Thursday, 24 January 2019

THE NEW RISK TO MUSKRAT: BLAMING THE JUDGE.

The latest Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee Report evokes all the excitement of yesterday’s breakfast. Released on November 22, 2018 it is a project status report to September 30. Where was I to find a sense of urgency in ancient history?

Gnawing at me, however, was Nalcor’s warning that the project Budget did not account for certain specific risks — chiefly protest unrest, unforeseen directives from Government and (wouldn’t you know it) the Muskrat Falls Commission of Inquiry. Those risks had been quantified by Westney Consulting as having a potential cost of between $170 million and $370 million. 
The Inquiry alone evidently endangers the MF Budget Estimate (that’s the $12.7 billion figure, not the one contrived) by between $45 and $165 million.

The Report having been read, I had a single thought of reflection: arrogance had overshadowed this project at the start and has never let go. Over the years, only aggravating self-aggrandizement could be heard from ill-suited cronies who might have rendered a more valuable service had public money never lifted them from their now-famed rendezvous: the Guvnor’s Inn. 

Would any Quarterly Report, or all taken together, have ever exhibited a Nalcor Executive or a Project Management Team anything but unbowed? Not likely. It took a long time – and it took a Judge - to release the air that has long given them elevation. The MHI Report, the Independent Project Review, Validation Estimating — heck, why couldn’t the public just be content with the secret edits toning down embarrassing criticisms? 
And so it is that the latest Quarterly Report is concerned not about Stan Marshall’s failure to take the reins of that “runaway train,” as former Justice Deputy Todd Stanley described the Crown Corporation. Nor is it about Marshall’s willingness to tackle the management team associated with the “debacle” (my word) or the “boondoggle” (Stan's word). Under attack is the Public Inquiry — a state-sponsored investigation, no less, of Nalcor's work. 

How could Stan Marshall have let this happen and choose to participate? How could Dwight Ball? 
Is Stan a loose cannon under Ball no differently than Ed Martin under Cathy Dunderdale?

And, anyway, how could risk be posed by the truth?
The compelling questions multiplied.
Why would the management team be distracted by a process established to bring full public attention to their accomplishments? 
In keeping with their (political) billing, don't they also deserve illumination — not in a George Bush Sr. context, as in “a thousand points of light.” Let’s not get carried away. I was just thinking of mere transparency for a group skulking far too long in the shadows. 
I could try and understand their reservations. But surely after three or four days on the Witness Stand and, in Ed Martin's case, having been given a stern lecture, too, isn’t the malady of shyness not already on the way to being cured?
What about the serious issues?
 The Oversight Committee states that, “The project is now largely in the installation, integration and static and dynamic commissioning phases which inherently carry associated risks.” It’s a mouthful, but it isn’t actually the biggest risk. 
I believe one far greater is that, having spent most of the $12.7 billion, the project management team may not have been diligent about oversight, especially as it relates to quality control and supervision of the contractors. Having settled once with Astaldi for more than $800 million, why is another $500 million-plus at issue with the very same company? Was nothing learned? Did no one care?
The Report points to others associated with the timeliness of the resumption of Astaldi's scope of work: the financial impact, the delay caused to other contractors, and the impact on the schedule. Ask any contractor if there will be lost time — and additional cost — associated with the ramp-up by Pennecon, the local outfit replacing Astaldi? Even Dick Westney could have been spared the head scratching over that question.
Then there's the need for a “resolution of commercial issues with GE.” Isn't it fortuitous that everything else is behind schedule, too!
What about those Synchronous Condensers — currently being knocked down at Soldier’s Pond due to some vaguely worded reason called a “lube oil contamination issue”? The Quarterly Report notes that it might also have an impact on the schedule. 
Could Nalcor be responsible for damages, having left a huge quantity of critical equipment on the dock at Bay Bulls for eighteen months, as a local resident has confirmed? Why was Mr. Westney not asked for his thoughts on this risk, I wonder?

There is no reference, either, to the risk inherent in the questionable stability of the North Spur; tracked is only “reservoir rim stability and the impact of changing water levels during impoundment.”

Indeed, the list of outstanding Risks is still quite long — and not at all complete.  
The Project reports that Contingency available to address the noted risks is just under $160 million. Turbine Unit 1 is still forecast to be Ready for Operation in December 2019.

We have the assurance — from Nalcor — that the June 2017 Project Budget will cover all of those risks, including the risks to the schedule. But, who believes Nalcor?
As to the “Additional Risks” including unforeseen government directives, protests, and the public inquiry, we are led to believe that those are the ones that matter.
Someone needs to tell Nalcor that they should stay focussed on pouring concrete and finishing the powerhouse – taking care of their business. They should stop interfering where they have no business. As to those “Additional Risks”, they are merely about obfuscation and diversion of blame. 
The “unforeseen government directives” referred to are policy matters.  A more mindful Government would have already told Nalcor that its days of being a “state within a state” are over. Except, given Ball’s deference to the rogue Crown, they may not.
Nalcor skilfully attempts to place the risk of protest at the feet of aboriginal groups. A more suitable heading for this line item might have been: “Risk associated with Nalcor's inept response to the Joint Review Panel Report.” The JRP identified a plethora of issues and processes that were ultimately ignored. Make that risk Nalcor’s dime.
Again, Nalcor's inclusion for Westney of the potential risk related to the ongoing Commission of Inquiry raises the bar high on arrogance. Their attempt to effectively shutter the Inquiry through the backdoor, having applied to the Commission to shield the public from the business of the Astaldi litigation and arbitration, further confirms that they possess a distorted sense of entitlement.
Neither the Premier nor Stan Marshall sees value in transparency or accountability. But the public should know that it was under such a veil that the Muskrat Falls saga received sanction.
Even at this late date, nothing has changed at Nalcor. But fair warning is given: watch out for even more cost overruns! And the culprit? Why, it is Judge Richard LeBlanc, of course!

65 comments:

  1. From day one it was my view that installing a new rider (Stan) was Ball merely changing horses.

    Little of worth has changed.

    The Liberals had ample time to do a serious review of the Muskrat boondoggle and CHOSE not to do so.

    What does that say about whether Ball deserves to be re-elected?

    What a mess we are now in, when the damage could have been at least cut in half if Ball had the best interest of the province at heart.

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    1. Somewhat related August 2014 Tele article:-- https://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/who-will-stop-the-muskrat-madness-136561/

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    2. It's all about entitlements. Ask, who has benefitted from Stan's appointment to CEO?
      Same old game folks. Maybe Ches has his own "Rider". A lot at stake in the upcoming election. Don't be duped this time!

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  2. My first thought on reading this is that there are many more unplanned expenditures and delays to come. What an ugly mess.

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  3. If I recall, with the switch from Ed Martin to Stan Marshall, Maurice stated " Same horse, new rider"
    Stan declared an interest, if I recall, of some 6 % ownership in a unnamed company, (obvious Fortis?), but Ball said "No conflict of interest"
    Peng2, recently admitted to being a Fortis shareholder, so not entirely without bias on this blog.
    Does any lawyer or close family member of this Inquiry, or Leblanc himself own Fortis shares? If we expect transparency and justice, surely we need knowledge of potential biases. And what of Premier Ball? Any Fortis shares? After Peter Alteen's testimony, we need to be on guard. Is not the Fox, (Stan) now in charge of the hen house? And Nfld Power of Fortis eyeing assets?
    Bruno, going with his spider sense, opposed Marshall at once. MA, said a change of rider. Some gave the benefit of doubt, due to Stan's experience and success with Fortis.
    Where is our strong conflict of interest laws?
    PF

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    1. Anyone with a Mutual Fund or RRSP vested by either of the major banks will have Fortis stock. As will anyone with a pension vested with Gov NL, NAPE, CUPE or the other major unions.

      Fortis is 45% owned by small investors and 55% by corporations - a good producer going from $6/share in 1995 to $45/share today. Maybe check out the Fortis history, a good NL success story - Id say you have some money in Frotis, even if you dont realize it.

      That's real tin-foil hat stuff, PF.

      PENG2

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    2. PENG2 So what's in Muskrat for Fortis? They also do well in the Columbia Valley, extending fracked gas pipelines and stuff. Stephen's dad Angus was a smart lad. Did he not, before passing away, have a hand in promoting Lower Churchill development? Vic Young, another bright lad, led his class so to speak, built the shareholder values, but could not stop the Muskrat madness.

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    3. Robert @ 15:12:

      PF has been insinuating that because I have Fortis stock I am biased - that is something that makes no sense.

      Muskrat gives nothing to Fortis - at more than 1 AGM and in the media, Fortis/NL Power reps have said they wanted nothing to do with MF as the PC government was proposing. At the EOD, NL Power is about 5% of Fortis revenue - and from what I can figure, NL Power profits don’t depend on the retail cost of power; so I see NL Power is a disinterested party with no gain based on post MF power rates.

      AB was, and is a truly inspirational individual to any of us that have followed him into this profession - a man of true honour.

      PENG2

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    4. What's in Nalcor holdings of interest to Fortis? How about all of Nfld Hydro? How about the Muskrat transmission assets, less the generations assets?
      Fortis paid about 15 billion for their last acquisition in the USA, being just HV transmission assets.
      Peng2; I'm pretty sure I don't own Fortis shares. I'm pretty sure that the majority of Nflders do not own Fortis shares. I cannot verify that all major banks Mutual funds include Fortis. Or that all govn and union pensions include Fortis. We have your word, but how good is that? You have broken your word several times on this blog.
      Also indirect ownership is different that direct, where you control it. Is your's direct ownership or through a mutual fund?
      You say 45 % is via small investors. Stan is not a corporation, so a small investor? If 6 % of Fortis, well over 100 million? A small investor? Sure, anyone with Mutual fund ownership is not in a conflict of interest. Direct ownership can be . You spin the importance of conflict of interest intent Peng2.
      Yes, Fortis a good success story. Too bad they were silent as to the boondoggle they foresaw, as a civic responsibility, like Stephen Bruneau, to speak up when needed. Also WA has cited the complicity of Nfld Power as to the CDM failure, then and now.
      You say Nfld Power and Fortis played by the book, all was fine, nothing to see there, then or now. Tin-foil hat stuff to question their company motives?
      How about Fortis GHG emissions, maybe 15 million tons per year, and Fortis CEO telling Ball to go slow on carbon taxes? More tin-foil hat stuff?
      PF

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    5. In Britain now, we have many large corporations owners, who encouraged Brexit, who now fear the impact on their business if this happens. So they are moving their headquarters outside already, so to have the advantage of the EU. Sleeveens, leaving the average Joe to suffer the consequences.
      Today we have the 3 Nfld Industrial customers wanting guarantees for rate mitigation for them, or generate their own power or leave.
      So too Fortis too could up and leave, as now only 5 % is from Nfld operations. Do they owe Nflder who are not shareholders but paid their bills for 100 years?
      PF

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    6. PF @ 16:03:

      MF HVdc transmission assets provide nothing to NL Power that I can see - island transmission is HVac and the majority of the transmission is in non-NL Power serviced areas. As I said before, I would advocate against NL Power taking on any more of NL Hydro assets - not profitable.

      NL Power / Fortis via SM did say they weren't interested in MF and why:
      https://www.thetelegram.com/business/fortis-passed-on-lower-churchill-132870/

      The rest of what you are getting on with is tin-foil hat stuff.

      PENG2

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    7. Let's see, Peng2
      1.Liberty suggests maybe Nfld power could take over Nfld Hydro's rural distribution,as more efficent and some savings. Nfld power already does 90% of the province, so this then another 10 % so this 100%. You disagree with that, seeing it not profitable, correct?
      2. I say Nfld Power could take over all Nfl Hydro: both transmission up to 230 kv, you disagree as not being profitable?
      3 I suggest Nfld power could take over most or all hydro generation assets. You disagree as not profitable?
      4 I suggest Nfld Power could take over thermal generation. You disagree?
      5. I suggest Nfld Power could develop island small hydro. You disagree?
      6. I suggest Nfld Power could develop wind energy. You disagree?
      7 I say Nfldrs with significant holdings of Fortis and making decisions on public power assets are in a conflict of interest. you disagree?
      8.I agree with WA that Nfld Power failed in our CDM program. You disagree?
      9.I say Fortis has very GHG emission,about 15 million tons per year, most all from outside Nfld,but should be reduced. you disagree?
      10. I say Fortis said to Ball, go slow on carbon tax . You disagree?
      11. I say Nfld Power could and should have been more public as to their knowledge of the boondoggle risk. You disagree?
      12. I say Fortis / Nfld Power shareholders should aid non shareholders with mitigation of higher power costs, especially for low income customers. You disagree?
      PF

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    8. PF @ 20:27:

      1-6: sure, but only if can be shown as profitable to NL Power; otherwise generation/transmission is an issue for NL Hydro. Currently the problem is our power supply system how it is ineffectively regulated, so difficult to earn profit since the true costs of providing power to more remote areas cannot be charged to customers
      7: NL Powers assets are private in the same was the Bell Aliant / Rogers plants are, distinctly different situation than the public NL Hydro assets. Just what are Fortis shareholders (or any other company shareholders for that matter) in conflict of?
      8: review previous comments I have made(ie I have already said NL Power CDM was a failure), however I also said NL Power shouldn’t have been involved in CDM in the first place since it was the regulators task; try and keep up
      9: why does this involve us at all?
      10: not sure what this has to do with the current conservation?
      11: NL Power publicly said they didn’t want to be involved in MF (see link I provided above) and even predicted too much politics, they owed nothing more to rate payers
      12: why? I subsidized low income enough through my taxes already and I don't cause higher power rates

      The issue isn’t Fortis profits – in 2017 NL Power profit was about $40M, that’s about $175/customer annually for profit while the nearly all the rest of your power bill was generation costs to NL Hydro. I don’t understand the argument that any private company needs to operate for the good of the people – private companies work on profits, disconnect from the grid (or move to a area where NL Hydro distributes to) if you don’t like 6.5% profit to NL Power.

      PENG2

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    9. Peng2
      1-6: Nfld Power is more efficiently run that Nfld Hydro. They do not let essential assets go with lack of maintainence. All prudent costs are part of the business, approved by the PUB, and a suitable profit is approved. If all assets 1-6 are deemed profitable by Nfld Power, and permitted to operate , then there is no issue with this? This could be more cost effective for the customers even, you agree? For remote areas too, formulas can be worked that allows Nfld Power to profit, can it not?
      7. Most Fortis shareholders are not in conflict, being either either minor positions, but more important , not is a position that determines ruling favourable to the power company. This is common sense is it not?
      8.I do try and keep up. Yes, you said Nfld Power CDM was a failure, and they shouldn't have been involved. But seems they very much wanted to be involved, and 90 % responsible . They wanted a very limited, and promoted a ineffective CDM program. Correct?
      9. GHG from wherever is a problem. The USA regualor forces Forrtis to publish them, and they are even noted as tons per Fortis employee. Holyrood GHG pass through Nfld Power. If Nfld Hydro developed island small hydro and wind to offset Holyrood, their GHG tons would lower, and be good. Do you agree?
      10. This connected to item 9, you agree?
      11. I think they owed more to ratepayers; a 12.7 billion boondoggle, they may not have stopped it, but could have done more. If rates double there will be many fewer ratepayers, and Nfld POwer suffers too. Do you agree?
      12 We all subsidise through our taxes. We all don't profit from power sales. In private business it is common to give a customer a break at times of particular difficulty, and builds good will and trust for the long run. Less common if there is no competition, but still it can be done. You ask why. I ask : Why not?
      PF

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    10. Item 9 should read: If Nfld Power developed island small hydro and wind
      PF

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    11. Peng2, when you clarify your views on the above, what do you think of Peter Alteen's comments at the Rotary yesterday?
      PF

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    12. PF @ 22:23:

      1-6: I have no idea if a suitable arrangement could be worked out, engineering gut tells me no
      7: I’d be very surprised if there is a Fortis holder in the province that could determine a ruling positive to Fortis and have significant holdings of Fortis – even the 6% SM holds is considered minor in most conflict of interest clauses. Further to that, I am not sure how you make the connection that someone at Nalcor or another Gov ABC could positively affect NL Power in an unethical manner?
      8: as a comparison point, what was the effect of NL Hydro’s CDM in their servicing areas (ie Labrador, GNP etc)? I will say again, CDM, efficiency etc should have been left to the policy makers and regulators – not a private entity
      9 – 10: I have said many times efficient living and practicing sustaining living are important – the issue becomes how to implement
      11: I don’t think they owed anything to rate payers – I would have preferred they had said nothing. Interesting is a PUB submission document ’14-MC-2012-02-27’, it makes reference to NL Power wanting nothing to do with MF and summarizes local media articles regarding MF in 2011/2012
      12: NL Power operates in a regulate business – profit is capped at 6.5%, that’s a small, inconsequential margin and smaller than any other business. The PUB via regulation takes responsibility for the ‘good-will’ and ‘pricing flexibility’ options onto the regulator and away from NL Power– if unregulated and profits it might be different, but that would cost consumers in higher day-day profits.

      I did see PA at the rotary – he defined what was and wasn’t NL Powers position in the game. Most notably was he said they ‘…couldn’t have much of a say in how or what…’ – that echo’s comments from pre-sanction, NL Power wasn’t getting involved because they believed corporately that politics, infrastructure and the Fortis principles couldn’t work together.

      To tie this together, you need to understand just how NL Power earns profit – it is based on costs of operations, so the increases to consumer retail pricing don’t necessary reflect in increased profits. Considering this, I don't think retail pricing affects profit; I also think that a 10-20% rise or drop in sales would have a minimal affect profit - beyond 20% 'elastic impact' I would say there could be some increasing impacts to operations costs.

      PENG2

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  4. Off-topic here, but what a dope, what an absolute dope.

    Bad enough that this bloody idiot insulted the intelligence of every thinking, rational NLer with his ridiculous explanation for blatantly ensconcing the unqualified daughter of Judy Foote in a plum patronage appointment... now he's turned the latest NL tourism ads into haute couture farce with his hideous, fremdschämen-inducing flop of a performance.

    This bloody Mitchelmore... what a colossal DOPE!

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/mitchelmore-video-miss-1.4990783

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    1. I saw a few seconds of it and cringed. fremdschämen indeed. I figured I'd watch it later when I was mentally prepared. So here goes ...

      too late. I looks like I was spared, it seems to have be scrubbed from the internet.

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  5. Seems we have gone full cycle. For the first 5 years of muskrat, dissenters, naysayers, and vocals against muskrat we scorned, voice quelched, shunned and threatened with law suits. You were labeled as traitors if you spoke out or did not fully support nalcor and govt. KD candidate that came to my door and implied I was a traitor if I did not give my electricity money to my own company nalcor, and hence my vote, rather than big oil to keep Holyrood going. They scared, scorned, and minulated the public to support muskrat. Then govt. changed, which should have offered an alternative, and a lot of us taught that's what it meant, to shut down muskrat, or at least pause and evaluate and make the right decision, on the power house and the transmission line. Ball failed us and went full speed ahead, finish strong after changing the lead horse. I said then with that decision he now owns muskrat lock, stock and barrow. So now they use similar tactics as the previous govt., to quelch the voices of the people including the judge as UG has described. So are we to believe that the more information that is given the people by the inquiry the more cash it is going to cost us? Seems this is the line that nalcor and Ball are towing. But even by doing this does not in any way lessen or nullify the tactics by the former govt. or nalcor in bamboozling the people in voting and supporting nalcor and muskrat. They were the orgionaly traitors, and now do we have that continuation using different but similar tactics??? Give it up for Christ sake says Joe blow. If it cost us a few more buck so what, don't be so dam penny wise and pound foolish.

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  6. it would seem to me the Liberty report recommending management lay offs and restructuring at Nalcor should cause them greater concern that the competent will flee.

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  7. Also, and further to my 2014 Tele article, interested readers can also go to http://www.vision2041.com/fixed-link.html and scroll down to the FULL SIZE info-graphic posted there.

    That option was put forth BEFORE sanction and posted on my website in 2012.

    Neither the PC nor Liberal parties have acted in the best interest of the province. Is the Liberal government now about to 'sell the shop' in order to get a few extra million out of the Atlantic Accord?

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    1. Maurice it was left to you and as this post demonstrates, UG to do the analysis, map the incongruities, and assign some blame for the debacle.

      Without that analysis the rate/taxpayer would still be in the dark. The problem is of course that both the government(s) and Nalcor want to avoid blame and look for dupes.

      The impotent inquiry fills the bill. It gives the appearance of an investigation but has a mandate that forbids it from assigning blame. In its impotence the Inquiry makes he perfect dupe.

      In the meantime the assault on the treasury continues with no controls.

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    2. I see the inquiry and government's rate mitigation talking points as little more than tactics designed to help get the current ruling party through the next election. They do not constitute a strategy to get us out of this mess.

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    3. But, but it doesn’t matter if we are in the dark or in the know, we are screwed.

      And, still no constructive ideas on what to do!

      I am rotted.

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  8. Ah yes but wasn't it that Nalcor was 'a runaway train, a fiefdom onto itself and a classic case of the tail wagging the dog'. This drunken sailor project spending started at the gooveners poob or did it start before that even?
    The government changed and Stan came in and saw the big picture, and that the train was on the wrong side of the track. He decided to keep the same failing world class project managers, some not even in the loop, and the same failing contractors, paid one of them 600+ million more, split the train in two down the middle of the rails and tried to get her back on track but failed miserably. $12.7 million and counting, could it cost $15 billion and will the quick marine clay under the North Spur hold? The biggest question remains though, how will taxpayers/ratepayers of this province pay for this LEAST cost power and the province honor its obligations to financiers, and to another province??

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    1. Right on John but didn't one also know and testify that the estimates were low-balled?

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  9. I'm with Ches on this;

    https://www.thetelegram.com/business/why-negotiate-atlantic-accord-in-private-crosbie-asks-278327/

    Dwight has read "The art of the Deal". Is Seamus cutting the Indigenous in on the "Deal"?

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    1. Robert @ 11:43:

      Id say food for thought is that 5 of the current sitting 7 PCs members voted in 2012 for MF.

      I am not political, but I don't forget and I don't accept the 'we didn't know' BS the PCs have since offered - Lane also has a debt here.

      PENG2

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    2. In fairness to the MHAs who voted for the sanction, weren't they targeted by those hit squads in the house of assembly, organized by the Nalcor propaganda machine?

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    3. Do these poor devils not know what critical thinking is? Where were they schooled? Is this the best NL has to offer for re-election?

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    4. It was MHAs like Paul Lane and other MHAs of the KD that were part of the "hit squad" to hit or nullify the Opposition side of the House in opposing muskrat, not the government side. So think you have a misunderstanding of nalcor and the PC party in terms of the hit squad @ 14:35. They were in cahoots in sanction of muskrat.

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    5. All of the Opposition parties voted against muskrat sanction..

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    6. The Official Opposition went through the motions, and Ball supported the deception that we needed the power. I recall one time in the House he drooled at having all that fake money coming in to government when the Liberals would take over government.

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    7. Forward looking based on if PCs win the upcoming election:
      1) if the 5 current PCs that supported MF in 2012 get reelected
      2) PL gets reelected and rejoins the PCs

      then ~20% of the incoming government will have voted for MF in the 2012 HoA debates.

      Sad and I don't have a solution. But this is very sad to consider - I think this says more about the voting public than the quality of people we elect, especially considering the new PC leader has attempted class-action against the government on more than 1 occasion....

      PENG2

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    8. Did hear Ches say we were brutal, our treatment of Beothics, and Ball uncaring, on NTV.
      Never saw the full clip, but suggest Crosbie may be brutally honest, on that subject, and Ball a joker?
      As to the remains, if sent back from where they were taken, Red Indian Lake, is that now under water, and so helped give us our 3 cent cost heritage hydro power. First we wanted the cod fish, then the salmon, then the seals, and shore birds, then the caribou, and the fur animals, then the minerals, then at last the value of the rain and snow that fell for electricity. What did we give back? When only a handfull left,after 300 years being shot at and killed and deprived of resources to survive, 100 pound currency value of goods, our governor sent as a futile peace offering. Make no wonder Cormack sent their sculls to Scotland, and documented their final days.
      Brutal, yes. if Ches said that he got it right. Genocide was it not? How can this be the same people as inspired Come From Away show, who are kind to strangers?
      Winston

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    9. WA @ 16:45:

      Agreed - it was genocide, however the romantic version is preferred by most of NL with rose-colour glasses in nearly all of our history.

      PENG2

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    10. Does anybody know anything about Paul Dinn (I am not from the area)?

      PENG2

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  10. The Bills are mounting, The project becoming more expensive with every passing day and Quebec sits patiently waiting for the motor to run out of gas, to swoop in with it's Fat Equalization bank account and walk away with another Churchill Falls deal. And the Politicians Justify, it was the Best Deal they could get at the time to get the Province out of Debt and save the people from financial ruin...

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    1. No this time it is the Emera vultures circling overhead waiting for the corpse of Nalcor starting to stink. As well as the cheap and free energy they own part of the distribution system too. They have already taken a piece of the Nalcor pie

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  11. Well three up and 3 down for ball on just over 3 years for by elections. If that is any indication, whether the election comes in the spring, fall or next spring, his premiership may be that of a one them premier. Chess and his best will become the next premier, and only the second premier from the townie elite as some might say. We have been focusing on ball et el plan for rate mitigation, and the provincial plan in general. We have some insight into his plan, but short on details. But he calls it the way forward, and guess with his talks regarding the Atlantic Accord, gives some idea of that might help rate mitigation, but not sure what we will have to give up in the accord. This is under the Justin govt. and the elected 7 tiny MPs from this province, on Justin's side including Shamus. With the number of seats reduced in the legislature it gives a greater chance of a minority govt. if the Third party wins any number of seats, or will Chess get a majority. Any chance of chess and his best winning, now we need to know his plan before the election, and not simply attacking ball et al. Will he produce any framework for a plan or just say wait till I get in and see the books. Think we have heard that one before. Guess most of us have short memories or in some cases no memories at all. On reflection, seems we might want to return the party that got us in this mess in the beginning, and from a casual observation, it might not be a bad idea. Let those who got us in over our heads now have the pleasure of getting us out. And of course as I have said before, ball et al by not shutting down muskrat, or pausing to get a handle on it, owned it lock stock, and barrel. He owned it mainly through default, not through his action to cause it. So guess interesting and unknown times may be ahead says Joe blow.

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  12. Two days in a row, we have announcements on energy efficency for Nfld households.
    Ball is in the panic mode from climate change, by the size of the program announced today; 800 houses for grants up to 5000 dollars, so a total of 4 million, and includes switching from oil or propane or wood, to boast power sales ( and increase our winter peak demand , unless offset). The release says over the next 4 years up to 1600 homes for retrofit, so this suggest 400 a year , not 800. It says the homes can then save 600 dollars a year on energy, so 400 house equals a total of 240,000 dollars a year saved. This is across the province total saving, and restricted to low income families. How does that compare with 20 fat cat lawyers at the Inquiry, some making much more than this for sitting on their arse and not a question to ask. 400 or 800 house is well less than 1 % of our housing stock. The govn release says it shows "we are listening to peoples concerns". The program is 90 million over 4 years, so 22.5 million a year, and so little going to the residential needs, so residents are getting a small cut of that pie.
    Overall, a drop in the bucket. In 2011 Nova Scotia had 20,000 minisplit heat pump installed that one year alone. 7 politicians got in on the photo op for this insult to the public. Climate change is real , Ball said, and Seamus echoed his words.
    In Europe tens of thousands of school children are marching to bring attention to the risk of climate change. Some scientists and business leaders are almost to the point of panic, that so little is being done. Here , we have The Way Forward: A hand full of households may get a little assistance. Very little. 6 of the 7 politicians have a big grin. Wonder why. This is going to fight climate change in a big way, for sure.
    Winston Adams

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  13. Is Nfld Power feeling the heat? Certainly their customers are not feeling Cold Cimate HP heat, from their misleading Take Charge ads ( they don't promote the good Cold Climate models for residential use)
    This week their CEO Peter Alteen made a speech at the Corner Brook Rotary. His key message
    We have to think differently about using electricity to counter the impact from Muskrat Falls.
    That we need to have a balance between consumption and energy efficiency: on the one hand here's ways to save money and use less electricity heating your home (Hint, efficient heat pumps);on the other hand here's an incentive in an electric car, and use more electricity to help balance out the cost of payment (of Muskrat Falls).
    Note that he did not say "here's an incentive for your heat pump heating your home. Heat pumps reduce energy use while electric cars increase it. Is he out to help the homeowner or the power company, or both?
    In NS and most jurisdictions incentives for HPs for home heating has been around for over a decade, Here, never.
    Incentives for car? In Quebec it is 8000.00. In Ontario it is 14,000.00
    Now if you burn wood or oil or propane, they may give an incentive for a HP to get you to switch. If you already use electric heat, an incentive seems doubtful. Although they should, and here's why; to reduce winter peak load, cold climate models significantly reduce winter peak demand, and this can permit electric charging of cars without an overall increase in the power grid peak.
    So yes, to balance is key. But it appears they expect homeowners on their own to dish out for heatpumps. Alteen is most interested in power company revenue and profit, the customer heating bill, not so much. A scallywag is a scallywag, after all. They're very sneaky. And the media, who gets advertising revenue,( 5 million is skimmed from our power bills by Nfld Power each year for Take Charge) just happened to be there for Peter's speech.
    When does Ball announce incentives for electric cars?
    Winston Adams

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    1. Ask the new elected Liberal boy Dinn. What did he get elected on? Let's face it, despite all the red ink, our fellow NLers, like big houses, (Poorly built), around the Bay, SUV's driving 100+KM per day, red meat diet, no exercise, ATV recreation, multi device internet. It's all about me lifestyle bye. Respects to Ron Pumphrey, "Hello me lovelies"

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    2. WA @ 13:39:

      https://evobsession.com/10-electric-cars-range-new/

      If we exclude the 3 Teslas at the top of the list - we are left with 1 EV that can reliably make the 200km journey from St John's to Clarenville according to this December 2017 list. Is this accurate - if so, I think EV has a way to go before being feasible in NL. Can an EV even be charged in say Port Blandford, or Howley?

      PENG2

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    3. Yep, what another farce, to sell muskrat power to run our electric cars. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon. How many electric cars are on the island now, maybe a couple hundred, I have no idea. If so owned by the rich or famous, not the average Jane or Joe. How much do one of these animals cost? Don't think it is in my price range as long as gas is on the low side of $1.20. Just to repeat myself again, when KD candidate, trying to sell me electric power from my own company nalcor, I told him where to go. So when the next candidate frim either party comes to my door selling me the power again, and advises me to get rid of my gas guzzler out front, that I am just feeding the big oil companies, he or she will get a blast. So be forewarned. It ain't gonna happen. Too many hills to climb, distances too long, we will be the last place on earth to get them, yes even with free electricity fill ups, just to say we are consuming muskrat power, it still ain't gona happen. Well maybe petrol at $2.00 a litre, may have to think about it. With all other places opting for electric cars, gas may be going in the other direction. Every Joe blow must look after himself first, then maybe my own energy company, nalcor, is at the bottom of my list, and the buggers that have been promoting it as the best thing since sliced bread. When Trumpie and his 100 million followers starts doing something about global warming, I may fall in line. Cheers, average Joe.

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    4. Nissan Leaf= 243 km on a charge
      St john's to Clarenville =100 miles = 161 Km, so about 80 kw to spare. I expect in winter a 10 minute top up in Whitbourne a good idea, while having a coffee.
      30 min gives 145km
      Now 7000 charging station in Canada. MPG =122
      It allows selecting time of day charging if lower rates at certain times.
      So yes, I agree with Alteen, if MFs runs, or we get CFs power, go for it. Set the example, have meter readers go electic for the fleet. Get cracking with charging stations and incentives. Special incentives if your name is Joe.
      WA

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    5. Quebec aims for 100,000 EV by 2020, but only 24,000 so far. It aims for 30% EVs by 2030, now only about 2 % but climbing.
      They expect EVs will be cost competitive on purchase cost by 2024, at present, even with incentive , about 8 years to be cost effective. Once cost competitive by 2024, little incentive will be needed, so now a good time in Nfld to ramp up. Quebec Premier too says why have your money go for foreign oil when you can keep it in the province. Being stuck with MFs, it now makes sense.
      I had a deposit on a Tesla model 3 , but cancelled as they don't service here. Same I think with Leaf, but this may change, if sales pick up. Agree, need to make it affordable for AJ, maybe bigger incentive if low income? Or too , no HST, etc.
      Biggest benefit is GHG reductions from our transportation. And a better planet for our grandchildren.
      WA

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    6. Winston on your calculation for driving to Clarenville, how is that rated, all level ground, some hilly terrain, up hill down hill etc. For example think I could bicycle to Clarenville if totally all level, my heart rate would be ok... But not going to make it with some of those hills even with a 10 speed, and resting while going downhill, may have to apply my brakes, for a safe speed, so lost energy by friction. What does your Nissan Leaf say about that? Or what do the specks say, or maybe specks avoid saying. So what does common scense say. Cheers, average Joe. You say 10 minute top up in Whitbourne, how many stations so every passing vehicle can do a ten minute recharge. You may have a long coffee break. Assuming all electric vehicles would have to do that. But gas vehicles, maybe only a couple percentage of passing traffic stop there for gas.

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    7. Leaf had 24kwh battery in 2010 with 84 mile range
      This increased to 30kwh in 2016, 107 mile range
      Now 40kwh with 151 mile range , EPA
      Seems 60 kwh available soon.
      Leaf about 36,000.oo without incentive.
      I test drove one in Aug , and was impressed with handling and performance, compared to my old 2005 Prius hybrid which is still in good shape.My Jeep is up on blocks, little used.My 79 Corvette, in good shape but a gas gussler, I gave it away, and it was restored, and in storage.
      WA

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    8. Joe, I am cautious on new technology. My minisplit I installed myself, least something go wrong and I blame the contractor. It tool 6 months before I had full confidence the bugger was really good, no failure now for 8 years.
      Same with the Prius. It still has the original rear brake shoes, since 2005, I replaced the front pads 2 years ago, but only 125000kms.
      These EVs, as the Prius , has regenerative braking. it is also automatic, when going down steep hills, it puts charge back into the battery, So, used more up hill , but recovers some from gravity going down hill. But overall i would not expect to get the EPA rating. I looked for 60 mile range to get me to Spaniards Bay area from Logy Bay, so figure 100 mile range would do. No with 151 EPA, I get likely get there and back in summer, but just need to get there. Clarenville range seems likely ok. Maybe someone with that range can say their experience. Average commute by most people is 40 km per day, but have the odd longer trip.
      I would picture most stations having say 5 charging slots, depending on location and use. USA now have 50,000 charging, for Leaf, regular, and 3000 fast charging.
      Is is coming, and needs to come fast. I am surprised Bruno is now agreeing, but perhaps nothing is any good unless Tesla and Musk?
      Also in town , when slowing for a red light,or slowing for a turn, regenerative braking adds to battery charge,and little break pad use.
      Winston.

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    9. WA:

      So, for what market are EV viable? For reliability - Id say a wash with tradition cars - same manufacturers, and realistically they are all making junk.

      For me, I just cant see a 150mile range being serviceable - or if I made the swap for short runs, I would still have to keep a gasser on standby.

      Id agree with reducing GHG as a benefit, but are EVs an option for most of us yet? I cant see myself making a trip across the province and stopping 3-4 times at 30mins each.

      FYI, you underestimated the St Johns - Clarenville run, closer to 125miles, Goobies is just about 100miles. To that effect, is EV realistic for folks on the Boot, BDSp or the GNP (I think we can rule out Labrador easily)?

      PENG2

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    10. Nfld Power"s Alteen says " we are going to have to think a little different, the way electricity is thought about and consumed"
      HELLOOOOOOO, Peter.
      Who is the WE?
      NS gave incentives for Minisplits since 2008, and has a great CDM program. They are on average 300 % efficient.In spring and fall as much as 500%. You keep promoting baseboard heat. Your own survey showed only 5 % of those in Nfld installing them,, learned about them form Nfld Power! Asleep at the wheel, Nfld Power? And too programmable thermostat farce, driving up peak loads. And too LED lights, TVs etc, not saving energy , but robbing Peter to pay Paul, causing baseboard heaters to stay on longer. Or robbing Average Joe to pay Peter?
      So, who needs to think differently? The customer is ahead of the power companies as to what works and what does not. Ask for forgiveness, and promise to do better.
      You say you are not to point finders at to the boondoggle, but that 22 or 23 cent rates is not rational, that this kind of economics that is out there, is ELEMENTARY, no one will use the power if rates re too high.
      More than 10 % increase per year is SHOCK rates. MFs, we were told to expect 16 cent rates, a 60 % increase. So Wade Locke did not understand elementary economics? Why not say that in 2012? So, yes you are pointing fingers. Stan Marshall dismissed David Vardy as to the elasticity effect on driving down consumption. So Stan did not understand elementary economics? Average Joe understands it.
      Now you are committed to working constructively towards solutions!
      If only you did more for alternatives to avoid the boondoggle.
      The telegram reports you saying ""we couldn't have much to say in how or what they were building at Muskrat Falls" I heard you say "We couldn't or didn't have much to say......
      This suggests you could have had more to say, but chose not to.
      The pubic too had little to say. Time the public had more to say, and not just put faith in the power companies. The power companies have failed us. We should not have blind trust in any power company, that should be The Way Forward.
      Winston Adams

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    11. My error PENG2, my mind was locked in to the distance from Bushop's Cove , my home town, to Clarenville,as 100 miles.
      So 125 miles is 83 % of the 151 EPA rating, and may be ok in summer, but not winter, without a recharge enroute.
      We have an ageing population, and I suggest not that many make frequent trips of long distance. Many have 2 vehicles. I read that many buy EVs as a secondary vehicle , but find they are then the primary vehicle.
      Job to outdo the energy in fossil fuel. But higher carbon tax will make many reconsider. Bring it on , I say, as long as the tax is largely fed back to the people, not the polluters.
      WA

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  14. Synapse, page 21, says "The underlying forecast methodology is essentially econometrically and trend based. Presently, there is insufficient information to identify more precisely the end-use components of the load or the effects of various drivers."
    UG readers and Inquiry watchers may recall the lawyers and Leblanc , and Nalcor lawyer Simmons too, all befuddled by apparent complexity of forecasting methods,poorly explained by the Nfld Hydro engineer, who saw no benefit of using "end-use" models.
    If one Goggles Vision 2041, under the heading EFFICIENCY, you can see Maurice's chart of his savings over a 12 month period with a minisplit , that partially heated his house, (about 65% coverage ).
    Maurice may not have appreciated that he what he did, and published, was in fact, END-USE data, by comparing power use form his monthly bills before and after his installation. End-use is how electricity is used at the end of the customer line, whether by a toaster, a TV, or a baseboard heater or minisplit. Minor uses are not important, but large end-uses, such as heaters in Nfld, are important.
    At the inquiry, end-use methods was indicated to be more complex than rocket science, so no deep dive by the Inquiry, why it was ignored by Stratton.
    Now we see Synapse say we have little information about end-use drivers and it's impact on forecasting. One can see that Maurice's data is a rather simple calculation, yet important for forecasting power reductions to be expected from such technology. So why is Synapse lacking information for Phase 2 to assess this?
    Granted, his chart is a monthly result and not the 10 second precise monitoring that shows a more detail hourly or daily effect on the grid peak demand. But it shows what can be expected on energy reduction, but less precise on peak load reduction.
    The point being, if an interested citizen can on his own do an END-USE method for the main driver, electric heat, why did our power engineers not do this sort of thing for Muskrat forecasting? With disruptive technology that gives 300% or more efficiency for heating, end-sue approach was critically important.
    Any surprise that Nalcor's forecasts are way off? And will Synapse be any more accurate, if ignoring end-use methods?
    Winston Adams

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    1. Synapse on page 22 says NLH's forecast shows a slight decline for energy from 2018 to 2024 ,of -0.3 % per year, but then increased 0.7 % per year thereafter, based on econometric models.
      But Synapse says this upturn is unlikely to happen since: recent NP sales have been flat; the recent forecast form NP predicts a sales decline of 0.24 % per year; NP customers are already switching to heat pumps and other conservation methods in anticipation of price increases; customer prices will continue to rise through 2030, and a modest economic upturn is insufficient to generate the forecasted sales increase.
      Synapse then goes on to say that their energy forecast declines at an annual rate of -0.4 % over the forecast period , but the peak load increases by 0.2 % over the same period , due to an expected increase in the electric space heat fraction. They explain this by saying " although the expansion of heat pump usage is expected to reduce energy demand, their effect on the peak is less certain".
      Why is this? If HPs have a COP in the range of 2.5 to 3.0 with cold climate models, the peak demand reduction should not be less certain, but highly certain. Unless..... unreasonable assumptions are made!. ICF, likely on the direction of Nfld Power and Nfld Hydro, in 2015, assumed that ALL minisplit HPs would shut down in our climate. This is a false and unreasonable assumption, and seems that Synapse may adapt this same false assumption.
      Such an assumption permits missing a potential of almost 400 MW of reduction if all residences used these systems. It also neglects the possibility of even greater demand reduction if more convert to wood or oil or propane, as suggested by Planet NL.
      Prudent power system operations is to keep the ratio of winter peak to summer peak as close to 1 as possible. Our ratio is about 2.5 to 1, due to baseboard heat. Nalcor's intent to grow baseboard heat demand for a justification for MFs was reckless. Their assumption of increased demand even now, with significant uptake of HPs is likewise reckless in terms of forecasting. One way for that to happen is to not encourage cold climate models, that is suitable for our climate. Past time that Take Charge be honest, and Nfld Power acknowledge this assumption as unreasonable, or get out of the kitchen, and suggest another agency be responsible for CDM, as PENG2 suggests.
      Winston Adams

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    2. Synapse, page 35 , suggests the electricfication measures ( mainly EVs, but also getting oil and wood heated houses on electric) ) can add a max of 340 million a year revenue (rather optimistic on EV uptake)
      With that and CDM , is suggests energy sales from 8640 GWH in 2018 to 8256 in 2030. And peak demand from 1681 to 1707.
      They propose CDM saving by 2030 at half the potential.
      For residential they break CDM to ordinary type max at 369 and HPs at 209 for total of 577 Gwh. This seems low for HPs, and suggesting regular measures almost twice that of Hps, which is unlikely, and residents will go first for HPs.
      Also page 50 they say phase 2 they will investigate peak demand factor for HPs,and value of incentives .....hope they do better than Nfld Power study which they admitted was of little value.
      So, that the "Mitigation Plan" to keep demand from nosediving. Ball's first big measure: upgrade 400 house per year with 5000 dollar grants, like pissing in the wind, as to impact on the grid and savings to residents.
      WA

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    3. Good work Winston, you are digesting the Synapse report line by line. That's what needs to be done, but I would think few are doing that, probably doing a skim overview like myself. Maybe someone in the PUB is, or are they not, certainly not the brave fearless media. How about the dozen or so highly paid lawyers of the inquiry, I doubt that as well, maybe the concerned citizen and consumer advocate, are giving it a good run through, but most of the others are trying to bury it as more hogwash. And the same with the liberty report. So will the final reports be of any real value, if inaccurate, wild expectations, and assumptions are not challenged. I suspect of little value to the consumer, and a crutch for the power companies to just lead us down the garden path again. Tks, average Joe.

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    4. At present we spend about 5 million a year on CDM (compared to NS spending about 40 million)
      Synapse looks for NL to spend in a range from a low of 13 to a high of 38 million.If 38 million that is 8 times more than present.Of course this is what should have happened as part of the Isolated option to avoid MFs
      If Nfld hydro and Nfld Power failed, (which they did), in our prior CDM, should they now handle a CDM program going forward?Funding comes from surcharges on our power bills, so should we trust them with OUR money that they spend it wisely? Will we get better than using 3 sweaters, or using clothes lines, or plastic on windows, and our money going for silly useless ads in the media?
      Most places, like NS, they have independent Energy Efficiency corp , required to verify CDM savings. Will we have ENL, Efficiency NL? Power companies handling efficiency and conservation is considered conflict of interest. That helps explain why our CDM here failed, with Nfld being second worse in all of Canada.
      CDM must now be a balance as Peter Alteen says, least power use drop too much. But who makes the rules for attaining the balance? Does Nfld Power primarily make the rules and select the measures as in the past? Or they leave that to others? For sure they want their say, and the last word, to protect shareholders.
      Does PENG2 really believe they should and will entirely leave it to others? They will seek to control it, I think.
      Winston Adams

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    5. Synapse says, page 2, "electrification is likely to offer the greatest opportunity to increase revenues to support electric sector revenue requirements associated with MFs. It will also help reduce oil consumption, reduce total energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions"
      I would reverse all of these in importance, putting reduction of GHG emissions as most important, and the others are of benefit.
      If one goes to the Vision 2041 blog, and look under the Holyrood heading, we see Maurice's graphics and commentary showing this:
      As to our total GHG emissions:
      Electricity Generation is only 8 %
      The residential component of that is only 4 %
      Large Industry is 42 %
      Transportation is 31 %
      We can see what a farce it was to promote MFs as important to reducing GHG at Holyrood (it does nothing for the isolated diesel communities ). Yet Kennedy in particular touted the 18,000 bls of oil being burned per day at Holyrood at peak loads. Yet generation is only 8 % of total.
      Transportation being at 31 %, and cars and light trucks being a large part of that, we can see that this sector is much more important for reducing GHG than Holyood was.
      To use MFs or CFs energy, or even wind energy to reduce our transportation component of GHG is a very significant and worthwhile goal, that "electrification" can help achieve. It can be many times more important than the reduced oil burning at Holyrood. With both, it puts on unto a greener path.
      Our next Premier should set an example and drive an EV. Ball could mothball his Audi, but have a red EV, showing The Way Forward.
      Which party leader will be the first on that bandwagon?
      Roosevelt promoted electrification in the USA in the 1930s, and it seems an old concept now, but for transportation, it is actually forward looking and essential, as Synapse suggests. Quebec is leading in Canada on this. We should follow their example.

      Winston

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    6. Those with means will usually insist on their entitlements, until the last drop of fossil fuel has been burnt up, one way or the other. Governments are usually financed and voted by this minority. Don't expect much from Dwight or Ches in this matter. Tend to your neighbourhood, and your family and friends. We all can bring about a better Society. Decolonize, as the Indigenous have asked, repeatedly. Protect the land.

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    7. Synapse page 2 says " rate design and policy guidance will be critical to avoid straining peak periods requirements in extreme weather periods", and "CDM efforts are critical as a peak load reduction and a source of winter energy saving" and "air source HPs offer a large opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce customer energy bills" and " opportunities that primarily reduce peak demand will have much higher value that those that reduce energy alone"
      This is common sense stuff for proper power management of flattening the winter grid peak, and would seem to suggest minisplits as very high value. Except for the caveat of do they actually keep running at cold temperatures, and if so , at high COP? My monitoring shows the answer is yes , and yes, with COP of 2.7 @ -17C.
      This suggests for the island a potential peak demand reduction of almost 400 MW for residential, and 600 MW overall.
      Yet synapse shows a peak demand staying around 1700 MW!
      If you read between the lines, it implies taking little advantage of this high value measure to rein in our winter peak demand.
      The gigantic energy savings for customers would just impair revenue and shareholder dividends. If you want the peak demand savings you also get the energy savings with cold climate models. For shareholder interests, don't promote the cold climate models, as Nfld Power's policy is at present.
      This expalins Synapse's projection of peak loads remaining at about 1700 MW, instead of many hundreds of MW lower. Expect more of the same shareholder first attitude. The scale BALANCE will have Peter Alteen's finger on one side, I suspect.
      Winston

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    8. I should note: Synapse says the measures would save about 340 million on fuel, but only 100 million in more revenue for electricity sales. This would be a help but take years to achieve even that, so a small amount of solving the problem of the boondoggle. The 340 million is more significant, and reflects savings and lower costs of electricity than gas for vehicles.But EVs would need incentives for 5-10 years until their costs drop further.
      To think, if only we could roll back the clock. Not easy to undo the damage of Ed Martin, DWs and gang.
      This Synapse can only make a dent, but better than nothing. Peter Alteen says to the Rotary boys "I can assure you, give it a year or two, and a lot of the uncertainty , and a lot of the anxiety will be relieved"
      He must know more than what Synapse proposes, and should come out from under the cone of silence. He should let us in on the real big mitigation plan. Fortis to the rescue, I wonder?
      Winston

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  15. Bringing retired people as heads of Hydro & Nalcor on short term was perhaps OK, but it is now beyond short term and does not make any sense. I wonder what incentive they have to give their best?
    To me Nalcor as company has failed the Consumers of the Island, we have seen it's performance for Muskrat Falls, delayed schedule, double the cost etc, but the Project Team has not missed the Bonuses. Do we need Nalcor, I suggest we do not as we already have too many Energy companies, hydro Mf, LIL etc excluding Newfoundland Power.Old Hydro & NP are more than enough for our half million population

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    1. I read your letter to the editor in The Telegram Mr. Rana, and agree with you 100%. NL politicians are incapable of competently governing the province, one need only look at the greying of the province as its young people flee for lack of opportunities within the province. And the Nalcor monstrosity must be dismantled and its operating components privatized... it is demonstrably untrustworthy and an unaffordable burden on a fiscally-compromised province.

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