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Accidentally released Site C report could drive up costs, says regulator

Click to play video: 'NDP government sends Site C for review' NDP government sends Site C for review
WATCH: NDP government sends Site C for review – Aug 2, 2017

The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) says information released in an unredacted version of an audit of the Site C mega project could end up costing taxpayers.

The audit was commissioned by accounting firm Deloitte LLP, and formed the basis for much of the BCUC’s interim report on the Site C dam.

READ MORE: More questions than answers in Utilities Commission’s preliminary Site C report

A redacted version of the report, released publicly earlier this month, is what the BCUC wanted the public to see.

However, another version, with some sensitive financial information still in it, also briefly made its way online before quickly being removed.

LISTEN: Site C documents blacked out… But not in Oregon

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In a statement issued on Friday, the regulator now says circulation of that information could lead to the loss of a competitive advantage to BC Hydro.

READ MORE: Does B.C. really need the Site C dam?

Specifically, it says that information could “reasonably be expected to result in significant harm or prejudice to a regulated utility’s current and future negotiating position with its contractor(s).”

As a result, it warns, the project could end up costing more than its original $8.3 billion budget.

In a statement, BCUC chair and CEO David Morton says he’s deeply concerned about the situation, which he says is not in the public interest.

The Vancouver Sun reported that based on the version released inadvertently, part of the project was already over budget and behind schedule.

READ MORE: BC NDP refers $8.8B Site C dam project to BC Utilities Commission

Earlier this month, the BCUC published its interim report on the project.

It found that while its currently on schedule, the regulator did not have enough information to answer key questions such as whether the project was on budget, how much it would cost to pause construction, or what the eventual cost to ratepayers would be to freeze or scrap the project.

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Construction on the dam is now two years underway, and the project employs more than 2,200 people in the province’s northeast.

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