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Natural Resources
May 28, 2008

Energy Corporation Structure Ensures Accountability and Competitiveness

The Provincial Government is taking another step forward to implement the Energy Plan with legislation currently before the House of Assembly to establish the governance and accountability structure for the province�s energy corporation and its subsidiaries.

"We have undertaken significant analysis and engaged external analysts to ensure our energy corporation is structured in a manner consistent with international best practices for government-owned corporations," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are breaking new ground in resource development and the energy corporation will position the province as an international player, ready and able to compete around the world."

Since 2003, the Provincial Government has taken a series of steps towards positioning the province to have greater participation in resource development. The energy corporation was established to pursue energy developments on behalf of the people of the province. Amendments to the Energy Corporation Act tabled in the House of Assembly this week establish the public accountability process for the corporation and its subsidiaries, provide for the creation of subsidiaries, and protect the corporation and the Provincial Government, to the best extent possible, from risks associated with the activities of the subsidiaries.

"The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will remain subject to key accountability and disclosure legislation while commercially-sensitive information is protected," said Minister Dunderdale. "These changes continue to ensure strong oversight while meeting the requirements necessary for this province to be a strong partner and participant in the global energy business. The corporation will be subject to similar reporting requirements as companies listed on a stock exchange."

The Office of the Auditor General will continue to have unrestricted access and oversight to the energy corporation, its subsidiaries and all commercially-sensitive information. It will also have to protect commercially-sensitive information from disclosure, in carrying out its duties. If the office has an issue which contains reference to commercially-sensitive information and the CEO does not agree to release then the office will report it to the Cabinet and notify the House of Assembly of such a report. If there is an issue not related to commercially-sensitive information, it can be disclosed to the public.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act will continue to apply, with a similar provision to protect commercially-sensitive information. If an applicant has an issue with being denied certain information, an appeal can be made to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, who can review whether the information meets the definition of commercially sensitive information. If it does meet the definition, the commissioner will request the CEO and the Board of Directors to confirm that the disclosure would potentially harm the company.  If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome, the applicant can pursue recourse through the courts.

The energy corporation and its subsidiaries will continue to comply with the province�s Accountability and Transparency Act and will be subject to specific public reporting provisions that provide greater access to information by the public, including an open public annual general meeting, a consolidated annual report and annual consolidated financial statements.

"We are committed to openness and accountability in our operations," said Ed Martin, President and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and the province�s energy corporation. "It is a principle and value in our business and we see the importance of strong reporting and disclosure requirements. The success of our energy business will be built on gaining the support and trust of the people of the province as we move forward which requires openness and accountability."

The amendments also allow the corporation and its subsidiaries, to follow global best practices for procurement associated with large-scale projects and to include considerations, such as the principle of adjacency to maximize local benefits and Aboriginal interests, not provided for in the Public Tender Act. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, as a regulated utility, will continue to be subject to the Public Tender Act.

These amendments to the Energy Corporation Act will allow the corporation to deliver on the key goals and objectives outlined in the Energy Plan and ensure the corporation is structured for commercial success in competitive industries.

"We want our energy corporation and its subsidiaries to participate fully in major energy projects and enter into agreements with its private-sector partners on behalf of the people of the province," Minister Dunderdale said. "We are setting up this company and its subsidiaries for success in the energy business � success that will benefit all the people of the province. This is an important step in taking control of our natural resource developments and our future."

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Media contacts:

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241
Dawn Dalley
Manager, Corporate Communication and Shareholder Relations
Energy Corporation/Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
709-737-1315, 709-727-7715

2008 05 28                                                    2:45 p.m.

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