31 October 2012

Calculators #nlpoli

Nalcor’s new marketing website for Muskrat Falls includes a little feature that supposedly shows you what your electricity bill will be with and without Muskrat Falls.

Even though you will pay for Muskrat Falls until at least 2067, they only show the comparisons out to 2030 on the new calculator.

So try a monthly bill currently of $200.

According to Nalcor, your monthly electricity bill with the Marvellous Muskrat will be $268 in 2025.

In 2010, they gave an estimate out to 2040 using a bill that was $200 in 2017.  On that basis, your monthly bill in 2025 would be $208 in 2025.

That’s a huge difference.

But ya gotta wonder why they changed the way they presented the numbers.  It just makes an already confusing situation – for many people – all the more confusing.

Most people aren’t really worried about the costs that far out in the future. They are more concerned with more immediate costs, like say the impact on their taxes or money they’d rather spend on health care but will now have to devote to paying for an enormous dam up in Labrador.

All the same, looking at the comparison charts.  The monthly savings aren’t all that great.  Even in 2030,  you’d be saving less than $50 a month.  Nalcor’s total estimated savings over the 14 years between 2016 and 2030 is only $3811. 

That’s $272 a year, on average.  What’s everything else going to cost in 2025 or 2030 if oil is going to be at the sorts of prices Nalcor assumes?  Besides, on the front end of that period the costs are almost identical.  There’s no comparative advantage to switching until well into the future.

Maybe all that is a bit too esoteric for some people.

Just look at the numbers.  Some people are going to conclude  - likely incorrectly - that in a mere two years, the monthly cost for Muskrat Falls for the ordinary consumer appears to have jumped $60 a month.  Once someone gets that idea in their heads,  even if it is completely wrong those $50 a month in theoretical savings way off in the future are going to seem like what they are today:  nothing.