22 November 2012

It’s a Confidence Thing #nlpoli

The public utilities board is good.

The public utilities board is bad.

She said..

He said.

Confused aren’t you?

Well, there’s no surprise when Premier Kathy Dunderdale and natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy say two completely different things about the same PUB on the same issue.

Here’s what Jerome Kennedy told the Telegram in early November when the editorial board at the People’s Paper asked about a PUB review:

“I think my comments (on the PUB) have to be placed in the context of Muskrat Falls,” he said.

“We had spent ... nine months waiting for a decision (on whether or not the Lower Churchill plan was the least-cost option for power). There was an initial six-month time frame from the time that the reference question was provided them, and then they were given another three-month extension. It cost more than $2 million and then the result was not very helpful, to say the least.

“I went on to state that we had no intention of sending any of this material back to the PUB and that I didn’t have confidence in them in relation to Muskrat Falls,” he said.

Flip ahead a couple of weeks and here’s what Kathy Dunderdale said in the House of Assembly on November 21

Mr. Speaker, we did refer the question to the Public Utilities Board. The questions we asked: Do we need the power; is Muskrat Falls the least-cost alternative? Mr. Speaker, when the PUB produced its report it concurred with Nalcor – and it is in the executive summary right in the front so you might want to read it. It concurred with Nalcor and MHI that based on Decision Gate 2 numbers that we did need the power and indeed it was the least-cost alternative.

Confusing, isn’t it?

Now you can see why it is that 46% of people polled recently by NTV are dissatisfied with the way the provincial government has handled Muskrat Falls.

Notice something about the timing, though.  Jerome dismissed the PUB as a gang of incompetent shits because they did not do the job they were supposed to do.  he had no confidence in them.

Kathy Dunderdale suddenly loved up the PUB for agreeing on Muskrat falls the day after an NTV poll showed that 69% of the people they surveyed wanted a PUB review.  That isn’t an accident or a coincidence.

But it’s that constantly shifting position that Dunderdale and her crowd have taken on Muskrat Falls that has so relentlessly eroded public confidence in them.