10 September 2009

Hydro Quebec not an issue: Ed Martin

A few days before Danny Williams tried to blame Hydro-Quebec for delays and problems in the Lower Churchill project, NALCO chief executive Ed Martin was singing the same old song about what a great project he had and how any day now he’d be ready to start talking to prospective customers about a sale.

He’s been saying that for three years.

But here’s part of what you’ll find in the August 31 Toronto Star:

Martin doesn't see the Quebec issue as a major stumbling block, as regulation requires the province to allow access to its grid in return for a set tariff. Hydro Quebec and Nalcor are just working out the details.

That’s the exact opposite of the line Danny has been pushing for a week or so, now.

You can also notice in this piece that  - according to Martin - the project will be financed at least in part by oil revenues.  Some of those are flowing now from White Rose, but others won’t be along for the better part of the next decade.

Ed Martin is going to have to pull off some neat financial tricks if he plans to pay for a $10 to $14 billion project  Danny Williams said will be pushing power in 2015 when the cash Martin is counting on won’t start showing up at his front door until around 2020. 

But anyway…

Ed needs to talk to Danny or vice versa.  Basically these guys are on two completely different pages about this project. 

Then again, Danny and others seem to be on different pages quite a bit lately, including with himself over Hydro-Quebec and an ownership stake in the Lower Churchill.

Rest assured though, that as much as Danny Williams and his team appear to be all over the map, there is a piece of paper somewhere with the word plan written on the top of it.

At least that’s what he felt compelled to tell the local board of trade the other day after a local newspaper editor pointed out the decidedly errat…mercuri…caprici…ummm…errr… impulsive way the provincial government tends to be. 

Well, he said “slaphappy” too, but let’s use impulsive because it is a bit friendlier than most of the words that come to mind.