Power play
Power Corp not giving up on Simpson yet

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson ( Jun 09/00) - The chair of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation isn't giving up on Fort Simpson.

Gordon Stewart says he's confident hard work and improved communications with customers will result in the Power Corp. retaining the generation and distribution of electricity to the village.

"I am certain that we have a large number of loyal customers in Fort Simpson and they want us to continue to be their supplier," he said in a press release.

According to the release, the Power Corp. plans to hold a public meeting in Fort Simpson next week to hear customers' concerns, and outline the corporation's current position and where it sees the electricity business heading in the future.

Visits to other Deh Cho communities have also been scheduled.

The village has also planned a public meeting, tentatively scheduled for June 20, regarding the power supplier issue.

At an emergency council meeting held last Tuesday, village council endorsed Jupiter Power International Inc. as the community's power distributor. They had already chosen Jupiter to be the generator of power, subject to public support and approval from the Public Utilities Board.

According to a press release issued by the village last week, Jupiter Power has proposed to build a new generation plant in a preferred location out of the residential core. After 15 years, ownership of the system would transfer to the village.

Mayor Norm Prevost has previously said that waste heat being made available to the village for free by Jupiter would result in a minimum savings of $100,000 per year alone.

Over the course of the franchise agreement, the village would save an estimated $6 million, he added. Stewart contended that the Power Corp. has an excellent track record when it comes to reliability, safety and environmental programs.

Staff members from the Fort Simpson office are reported to be talking to customers, answering their questions and noting their concerns as part of the board and management's attempt to improve community and customer relations.

"Mr. Stewart said that the corporation is not going to walk away from its Fort Simpson customers..." the press release reads.