07 May 2013

Not the arse-end of the world … #nlpoli

energy price trendsCheck out the 2012 Hydro-Quebec annual report and you will find a lovely chart showing trends in energy prices in northeastern North America.

“After reaching a historic peak in 2008, natural gas and electricity prices in northeastern North America dropped sharply in 2009, then rose slightly in 2010 only to fall again, such that prices in 2012 were at their lowest in 10 years.” (page 11)

From an historic peak to the lowest prices in a decade a mere four years later.

If you look at the 2011 annual report you can see an interesting trend.  Hydro Quebec is selling slightly less electricity at home and more in the export market.  But when you look at the pricing in the export markets, they seem to be selling more and more to stay at the same income level.

Then look at Hydro-Quebec’s installed capacity and the number of plants in their system.  Yes, friends, it’s all getting larger.  Lots of generating capacity and very low prices don’t make for a really prosperous financial situation.

Now think about Muskrat Falls.  The only way the project works is because Nalcor and the provincial government plan to force that high-priced electricity on local taxpayers. Export customers  - if there are any - will get the benefit of electricity subsidized very heavily by the tens of thousands of people in Newfoundland and Labrador who earn less than $35,000 per before taxes.

Brilliant, right?

Well, put it this way:  taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador may not be in the financial arse-end of the universe yet, but by the time Muskrat Falls is finished, they will certainly be able to see it from here.