16 June 2016

Making the best of a bad deal #nlpoli

Here's the short version of  the implications flowing from Nalcor's announcement on Wednesday:

1.  Continuing Muskrat Falls is a political decision already made by Dwight Ball despite the evidence. It's like Ball's inexplicable desire to keep Ed Martin despite the incontrovertible evidence that Martin had mismanaged Nalcor generally and Muskrat Falls specifically.

2.  That said,  Stan Marshall is at least making the best of a bad situation.

3.  The public utilities board's independent consultant recommended restoring NL Hydro's status as a company separated organizationally from Nalcor. Both Darknl and Muskrat Falls were either directly the result of or greatly facilitated by the management arrangement at Nalcor that ran through Martin and the common board.

4.  NL Hydro needs a board separate from the one at Nalcor.  The 2007 Hydro Corporation Act makes that possible.  Sound governance demands it.

5.  By splitting the Muskrat Falls project into two separate components,  Stan Marshall is setting up for a contingency that would involve scrapping or mothballing the powerhouse and continuing with the transmission infrastructure.

6.  All the serious cost problems and construction problems are in the powerhouse. Gil Bennett may have a shiny new title as an executive vice president but Stan Marshall has handed Bennett the shitty job he richly deserves of trying to salvage the shittiest part of a very shitty project.  Here's to Bennett continuing to shag up so that Marshall can bin the project.

7.  The transmission line to the island from Labrador would allow Hydro to import electricity from Churchill Falls in the near term or from other generation.  There is so much cheap electricity on the market that we'd be better off canning the powerhouse and leaving the unfinished hole in the ground as an a monument to Ed Martin and Danny Williams.

8.  Finishing the Labrador line also means Emera gets its cash from the partial privatization of the transmission system Danny Williams signed. It was funny on Wednesday watching Dipper boss Earle McCurdy give thanks that the government wasn't privatizing Hydro.  He and his party never understood the project so it's not surprising they have never picked up on the sweet deal Emera gets on electricity transmission in this province.