If then-premier Kathy Dunderdale was checking her email during the first week of January, she had a good idea of how people were feeling about the ongoing electricity crisis in the province.
© Telegram file photo
Dunderdale received 46 emails on the ongoing power disruptions between Jan. 1-8; some of them were people asking questions, a handful were from people offering words of support, but the overwhelming majority of the emails record a sense of frustration, and raw anger at Dunderdale and her top staffers.
“We had been without power 32 hours only to end up with frozen pipes and sewer backup in our basement,” one person wrote. “Have some respect for the people of your province. Toughness does not impress anyone unless they too are bullies. Drop the saucy attitude and reach out to people who voted you in power and allowed you to live in comfort.”
Many of the people fixated on Dunderdale’s statement that the rolling blackouts and ongoing power disruptions did not constitute a crisis.
“When a city and province can’t provide power for itself in the frigid winter that IS a crisis,” another citizen wrote. “To ignore that or try to minimize the problem and score political points for Muskrat Falls is pathetic and shows a total lack of leadership.”
The Telegram submitted an access to information request in early February for, “all emails sent or received by Premier Kathy Dunderdale” for the one-week period between Jan. 1-8. The newspaper also requested “all briefing materials prepared for and/or provided to Premier Kathy Dunderdale regarding electrical disruptions for the same period of time.”
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In early January, equipment failures at the Holyrood generating station and two other smaller power plants, combined with heightened demand for electricity, forced the electrical utilities of the province to begin rotating blackouts.
A transformer fire at a critical power station in Sunnyside, and other equipment failures, widened the blackouts, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the dark.
The premier’s office responded to the access to information request on Monday. They provided 46 emails sent to Dunderdale.
However, the response included zero emails sent by Dunderdale, which seems to indicate that she did not send a single email regarding the electrical disruptions during that one-week period.
The written access to information response also said that absolutely no written briefing materials were prepared for or provided to Dunderdale during that one-week period.
The Telegram has requested comment from the premier’s office on this point; we will provide an update when we receive a response from the premier’s office.
The Telegram will have more details about the contents of the 46 emails in Tuesday’s paper.