Power review intervener says system needs penalties for non-compliance
An intervener in the ongoing Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) review of the province’s power system, Danny Dumaresque, says its time for the provincial government to take “real responsibility” for the identified failings of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
Danny Dumaresque. — File photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
It is time, he said, to see executive bonuses scrapped and for heads to roll at the province’s main, power-providing utility.
The actions would be appropriate, he argued in an interview this morning, given the latest findings on why most of the island of Newfoundland went dark in some of the coldest days of the year, from Jan. 2-8.
In a report released Friday, the PUB stated the power outages were caused by failures of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
In response, the PUB called on the utility to complete a specific list of maintenance work and equipment checks before the coming winter to try to prevent a reoccurrence. It included specific requirements for updates to be submitted to the Board.
While the provincial Liberals applauded the board’s work, Dumaresque says it all falls short of what should have been done. He says senior executives at Hydro need to personally pay a real price for the failures.
“There is absolutely not one consequence to all of these failures. All of the senior executives are getting tens of thousands in bonuses and not one has lost their jobs,” he said.
The Telegram has yet to confirm the claims on executive compensation. Hydro parent Nalcor Energy has been contacted this morning and details requested. An update will be posted as a response becomes available.
Dumaresque said the work of both Nalcor Energy president and CEO Ed Martin, who is also president of Hydro, and Hydro vice-president Rob Henderson needs to be put under review.
“Ed Martin — he has said the buck stops here and Ed Martin should be accountable,” he said, adding a call for Henderson to be similarly accountable.
In addition to the clear call for penalties against Hydro’s top officials, he said the regulator has refused to show its teeth, outlining points in the last two years where he believes the PUB could have been more forceful in how it dealt with Hydro.
He pointed to an application by Hydro — and swift approval by the PUB, without standard review — for the purchase and immediate installation of a 100-megawatt backup turbine generator at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Station.
The regulator has expressed concern the estimated $119-million unit might not be ready by Dec. 1 of this year. That is despite temporarily letting slide the question of how the unit will be paid for and all challenges for whether or not the unit identified is the right purchase.
Hydro says it is on schedule to have the generator ready for this winter.
Dumaresque has been on record objecting to the purchase as proposed.
In a statement issued shortly after the PUB’s report last week, Hydro’s vice-president Rob Henderson said the utility is committed to taking all necessary actions to assure the blackouts experienced early in 2014 do not reoccur.