Sue's Blog

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Beware Gull Island and Dwight Ball and 40 cent power

I read with interest the latest post on Uncle Gnarley's Blog 


This guest feature by PlanetNL certainly has no problem getting our power rates to 30 cents - even while using conservative estimates. 

As Sue's blog has pointed out many times - population - is and has been a real problem since the Fisheries Moratorium.  That one disaster cost our province at least 100,000 people  between the 1992 and now. It was the destruction of a resource fundamental to us being solvent and growing. 

The PlanetNL feature has not yet accounted for that part of the problem. 

30-35 cent power does not yet include the out-migration - that will absolutely grow exponentially as power becomes unaffordable.It does not yet include the significant numbers of those who will move to fixed income status as our population ages abnormally - without offsetting numbers of babies and youth. 

None of the soon-to-be pensioners have a plan that accommodates 4 or 5 times increase in power rates. None of the government administered programs such as CPP or the OAS were designed to deal with this runaway price on an essential such as power. 

Any attempt by government to subsidize those on low fixed incomes means that those taxpayers/ratepayers left will be subject to even more expense. 

Small to Medium size businesses - not in the industrial sector - will be unable to pay the electric bill without passing it to a consumer who cannot afford to pay it. 

I expect the next installment from PlanetNL to contain pretty catastrophic projections for cost of power as the author includes some of these other factors into the equation. 

I won't say I look forward to reading it - but I look forward to seeing real data and realistic projections finally coming to the fore. We as a people are closing our collective eyes - holding our breath - as we await the boom about to fall directly on top of us. It is likely to suck all the goodwill, hope, and trust out of us as we try and find a way to save this place from complete devastation. 

How do we fix this?

Well as a province that has the 4th largest utility in the country and the second largest underground power station in the world - and possessing first class natural renewable and non-renewable natural resources - we also - unarguably - have had the worst management of those resources.

To fix this - we must stop Muskrat Falls now. We must show the fortitude necessary to withstand corporate leeches who will be up-in-arms that their undeserving gravy train will end. We must conduct a forensic audit and use all the legal tools necessary to rid ourselves of the Emera deal. 

Finishing Muskrat and continuing on with this fiasco means we will have to give away our remaining resources - rightfully belonging to our future generations - to simply stay afloat. Pushing this out is not an alternative. 

This is going to need read leadership, guts, and tenacity. This is going to require a wholesale change in our thinking and if the current politicians will not do it -They must be told to get out of the way.  

Stan Marshall - who has some qualifications for success in the sector (primarily in regulated utilities with reasonable guarantees of profitability) has been of little value here as:

1) he failed to replace some executive in Nalcor,
2) he remains in an otherwise (government exempted) conflict of interest situation with his personal interests in competing entities. 
3) he failed to report existing reports in a timely manner
4) he has not demonstrated the extreme due diligence needed right now (does not know enough about independent contractors) 
5) he has failed to call for a forensic audit despite the red flags
6) he is not engaged enough to make Nalcor his only and first priority

The entire executive of Nalcor must be replaced and we must name a new Board of Directors. The government must stop Muskrat Falls immediately and bring in forensic auditors. When that is completed - government must review all options and lay them on the table for the people and then utilize a referendum on those choices. 

In the coming months we should expect to see government trying to bail itself out with a new potential regarding Gull Island. Do not let them explore touching this asset until we have decided a complete course of action for Muskrat. They will GIVE AWAY another resource if we let them. 

This is a time when we need all our people to pull on the same oar and use our brightest minds to seek a solution - not based on 4 year elections and inadequate solutions. 

Right now Dwight Ball is not engaging with all such people. He is playing a political game with lots of spin to save his political hide and whatever else he may be engaged in. 

The Corporate Muskrat world  is working hard to find a suitable replacement for Ball - should he not be able to continue to deliver for them while maintaining the ability to be reelected. 

The MHA's in the House of Assembly had better buckle down and demand answers and become at least somewhat educated on hydro-power and our history. As it sits now they are woefully ignorant of the situation we are in and possess no ability to fix it.

Do you want a future for your kids and grand-kids in Newfoundland and Labrador? If so speak now. 

Either Newfoundland and Labrador will return to being a wonderful place for all of us to live and raise families in or it will remain a playground for the super-rich to extract more personal wealth from. 

Time is not on our side. 

When I see the media focus on the Dobbin/Williams racket or the where's Costco game - I acknowledge we are have a tough road ahead and the odds of us surviving are pretty minuscule. 

Onward we go.

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