Friday, 10 January 2014


How angry are you with Nalcor over power problems that left most of the Province without electricity and several days of rolling blackouts? 

Well, at least one group of 5 people, apart from the Liberal Party, filed a formal complaint, on Thursday, asking the Board to investigate and hold public hearings.    

The five residents are: Brian Grant, Cabot Martin, Con O’Brien, John Parsons and Des Sullivan (your Uncle Gnarley scribe).

The group welcomes the decision of the PUB to proceed with both an inquiry and hearing under the Public Utilities Act, announced today.

This group's Complaint and those of others have been posted on the PUB Web Site.

In a Press Release, the group stated that it is vital for the PUB to be given powers under the Public Inquiries Act and not be constrained by the Public Utilities Act.  

For that reason, it believes more members of the public should also file  a formal Complaint and demand that the PUB not be thwarted in its investigation by Bill 29 or recent legislation permitting Nalcor to maintain a high level of secrecy in its commercial arrangements.

The group has launched a Face Book Page called  "thetruthaboutblackouts" which sets out the complaint process under Section 84 of the Public Utilities Act.  It provides a “Model Complaint” for the use by any group of 5 persons who wishes to lodge such a formal written complaint. 

By the Government’s own admission, up to 220,000 power customers have been denied power or have been subject to “rolling black-outs”.  People have suffered, schools and post-secondary institutions have been closed, the operations of vital industries such as the Come By Chance Refinery have been shut or curtailed.

“Virtually the entire customer base of Newfoundland Power was affected by the power black outs of the past week”, states the group, “and many experienced both personal and financial loss.  The public must be permitted to hear the evidence themselves and engage in the public hearing process.  This must be the first step in restoring public confidence in its power utility that has been badly shaken.”

The Letter of Complaint to the PUB includes 11 issues all of which, the five members believe, require investigation because they are critical to the safety, reliability and security of the electrical system now and in the future. 

“People should tell their stories of inconvenience and hardship.  We will help facilitate that process”, says the Group.

Under Section 84(2) of the Public Utilities Act once a complaint is made by five persons the PUB may conduct an investigation and may conduct public hearings as part of that process.

If you or any of your family suffered during these power back-outs or if you have information that can aid the PUB in its investigation of Nalcor’s equipment or management failures you should go to this Facebook address.  Given all that people have endured these past few days, they surely ought to record and tell their stories to an independent tribunal. 

With the Premier already devising the Government’s own inquiry which will include a review of the PUB itself, you need to be on guard.  The Premier warned that changes to the PUB might be coming when it refused to endorse the Muskrat Falls Project.  We can only wonder what retribution the Premier has in store for that Agency.

The PUB’s investigation may be your only opportunity for an independent review of the problems of our electrical system and the management of Nalcor.

The investigatory powers of the PUB should be unfettered in getting to the bottom of what has occurred.  I have a suspicion that a lot of elderly people, who suffered through this “crises” and many more, will thank you for caring enough to file that Complaint.

The only requirement is the signatures of five people.  The Facebook Page contains a "Kit" that will make the job very easy.

Let’s see if Nalcor can stand the scrutiny of independent investigation.

Let’s see if the Premier threatens to limit the PUB’s investigation.  

Don’t just be satisfied that the lights are on, for now!