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Former Nalcor executive VP addresses project’s split at Muskrat Falls Inquiry

John MacIsaac, former executive vice-president with Nalcor Energy, said splitting the project into generation and transmission, and getting power flowing on the Labrador-Island Link sooner rather than later, was the right approach. MacIsaac was at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry Tuesday.
John MacIsaac, former executive vice-president with Nalcor Energy, said splitting the project into generation and transmission, and getting power flowing on the Labrador-Island Link sooner rather than later, was the right approach. MacIsaac was at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry Tuesday. - Ashley Fitzpatrick

Move was the right one for troubled development, John MacIsaac says

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

John MacIsaac was working as president of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro when he was asked by Nalcor Energy president and CEO Stan Marshall to step into the role of executive vice-president for power supply in 2016.

It was a role created by Marshall, as he split the Muskrat Falls project. Instead of being managed as one development, there would now be a team focused on getting the Labrador-Island Link up and running and feeding power to the island of Newfoundland, (the “transmission” team). Another would work on finishing construction and getting things running at Muskrat Falls (the “generation” team).

It is known as the bifurcation. And there have been complaints about it entered into evidence at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.

But on Tuesday, MacIsaac testified the new approach was a good idea.

“In my view, it moved us forward. It reduced the risk commercially. It allowed sharper focus and produced improved relationships that drove increased productivity,” he said.

MacIsaac said he held a different management style from some of the longtime project management team members, including Jason Kean, who testified he was reporting to MacIsaac after the split, and it played at least a part in his decision to leave the project in 2017. Project director Paul Harrington, meanwhile, testified he didn’t think the change in approach was necessary, and thought it would be a distraction.

MacIsaac is no longer with Nalcor, having left in February 2019. It was reported as termination without cause. While the subject of his departure was raised at one point, MacIsaac’s lawyer objected to getting into it.

Nalcor Energy lawyer Dan Simmons agreed, saying his understanding was it was already explored by inquiry lawyers before the public hearing, and determined not to be relevant to the work of Commissioner Richard LeBlanc, inquiry co-counsel Irene Muzychka confirmed, before the hearing moved on.

Twitter: @TeleFitz


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