Time for heads to roll at Hydro: Dumaresque

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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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.

Organizations: Nalcor Energy

Geographic location: Island of Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Don Lester
    May 21, 2014 - 09:07

    Looks like now that Danny realizes he will never win an election, he's trying to get senior officials at Hydro fired so he can get his old job (Chairman of Hydro) back if the Liberals win the 2015 election.

  • Corporate Psycho
    May 20, 2014 - 16:57

    Dumaresque is right. Heads need to roll.

  • Danny Boys
    May 20, 2014 - 14:29

    I wish all the Danny politicians would just go away; Dumaresque, Williams, Breen, et all.

  • GeoffChaulk
    May 20, 2014 - 12:42

    Yup, time for change at the helm at NL Hydro. The kind of negligence identified in the PUB report cannot be ignored by us, the taxpayer, government or the Board of Directors for Nalcor.

  • lonewolf
    May 20, 2014 - 12:26

    How come it is illegal to give Government employees a Turkey for Christmas because it is taxpayers money but you can give Turkeys a bonus from taxpayers money????

  • Tony Rockel
    May 20, 2014 - 11:09

    Anyone who has watched The Walking Dead will understand what it is that's running Nalcor and NL Hydro. The lights are on but nobody's home.

  • Cyril Rogers
    May 20, 2014 - 10:36

    Maurice and a few others, like myself, have been calling for this for quite some time….. but the real power behind that two-headed hydra called NALCOR lies elsewhere. That entity has been a political flunky for the PC administration and party insiders since its inception. Yet, the neglect shown by Hydro, the orchestrated manipulation of the charade that is Muskrat Falls…all of that rests on the figure heads at the top of NALCOR. In my opinion, these individuals…and collectively the Board of Directors, both past and present….should be held accountable for the misdirection and deception foisted on the ratepayers of the province. The problems that led to Dark NL stem back to the obsession with Muskrat Falls…... and the efforts to stymie the work of the PUB, by not providing accurate and timely information to that body. That they even challenged the assumptions of NALCOR was a brave feat….but they need to go further and call for a thorough review of energy needs and the most efficient way to get to reliability and sufficiency. If so, Muskrat Falls will only be a major impediment….not the solution they tout.

  • Joebennett
    May 20, 2014 - 10:13

    You mean to say that my tax dollar pays these guys a bonus to run this outfit who cannot keep the lights on. Boys, it's time to make these people accountable - paying a bonus is certainly not the way to do it. Heads should roll in Nalcor as well as the government department that is responsible for this shame.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    May 20, 2014 - 09:41

    And how much is NL Hydro paying for Muskrat Falls power?............ Here is an excerpt from page 30 of Nalcor's 2013 Annual Report:-- ................ "Commercial Arrangements............... In November 2013, long-term power supply and transmission-related agreements were executed by Hydro and a number of the newly formed project subsidiaries. These included the following: • PPA between Hydro and Muskrat Falls – provides for the purchase by Hydro and the sale by Muskrat Falls of energy, capacity, ancillary services and greenhouse gas credits, payments for which are made on a full cost recovery basis. • Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) between Hydro, Muskrat Falls and Transco – provides for the construction of LTA by Transco to enable interconnection of the MF generation facility with the Newfoundland transmission system. Muskrat Falls will make payments to Transco and recover such costs from Hydro via the PPA on a flow-through cost recovery basis." ................A link to Nalcor's 2013 Annual Report can be found at www.vision2041.com