Global News has unearthed some stunning evidence of just how far Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is going to play down the costs of its Darlington Re-build Project.

Global obtained an auditor’s report that called into question a “deliberate management strategy” to attract lowball bids from contractors. Specifically, the auditors questioned how a bid to build a new Heavy Water Storage and Drum Handling Facility was suddenly cut by almost 50% after OPG encouraged contractors to ignore the high likelihood that there might be contaminated soil on the building site (there was).

Of course, attracting lowball quotes has done nothing to keep the actual costs for the storage facility under control. In fact, it is now projected that the final cost may be five times what was originally estimated — $500 million versus a just over $100 million original price tag.

The storage facility for radioactive water is a key part of OPG’s plan to rebuild Darlington, but it is two-and-a-half years behind schedule and already massively over budget.

But what’s a few hundred million in a $12.8 billion budget? That’s the response OPG CEO Jeff Lyash offered in response to the revelations. For OPG, running a few hundred million dollars over budget is just par for the course, it seems, given that every nuclear rebuild project it has ever managed has run massively over budget and behind schedule.

But despite Lyash’s “what, me worry?” response, Global’s digging raises some serious concerns about mismanagement and delays on the massive project. Of course, it is Ontario ratepayers (and possibly taxpayers) who will once again pick up the tab for Darlington’s overpriced electricity.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s offer to provide power at one-third the cost of power from the Darlington Re-Build gathers dust at Queen’s Park. It’s a strange world.

Please contact Premier Wynne and ask her to negotiate a long-term electricity supply contract with Hydro Quebec which will allow us to cancel the Darlington Re-Build Project and lower our electricity bills. Click here to email the Premier (premier@ontario.ca) and PC Leader Patrick Brown (patrick.brown@pc.ola.org)

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