Monday, 7 November 2016

STAN MARSHALL DESERVES A GOOD TONGUE-LASHING

It is not difficult to figure out why Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall wasn’t invited by the Premier to sit in on the marathon session with aboriginal leaders. Evidently he would not have been helpful. Already he is dissing the importance of the methylmercury issue mere days after the protesters broke off their sit-in.

At the beginning of his tenure, Marshall appeared in front of the media to confirm that the Muskrat Falls project is a “boondoggle” and to say that he is trying to mitigate the impact of 21.4 cent KWh power on ratepayers. Otherwise, he has largely been mute.

Whether it was the protesters or something else that stirred him to consciousness is uncertain.

The Nalcor CEO used his two-day media blitz last week to largely dismiss the deal the politicians had constructed. He downplayed concerns about methylmercury and suggested the science would not require clearcutting and soil removal. Marshall may be right. But how is the expression of such views supposed to advance progress in establishing a relationship between the parties?

Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall
Nalcor ‘dropped the ball’ on many facets of its environmental obligations. Then, too, it has not established a trustworthy relationship with the three aboriginal groups, except for some Innu who are in love with their contracts.

Even Labrador municipal leaders were demanding a seat at the negotiating table methylmercury not being the only issue on their agenda.

Likely, Happy Valley-Goose Bay’s Mayor Snook is realizing his predecessor Leo Abbass, who held a seat on Nalcor’s Board of Directors, delivered little except acquiescence to a project that will leave the Town with a lot of inflation and a few maintenance positions.

In truth, Nalcor’s ham-fisted approach to legitimate local concerns is responsible for the invasion of the work site.

But Marshall wants to dump responsibility on the aboriginals anyway for costing what he has arbitrarily estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in consequence of a couple of days of occupation. He gave no mention that the meeting was delayed for the convenience of the Premier, who was enjoying the comfort of sun and sand.

Neither did Marshall note that Nalcor senior management personnel had failed to get their asses to the work site from the very beginning where, if they were attitudinally inclined (which is doubtful), they might have developed a rapport with local and indigenous people, possibly easing frustrations before they were fomented. Instead, Nalcor management were afforded the convenience of being home by 5PM Gilbert Bennett, and his cohorts, content to watch the protests on the evening news!

When a Corporation has screwed up as badly as has Nalcor, the new CEO might wish to come to grips with the reality that his organization has not earned the right to be impatient.

Indeed, there are times especially if you have no good will to trade when issues have to play themselves out. Just because Stan Marshall has found “not one documented case that I'm aware of that flooding a reservoir has caused harm due to methylmercury” is completely irrelevant.

As much as Nalcor insists on controlling the agenda, it is sufficient for Marshall to be reminded that it was the Government not him, and not Gil Bennett that stepped in to give Nalcor back its site. Indeed, Marshall might want to remind us either of consultation or of oversight processes he has initiated as the new CEO. I can recall not one.

The Nalcor CEO also indicated that he wants to address the problem of low morale among Nalcor employees, due to public criticism of the Crown Corporation.

Does he think the declaration “they’re dedicated, very qualified” or “they are doing a good job” suffices as leadership, or that the admission of “boondoggle” and the admonition “that [it] should never have been started” serves as a palliative for a staff bewildered by the sheer stupidity of their bosses?

Did it not occur to him that a good many of those professionals would prefer not to be associated with a corporate leadership which contrived the basis for the single worst decision in the province’s history?

Does he not appreciate that they have to work under an overpaid management team who keep their jobs and display their entitlements behind multi-various private corporations in spite of having royally screwed up?

Has he forgotten that he has made no management changes to alter what is a dreadful status quo? That even the Executive V-P Gilbert Bennett, who has never managed anything even close to a mega construction project, is still allowed to inhabit a place crying out for experienced leadership?

Still, Marshall tells a CBC reporter, “criticism of the project should not be focused on Nalcor employees but the project itself”.

Who or what is the project if not Nalcor?

Once content to be Dunderdale’s international experts, Nalcor management now feel insecure having put this province in the poor house a $7.4 billion project now at $11.4 billion and counting. I’m sure the public will be very contrite for levying blame when their power bills rise at least twofold!

Marshall’s newest revelation, uttered last week, won’t exactly calm a public suspicious and cynical of Nalcor either.

Remember the Water Management Agreement?

Yes, that’s the one intended to maximize production from Muskrat Falls by trading power with the Upper Churchill in times of surplus/deficit.

Critics voiced extensive warnings that Nalcor ought to seek judicial clarity prior to sanction because the viability of Muskrat would be harmed without it that, without the WMA, control of Muskrat would effectively be handed over to Hydro Quebec, which controls water flows from the Upper Churchill.

Now recall Nalcor’s recent loss over the Upper Churchill Renewal Agreement in the Quebec Superior Court. And recall Nalcor’s insistence from the very beginning, and again in August, following the Court Decision that the Case and the WMA were totally unrelated.

Last week, Stan Marshall offered at least a partial correction to what was, from the outset, a bald-faced lie. Said he to NTV: “Would have been better if we had won. And there are some issues but with a minimal amount of cooperation from Hydro Quebec, which I fully expect to have, I think we can operate MF in the way it was designed to…”

Marshall was putting the best face he could on a much larger problem, without a shred of proof of the total impact and how it jibes with evidence it had filed with the PUB on the Water Management issue.

The Court Decision demands no cooperation from Hydro Quebec. HQ is likely to offer its “cooperation” for a price. But, without it, billions of dollars are being poured into a project that, at times, will need the unutilized recall power from the Upper Churchill and excess power from Island sources just to meet Nalcor’s Island requirements and its contractual obligations to Nova Scotia. These are the facts about which Stan Marshall ought to have spoken plainly.

Though Marshall cracked open the original deceit, he ought to have gone further and fired Gilbert Bennett as one of the key spokespersons for his handling of the issue. Instead, Marshall downplayed the problem, choosing not to expose or further embarrass his Executive V-P.

Notwithstanding such revelations, the media still doesn’t seem to understand that this is one reason on top of the many others that critics want to halt a fundamentally flawed project.

Perhaps Marshall thinks he is just doing his job. His role, ostensibly, is not to chastise or to fire senior managers whose judgement is deficient and who chose to roll the dice with the public purse.

Stan Marshall suggests “Nalcor won't be judged by the way the project began but by how it finishes”.

He is wrong.

Nalcor has established what it is. Marshall is merely trying to put lipstick on a pig. What constitutes a strong finish for a project headed for $15 billion anyway?

Unless Marshall wants all the people at Nalcor the innocent and the guilty to be judged unkindly, he will have to be less quiet, more decisive, and make this publicly-owned Corporation more accountable, and more honest too.The lies and deceit have to stop else at some future date, a Royal Commission will wring out the truth for him.

For the present, unless Stan Marshall can demonstrate the leadership many hoped he would bring to this outfit, he should gird himself for more protests in Labrador because he is impressing neither the aboriginal groups nor, for that matter, anyone on the Island.

9 comments:

  1. I am totally convinced we are run by a bunch of absolute dummies!

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    1. I'm not convinced of that at all. There are very many "maggot dollars" at play. They play dumb to lower expectations and (in their hopes) to avoid the aforementioned Royal Commission. It seems inevitable though, given the way things are being horribly mismanaged. Stan and his lipsticked pig(s?) are used to running things their way, with little or no opposition. The other farm animals are rising up and grunting though, and the recent feeding, (by way of the recent provincial/federal tag team meeting), merely calmed the waters for a week or so. We regroup now for the main event/s. Our hunger strikers are fed. Our collective body is stronger and wiser now. More to come for certain. ... That is of course, if the failure of the North Spur doesn't beat us to the final punch. Peter Austin

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    2. Maybe we're the dummies then. :(

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  2. "...(Nalcor)will need the unutilized recall power from the Upper Churchill... ...just to meet Nalcor’s Island requirements and its contractual obligations to Nova Scotia."

    FWIW, it was my understanding that this "unutilized" recall power from UC is (was?) actually being recalled by Nalcor on a regular basis, and is exported to the US (via Hydro Quebec 735KV transmission lines).

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  3. Stan is a hands off, part time CEO who provides cover for Bennett and other incompetents at Nalcor. He has done zero analysis and just keeps muttering "we have to make it to the finish line", regardless of the cost, risk to human life or impacts on aboriginal groups.

    His Neandrathalic comments about mercury, ignoring the political negotiations underway, deserve immediate dismissal as Nalcor CEO. Ball has ignored his comments.

    Behind the fog of political denial emanates the stench of incompetence and corruption. It is time to demand answers and transparency. The North Spur engineering and contracts are essential now.

    Where is the newly minted "Public Advocate" who claims to work for rate/taxpayers?

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  4. It started like a slow news day. Uncle Gnarley missed his early Monday piece. Ed Hollett....so,so today. But Russ at the Telly offered his anti-Muskrat view, saying it is turning out just as predicted. But Russ still never called for a shutdown. Too late now he concludes. But that was his stance when it went over Wade Locke`s number of 8 billion, which even Locke said was shocking.
    Little that can shock us now from Donald Trump. I view a Trump victory as another hit against Muskrat, since the benefit of high carbon credits will be gone with a Trump victory. I did manage a morning chuckle, thinking that a man who brags that grabbing a woman`s pussy, could possibly make it as President of the US of A. And we think we have problems locally. What`s the world coming to.
    I turned to my energy monitor for mental stimulation. I can now monitor a house in Mount Pearl from Logy Bay. The data is recorded every 6 seconds, retained on a server, somewhere in England I believe. I can now check with ease on my mini-spit size selections and energy use for a system installed 3 years ago. In April I could only monitor the whole house heating load, and compare the heatpump to baseboard heaters.This was important enough that Nfld Power was impressed, saying they could have done that for a million dollars ( honest to God, as best I recall. It`s in the PUB transcript).Now I can monitor each of the 3 heatpumps individually. That must be worth another million.
    Here is what I saw today: From 4-6am this morning,the North side unit was using 550 watts. The south side unit was using 540 watts. The unit serving the garage and upstairs was using 470 watts. Outdoor temperature was +1C. The critical data here is that the systems seem well balanced. All units are the same size, with a power input capacity of about 1700 watts each, so now using less than one third of its capacity. The units have run at temperatures of about -18C, but I have not yet recorded the power consumed at these low temperatures.In April the temperature only got down to -8C, using 2kw total for all 3 units. The house has 18kw of baseboard heaters that have been shut down. I await the cold weather.
    This is a R2000 house , 4000 sq ft, 3 levels, and heated garage.
    Todays early morning reading showed all units combined were using 1.56kw. That is 15.6 cents per hour at 10 cents per kw.
    It was a sunny day. By noon the power consumption was down to 2.4 cents per hour. So far today, by 8pm the house has used $4.56 in electricity for heat, hot water, everything. There are 2 adults and 3 kids there. Heat is running about one third of the energy use, but will increase as the winter gets colder. Peak demand is today about 6.5kw, 3kw of this is the hot water tank.
    I suppose this type of monitoring is what Manitoba Hydro calls end-use research. Something our power companies should do , but don`t. Could have really helped on their false assumption for our power needs going forward, and for older house upgrades.
    The day passes, and by 5pm I check the site Vision 2041, Maurice usually has the latest on Muskrat. He gives the link for the piece titled `Stan Marshall Deserves a Good Tongue Lashing` I think.... Uncle Gnarley must have posted. I read it.... it made my day. Needed to be said. A wonderful piece , I thought. Ray Guy would be proud.
    Winston Adams

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  5. Dwight Ball had a session at the The Rooms. The theme was The Way Forward. Yep, that was the same session when he slipped out the back door and was whisked away, rather than face any real questions. How progressive and forward thinking of our Premier. He suggested the way forward was fish, farms, etc., etc. But he totally ignored the only real issue. The elephant in the phone booth so to speak. He also missed the two main industries for growth in NL.... heat pumps and solar panels. Apart from sales of one way travel out of this province, these two are the market gems of the next 2-10 years in this province. Your point (above) is well taken Mr Winston Adams. Thank you for the new market insights! :) Nice to know a few folks can stay warm over the next few winters as we attempt construct an actual, (our first ever), democracy... other folks have been, and will be, forced to pull up roots and move away due to the harsh realities and the unmitigated hopelessness of the organized crime death grip on our province's economy. Let's hope "King" Williams (now jester?) isn't selling heat pumps and solar panels too now, so there'll be a tiny fraction of the economy left for others. Since we're all now on the new path of Ball's "way forward"... maybe CONA or MUN can commence online courses to teach folks how to build root cellars.

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    1. My earlier posting had an error. It said all three units together used 1.56kw . This was by addition of the typical wattage of each unit when running. In April,(as filed with the PUB) we showed a heating load of just 1.0kw at 0 degree C, so the 1.56 appeared high, and in conflict with the prior reading. Here is the explanation (for readers who want details and accuracy):
      For the present outdoor temperature, it is not cold enough to cause the unit to run continuous. In fact they cycle on and off about every 10 minutes, so each unit is on about half the time. With the random operation of the 3 units, the average load of all three would be expected to be less than 1.0 kw instead of 1.56 kw.
      The monitor also records the separate as well as the total kwhs used by the heatpumps. For yesterday this was 20.84 kwh over 24 hours. This averages 0.87kw, or 870 watts of electricity on average to heat a 4000 sq ft house for Nov 7. My toaster uses 900 watts.
      As to your comment about solar panels: Solar panels are relatively expensive to produce a low amount of power, but are much cheaper than 5 years ago. Canadian Tire recently advertised 100 watt units for 189 dollars. 6 of these could produce 600 watts that can deliver about 2000 watts of heat via the heatpump. An excellent heat source in daytime if there is a power failure.I do not advocate that customers go off grid. But a gas generator can cost 75 dollars a day in fuel, and fuel may be scarce if a power failure lasts several days or longer.
      And your comment `a few folks can stay warm` implies that this technology is affordable only for those with R2000 houses. To the contrary,my work is to show this as very appropriate for regular houses. The savings on a R2000 house is about 25 percent reduction on heat energy needed, and shows the approximate limits of energy savings for new construction, or recent R2000 houses. A regular house saves about 60 percent on their heat(more than double the percentage on R2000 houses), though this may not seem logical. But the unit should be sized with some extra capacity to achieve these savings.
      This is a economic solution for most all existing houses, not just for the well to do. For standard houses, with average power bills of say $300, this gets chopped to $200 a month or less.

      I have done basic testing on standard houses, but not yet with the high tech monitors. Such monitoring should be done just to prove what is already observed with regular type testing.
      Winston

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  6. Okay so where was the Executive Vice President Gilbert Bennett through all of this. Not a word From him, not a word from The project manager Paul Harrington, not a word from site manager Dave Pardy. Great game of hide and seek. Were they hoping that someone else would step up to the plate. I'm sure that these yahoos were all getting paid while all the workers on site were sent home without pay. Where's the salaries of all these contractors under Nalcor? wasn't that supposed to be published 2nd quarter. Time to fire these (the 3 mentioned) poor excuses for Senior Management. Shame shame shame wasting rate and tax payers money.

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