PUB extends deadline for Hydro

Andrew Robinson
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No responses filed to questions on application for Holyrood diesel units

The Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB) appears to be extending with some reluctance a deadline for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro to respond to questions about cost recovery for the Crown corporation’s proposal to install diesel units and a combustion turbine generator in Holyrood.

That deadline was initially June 16. Six days prior to that deadline, it was extended to July 25.

That extension was reportedly requested so Hydro could provide full responses to the requests, which relate to cost recovery for the projects through rates. The PUB has already certified both projects.

That deadline has now been extended to Aug. 8. In her letter dated July 25, PUB secretary Cheryl Blundon notes the PUB has requested in the past that responses be filed as they become available. So far, no responses have been provided to any of the requests concerning the applications.

The diesel units and 100 megawatts of combustion turbine generation were requested to assist power restoration efforts and to give Hydro additional capacity to generate power during the peak winter months.

“The Board is very concerned that Hydro was not able to meet its own deadline and that there seems to be little alternative but to extend the deadline as requested to August 8th,” wrote Blundon. “The Board expects that all responses will be filed on or before this date.”

Danny Dumaresque, an intervenor in several matters currently before the PUB, does not understand why Hydro has failed to file any responses to information requests. He notes that in the case of the PUB’s review of the province’s power system, Hydro has regularly filed responses.

“I got another batch today which covered some of my questions,” Dumaresque noted.

With another extension requested and no responses filed, Dumaresque suspects something is up with the diesel units and the combustion turbine generator. He requested a copy of the contract to purchase the generator and knows it exists, but has received no response to that request or any others made.

“It causes a lot of concern when they missed the first deadline and then they set their own deadline six weeks later, and they missed that one,” said Dumaresque. “Can they blame people for wondering what it is they are wanting to hide from the people?”

In an emailed statement to The Telegram, Hydro vice-president Rob Henderson said his organization has worked diligently to respond to the information requests.

“However, the large number of requests involve an intense effort of Hydro's people and resources and therefore Hydro has had to prioritize resources,” said Henderson.

Because of time sensitivity, Hydro has focused more of its resources on the supply issue and power outage inquiry.

“Hydro has been filing RFIs (requests for information) regarding the supply inquiry as they are finalized,” said Henderson, adding Hydro expects to respond to further questions this week.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

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