04 January 2012

Christmas Goodies #nlpoli #cdnpoli

A couple of provocative articles turned up online over the holidays.  Now that everyone is getting back into the work-a-day groove, check them out.

Energy consultant Tom Adams took a hard look at Muskrat Falls and gave it a failing grade.  Adams doesn’t limit his comments to the MF project alone.  He also takes a look at the current rate structure:

The prevailing electricity rate structure for service on the island also suggests that the government is not serious about seeking the lowest cost options for meeting the province’s energy needs. The sale of power during the winter is highly subsidized, with the financial losses recovered by overcharging the rest of the year. Although this rate design is normal utility practice in far too many jurisdictions, given the cost structure for the power sector on the island where two thirds of the power is supplied by hydro-electric facilities, this practice is particularly wasteful of public resources. It would be interesting to know how much potential energy from on-island hydro-electric facilities is spilled during the spring, summer and fall. The prevailing rate structure encourages electric heating, where the power to drive those electric heaters is derived from oil. Using the oil directly for heating would be about three times as efficient as using the oil indirectly through electricity. If the government was really serious about mitigating the high economic and environmental costs of oil-fired generation, why would such a wasteful pricing methodology be allowed to persist?

How much gets spilled, Tom?  Crap loads.  The island is also in a situation where huge amounts of hydro currently spill because of deficiencies in the interconnection  between the main part of the island and the bit where a goodly part of the population lives.

As for the pricing structure, that’s the result of a chronic lack of policy direction from the provincial government and weakened oversight by the regulator. It’s the same climate that spawned the Muskrat Falls monster. 

When you are done with that, take a look at the second biting online commentary by CBC’s John Furlong.  He’s the host of the Fisheries Broadcast and one of the most seasoned journalists in the province. That gives him an impressive background which, of course, is the polite way of saying “he’s seen it all and he doesn’t swallow the bullshit”.

An example:

The union might not like it, the people in Marystown might not like it, and the people in Port Union might not like it, but it's time to lay down the over-heated rhetoric, be in the vanguard of this change and do something constructive.

You can tell Furlong is hitting the target by the vicious personal attacks on him from the anonyturds in the comments section of the CBC website.  This is his second sharply worded opinion piece.  it really livens up the CBC website.  Here’s hoping they make more use of him.

- srbp -