims, that since Hydro-Quebec is a public company there should have been more transparency concerning the two transactions; firstly the purchase of the turbines and secondly the reselling process.

The leader of the CAQ, François Legault, wants the government to dig deeper into the file to find out if there was any corruption or bad management involved in the transactions.

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