Judge rules against Northland over Hay River electrical assets

An NWT Supreme Court judge this week denied Northland Utilities’ appeal regarding the price Hay River should pay to purchase its power distribution assets.

In 2016, Hay River’s town council chose the NWT Power Corporation to succeed Northland as the town’s power distributor. The decision required that the Town purchase assets owned by Northland, like power poles, transformers, and generators.

An appraiser working for the Town valued the items collectively at $14 million, based on their initial costs.


Northland’s estimate was almost three times higher. Using instead the current cost of replacing the equipment, Northland had sought $40 million.

Arbitrator John Marshall sided with the Town last year, saying the $14-million figure, plus a smaller additional premium, was sufficient.

Northland went to the NWT Supreme Court to challenge the arbitrator’s decision, arguing he had failed to follow the correct methodology.

On Wednesday, Justice Andrew Mahar dismissed that appeal, stating: “The decision by the arbitrator … was not only reasonable and absent legal error, it was entirely correct.”

“The appeal is denied on all grounds,” Mahar concluded.