Power stable, but conservation still important

James
James McLeod
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Schools reopening, Holyrood running, electricity crunch subsiding

Schools will reopen today, and unless something goes terribly wrong, the rolling blackouts are over.

Nalcor president and CEO Ed Martin (left) speaks to the media during a Wednesday afternoon briefing as Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Newfounland Power CEO and president Earl Ludlow look on. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Nalcor CEO Ed Martin was cautious in his language at a late-afternoon media briefing Wednesday, but he said that pending all the usual checks and reports, it seems like the province is out of the woods when it comes to the ongoing electricity problems.

“I’m confident we’re going to return to full system stability tonight overnight,” Martin told reporters.

Even as he spoke, pockets of Newfoundland were under rolling blackouts, seven days after electrical utilities had to start rationing electricity because of cold weather and broken power plants.

Martin said the Holyrood power plant is back online, with two units operating well and a third unit operating at 35 per cent capacity. That third unit will likely be up to full capacity later this month after workers install a fan motor.

Newfoundland Power CEO Earl Ludlow once again urged people to be careful, and conserve electricity where possible.

“Let’s not go out and turn everything on all of a sudden,” he said. “Conserve, conserve, conserve has been my line for a week, and we’ve got to keep it going.”

With schools reopening and the blackouts ending, attention turned to the fallout from the whole mess.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) called Nalcor and Newfoundland Power representatives to a closed-door meeting Wednesday afternoon to start investigating what happened.

“The meeting was very factual, more or less giving them the detailed information and sequence of events and getting them up to speed on everything that happened,” he said. “It was an exchange of data, the first step of the process.”

 

Meeting today

Premier Kathy Dunderdale said she doesn’t know what the investigation will entail, but that will be a discussion she’ll have this week.

“At the moment, we’re working through this piece to get the system up, fully functional and the people of the province secured, safe and having access to the energy they require,” she said. “We’ll have a sitdown (Thursday) and have a talk about what needs to be done. I have no issue at all with openness and accountability around this issue. We want to know what went wrong.”

In another sign that things were getting back to normal, Martin said Nalcor now has enough power to supply the Come By Chance refinery, one of the province’s biggest industrial power users. The refinery was shut down during the crisis due to electricity shortages.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Newfoundland Power, Public Utilities Board

Geographic location: Holyrood, Newfoundland, Chance

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Recent comments

  • Tina Olivero
    January 10, 2014 - 08:17

    Dear Kathy Dunderdale: Please consider these crisis leadership suggestions: 1. Stop defending inaction or action of our government/Nalcor. People don't trust you when you defend anything. Stop defending and embrace peoples concerns - that will work. 2. Take 100 percent responsibility for all results especially unforeseen ones like breakdowns in systems, weather and ability to rectify problems as they arise. 3. Apologize to all people impacted by the blackouts. This ensures people are understood and heard. 4. Get on with making sure you and your team does what ever it takes so that it never happens again. Take all concerns and challenges as opportunity for new solutions. 5. Allow the people to be a part of and a contribution to, solving the issues at hand. You may just find answers and solutions far more creative and sustainable than the ones you currently have. 6. Communicate with the people on progress and solutions. Do this daily and accurately until all is fully resolved. Doing so will mean power and confidence is restored. This is what people want and need to restore trust in our leadership. Your people must know you and your team are reliable, sincere and competent. This needs to be communicated. Failure to do this will result in a lack of trust in our provincial leadership and it will show up in the polls. Lets get with the people for the people! We got this! How about this power transmission conference with the latest power advances :) http://www.wplgroup.com/aci/_crosslink/register.asp?intSitePageId=9939

  • B Morgan
    January 10, 2014 - 05:17

    Years ago NL Power had a program in place where they wanted you to drop the oil and switch to electric. Now many people done that, but now can't use it! It doesn't matter if we have a dozen muskrat falls if the lines coming into the Avalon are not heavy enough to carry the electricity. If you don't believe that, look at your panel. The wire going to the TV is a different size that than wire going to the stove! Regarding conserving; if we conserve to the point that our electric bill actually deceases, along with 50000 more, guess what? I see rates increasing because, by way of the PUB, NL Power is guaranteed to make a certain amount of money! Also, if we are on the brink of a shortage supply, STOP all the development, but they won't, why? MONEY!!!!!

  • bent
    January 09, 2014 - 15:34

    Did Dunkerdale or the CEOs of NL Power, Hydro and Nalcorhave to endure lack of power in their homes? Were they part of the Blackout... IS the premier able to answer that question?

    • Pam Frampton
      January 09, 2014 - 15:58

      The premier has answered that question in media reports, saying she did lose power at her home.

  • Paul
    January 09, 2014 - 13:58

    What a CROCK OF SHIT! NEWS FLASH: The province has worn out utilities. Many complain that the Muskrat Falls project is wrong and come on here and spout off about a lack of power. Dunderdale may leave a lot to be desired however, if I am not mistaken, the current opposition leaders opposed the new hydro-electric development. Time to reflect!

  • Frank is cold
    January 09, 2014 - 12:14

    Never again will I trust the progressive conservatives on energy matters. Cathy Dunderdale. sh b ashamed.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 09, 2014 - 12:12

    CORRECTED COPY :--- Much has been made of the so-called high power demand from customers and that our Hardwoods and Stephenville turbines were not working......... My understanding (from NL Hydro's generation documents) is that in 2010 these 2 turbines were needed to supply less that 1/10 of 1% of NL Hydro's total generation output. What impact then, really, would such a minute amount of power have on the blackouts that the people endured? See www.vision2041.com for more info.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 09, 2014 - 12:09

    Much has been made of the so-called high power demand from customers and that our Hardwoods and Stephenville turbines were not working......... My understanding (from NL Hydro's generation documents) is that in 2010 these 2 turbines were needed to supply less that 1/10 or 1% of NL Hydro's total generation output. What impact then, really, would such a minute amount of power have on the blackouts that the people endured? See www.vision2041.com for more info.

  • Dolf
    January 09, 2014 - 11:51

    There's Dundedale again referring to something major as nothing more than a "piece". Her PR people have her in front of a camera acting as if she gives a good shag about any of it. There was a time I changed channels during commercial breaks, now I keep watching in case she show up as the lead in an ad for Pampers or Colgates.

    • jim Bastow
      January 09, 2014 - 12:18

      Well said Dolf. She uses "piece" in every sentence. She was trying suggest that NB and NS had issues with weather also, by saying that: "you know, NB and NS have had problems with their(......wait for it.....their) "piece". What does that even mean?

  • bob
    January 09, 2014 - 11:33

    I would like tto thank the workers of hydro and nl Power for all their long hours and hard work during the winter weather keeping the power on. Now with the shortage of power in NL its time for the Government to look at requirements while building new construction. better insulation in all buildings will reduce the high demand on the power grid. Before any building it passed for hookup it should have to pass a standard test for energy savings before connection is done.

  • bob
    January 09, 2014 - 11:32

    I would like tto thank the workers of hydro and nl Power for all their long hours and hard work during the winter weather keeping the power on. Now with the shortage of power in NL its time for the Government to look at requirements while building new construction. better insulation in all buildings will reduce the high demand on the power grid. Before any building it passed for hookup it should have to pass a standard test for energy savings before connection is done.

  • bob
    January 09, 2014 - 11:30

    I would like tto thank the workers of hydro and nl Power for all their long hours and hard work during the winter weather keeping the power on. Now with the shortage of power in NL its time for the Government to look at requirements while building new construction. better insulation in all buildings will reduce the high demand on the power grid. Before any building it passed for hookup it should have to pass a standard test for energy savings before connection is done.

    • James
      January 09, 2014 - 13:09

      Now Bob - Hydro cooks the power and NL Power serves it up. Why congratulate the cook when he messed up the meal? Hydro, through their own stupidity gave all of NL a swift kick in the arse this past week. Why would you thank them for it?

  • Terry
    January 09, 2014 - 11:13

    Isn't it ironic that all of the above can sit and chat comfortably when thousands were freezing their behinds off. Maybe they should consider taking 50 million of the 7.8 billion to eliminate the existing problem we have "NOW", for what we are being charged we are being robbed of our independence and the right to live comfortably. Goodbye Cathy, because at the next election you will be embarrassed at the outcome of the election and the complete destruction of the PC Party that had 78 percent approval rate when you inherited the position.

  • James
    January 09, 2014 - 10:44

    Jesus in the garden!!! Conserve, conserve, conserve. I'll tell ya what. I've been stockpiling laundry, got the sweater on and the heat turned down. The water in the dog dish froze over and even though I love her I'm sick of showering with the missus - all under the romantic glow of mile one stadium humming away while 1/2 of St. John's was in the dark. No more buddy - the clothes washer and dryer will be getting a workout tonite.

  • gb
    January 09, 2014 - 09:16

    Listen Earl Ludlow..if your motto is " conserve, conserve, conserve" then why don't you pop in to the two huge car dealerships just up the road from your office and give them a friendly reminder to turn off the bloody big lights on their car lots at night during this ..for want of a better word.."crisis"? I'm sick of Ms Dunderdale and yourself telling the commoners to walk in the dark and freeze while this goes on literally under your nose. Not your place you may say to mention this to a fellow business owner? Well I say then its not your place then to say it to me.

    • Calvin
      January 09, 2014 - 11:04

      How do you know they didn't ask businesses to help the conservation efforts? Same as asking a residential customer to help, if they don't want to how can Nalcor make them? Complaining about the wrong stuff here folks.

    • Calvin
      January 09, 2014 - 11:05

      How do you know they didn't ask businesses to help the conservation efforts? Same as asking a residential customer to help, if they don't want to how can Nalcor make them? Complaining about the wrong stuff here folks.

  • Graham
    January 09, 2014 - 08:43

    When I look at tis picture no matter how hard I try to see otherwise all I keep seeing is '"THE THREE STOOGES" Its been that kind of week and the count down to Election 2015 is on and we will then be able to say "FORMER PREMIER DUNDERDALE"

  • RNC NOW!
    January 09, 2014 - 06:53

    The RNC must investigate this.

    • Aunt Kate
      January 09, 2014 - 14:07

      Do they have the authority or jurisdiction because I've never known them to investigate anything political unless the politicians specifically asked them to.

  • Jon Smith
    January 09, 2014 - 06:46

    Electrical blackouts (first since the advent of a full state of the art electrical system for the island with completion of construction of Baie Despoir system in early 70’s) caused by equipment failure from lack of proper maintenance and upkeep. Add to that associated deaths from asphyxiation, secrecy bills and lack of transparency-very third world. Needs a full blown inquiry.Tory times are indeed blacked out times!