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  • Just Sayin
    January 31, 2014 - 21:56

    Isn't the load forecast for the island already well below their forecast? And Holyrood production down from 30 percent of our total to only 10.5 percent? And new standards for housing cutting energy from 27 to 50 percent going forward? Bennett is very selective on his"facts" and doesn't address facts he doesn't like. If the power isn't needed for the island, no problem, lets sell it all at a loss , we are hooked for paying all costs anyway.

  • Just Sayin
    January 31, 2014 - 09:24

    John Smith, didn't this MF all get started by government officials saying we would have blackouts if MF didn't go ahead? Fear mongering? And now we have blackouts because MF has gone ahead: no maintenance upkeep on existing island units, no reduction in peak demand because of a pitiful efficiency / conservation program, no third line to the Avalon, no addition to wind that performed exceeding well in the recent blackouts, no addition to island hydro. All in all , they, Nalcor, operate in Wonderland. And we are to pin our hopes on a unreliable system 1200 miles away with many issues as to reliability. We will end up worse off and 6 or 7 billion wasted, and then no money left to address future blackouts.

  • Jon Smith
    January 31, 2014 - 07:03

    From Jon without the h for h-rs-sh-t to John with....... We can thank; Dan the man, spook ecomomics, spin doctoring, greedy self serving business enterprises, ABC campaign, means to an end ex-spurt studies, legislative cover-ups, Peter Mackay and the Harper Government for ensuring NS reaps the spoils, puppiting of watch dog agencies... and other accepted third world tactics for this untidy mess. God should be left out of this altogether.

  • Fred Penner
    January 30, 2014 - 18:57

    Thank You Gilbert for the information and for applying a rigourous logic to your conclusions. Thank you also for answering some of the questions associated with the project. In the spirit of transparency, it might be an idea to perhaps periodically write a similiar letter to the Telegram and provide an update on project progress. To be sure, there are those who will balk at a reading of the facts and who will continue their efforts to obfuscate. Rest assured however that your update will be well received by those who are interested. Keep up the good work.

  • Joey
    January 30, 2014 - 14:43

    I hope you're not expecting facts from Jones. He's the same guy who tried to re-write history in a previous ludicrous article by arguing that the reason we got fleeced on the Upper Churchill was because noted Cabinet Ministers like Crosbie, Wells, Rowe, Hickman etc. didn't know what inflation was. I thought it was one of his stupid newfie jokes until I realized he was serious. As for predictions, here is what's going to happen. The Liberals will win the next election. They will sanction Muskrat Falls because the big business people in the Liberal party love this project. The Telegram will get noticeably quiet about the project because Wangersky, Frampton, Wakeham, and Jones will have done their job. And the consumer will no longer be a concern.

  • John Smith
    January 30, 2014 - 14:25

    Mr. Bennett...this is the Telegram...they don't deal in facts here...they deal in fear mongering, innuendo and rumour...they pander to the lunatic fringe, and even aided in the demise of Premier Dunderdale through the fake bill 29 scare tactics....so save your breath....and thank God the project is going ahead....

    • Corporate Psycho
      January 30, 2014 - 17:09

      The Telegram got Dunderdale fired? You need to get a grip man.

    • Tony Rockel
      January 31, 2014 - 03:43

      Poor "John Smith". Readers of your repetitious fact-free posts will have learned long ago that, according to him, anyone more intelligent than "John Smith"---i.e. the majority of readers, is either a "fear monger", a Liberal, or a member of the lunatic fringe.

    • Tony Rockel
      January 31, 2014 - 12:13

      "John Smith" calls anyone smarter than him a "fear monger" or part of the "lunatic fringe". Pathetic, really.

  • Maggy Carter
    January 30, 2014 - 14:15

    We agree Mr. Bennett that the debate should be fact-based. The problem is that none of the facts, including the few supplied by NALCOR, support your position. Moreover, the only agency mandated to conduct an independent review of the Muskrat project concluded that the facts do no support your position. Most media commentators and the vast majority of posters to forums like this do not support your position. Indeed, except for consultants hired by NALCOR, Tory partisans, and mouthpieces hired by government, I am aware of no person or group knowledgeable of the electric power industry in North America who supports your position. Other than the obvious government plant posting on this site - FactOrFiction - (who we assume is the pseudonymous replacement for the Tory pit bull John Smith), the remaining dozen or so commenters are squarely and convincingly not in your corner. With a new government we will undoubtedly get the Royal Commission of Inquiry into this mess that is so absolutely essential, but we are under no illusions that it will avert the coming train wreck that is Muskrat. Nor can we say unfortunately that, by unearthing the truth of this debacle and assigning responsibility, it will prevent such a blatant abuse of power from happening again. Sadly, we have said that after all our man-made disasters in this province - most notably the Upper Churchill.

    • FictionOrFact
      January 30, 2014 - 16:40

      Dear Maggy, I do not represent Government or Nalcor, nor do I wear any political stripe - my only interest is in informed debate. In the spirit of informed debate, I point you to the PUB's very own consultant that was hired by the PUB (not Government and not Nalcor) to provide professional expert advice regarding the analysis of the Muskrat Falls project. In their report, the PUB's own consultant concluded, and I quote: “MHI has found Nalcor’s work to be skilled, well-founded and in accordance with industry practices. The result of the CPW analysis indicates a preference for the Interconnected Island option of $2.4 billion over the Isolated Island option … MHI therefore supports Nalcor’s finding that the Interconnected Island is the least cost option” These are the words of the PUB's consultant whose full report can be found on the PUB website. It's a good read - I'd suggest that you give it a review with an open mind. Dr. Wade Locke also came to the same conclusion. The Government of Canada through it's independent engineer also found the project to be sound. Also, I find it hard to believe that internationally reputable consulting firms would risk their reputations by publishing mistruths for the sake of a small contract with the Government of NL or Nalcor - just not worth it! On further point, the current government was elected with a very strong mandate to develop Muskrat Falls. This project has been talked about for years and we, the people, put this government in place knowing that Muskrat Falls was a key deliverable – no surprises here. Our collective voice was heard in the last election and our government delivered what they said they would.

    • FictionOrFact
      January 31, 2014 - 12:17

      Dear Maggy, I do not represent Government or Nalcor, nor do I wear any political stripe. I am simply interested in meaningful and informed debate. Funny how those that may have a differing opinion are quickly branded as mouthpieces or government plants? In the spirit of informed debate – to make you aware of some of those who have supported the Muskrat decision… they include the Public Utilities Board’s own consultant who wrote, and I quote: “MHI has found Nalcor’s work to be skilled, well-founded and in accordance with industry practices. The result of the CPW analysis indicates a preference for the Interconnected Island option of $2.4 billion over the Isolated Island option … MHI therefore supports Nalcor’s finding that the Interconnected Island is the least cost option”. These are the words of our PUB’s independent, expert consultant (hired by the PUB, not by government, and not by Nalcor). The full report is on the PUB’s website – it’s worth reading with an open mind. In addition to the PUB’s consultant, we have the Consumer Advocate, and the Consumer Advocate’s hired independent expert consultant. We also have Dr. Wade Locke. We also have the Government of Canada through its independent engineer supporting the work and analysis. These are to name a few. I also find it hard to believe that large international consultancies would risk their reputations by writing incorrect and misleading reports – all for the sake of a few dollars from the Govt of NL or Nalcor – The strength of their reputation is what keeps getting them business and it’s just not worth risking that reputation. I wonder if, as you state, the dozen or so commenters on this site actually represent the majority of the populace? The current government was elected with a very strong mandate to develop Muskrat Falls. This project has been talked about for years and we, the people, put this government in place knowing that Muskrat Falls was a key deliverable – no surprises here. Our collective voice was heard in the last election and our government delivered what they said they would.

    • Tony Rockel
      January 31, 2014 - 20:13

      The MHI that FictionOrFact keeps referring to as the ultimate authority is Manitoba Hydro, an organization with a record of secrecy, cost overruns and being wildly wrong--- in short, a kindred spirit to NALCOR. So much for "professional expert advice".

  • Nichol
    January 30, 2014 - 12:42

    Correction to my post.... .....Holyrood will be converted to a synchronous condenser load by 2017...not 2917.

  • Nichol
    January 30, 2014 - 12:40

    Correction to my post.... .....Holyrood will be converted to a synchronous condenser load by 2017...not 2917.

  • Nichol
    January 30, 2014 - 12:20

    As I read Mr. Bennett's latest defense of the Muskrat Falls project, I can't help realizing almost every word in his letter is very familiar. The words have all been written before in various fluff pieces on the Nalcor web site. Interestingly, his remark on expenditures ...only takes in money spent since January, 2013. Nalcor publishes this info on their web site, and it is merely a listing of invoices processed for payment. That is the $230M he talks about. What we don't know are the untold millions spent in the many years of planning prior to sanction in Dec. 2012. The project, as originally structured, proposed 40% of capacity to replace Holyrood, 20% for NS in return for building the maritime link, and the remaining 40% fo export. We know that the rated maximum capacity for MF is 824MW. Efficiency and line losses will reduce this by at least 10% or more. considering line losses though undersea links are higher. The original rated maximum capacity of Holyrood was 490MW. This is much less today. My understanding is that Holyrood will be converted to a synchronous load condenser in 2917. It will have no generating capacity. So, we will now be dependant upon an 1100km long transmission line with an undersea link, which is built to a fifty year weather event standard. When this line goes down....what happens when we are in the midst of winter and at peak demand on the island, with no Holyrood as back up. The Interconnection Operators Agreement Mr. Bennett refers to is cold comfort. It is for emergency use only, and what if NS finds itself in a similar emergency, at the same time as NL? Not unheard of with weather events. Introduction of Bills 60 and 61 by the departed Mr. Kennedy put the icing on the cake. Muskrat Falls was sold to us as a 'self financing project', not requiring outside financial Government assistance. An obvious lie. Bill 60 was concerned with the expropriation of land for the project, and Bill 61, by far a more evil pice of law, removed the NL PUB from any part of the process, legislated the 280,000 ratepayers of NL to pay ALL the costs of the project, and created a monopoly for the generation of electricity for Hydro. Bill 61, of course passed with little fanfare what this means is that ALL costs of the project, including planning, construction overruns, exec. compensation, bonuses, etc., are all the legal responsibility of the very small base of 280,000 ratepayers in NL. That is the true legacy of Muskrat Falls. This project, in spite the insipid platitudes of Bennett, et al, will be a stone around the necks of NL ratepayers for generations to come. There were better, lower cost options which were not allowed to have been considered, due to the narrow terms given the consultants. It is a disgrace, because of some ill conceived imaginary need for pay back to Quebec, by one man...Danny Williams.

    • DON II
      January 30, 2014 - 13:46

      Nichol, it appears that you have exposed many of the other pitfalls of the vote buying Muskrat Falls project that the Government of Newfoundland/Nalcor would prefer would never be subjected to public and media scrutiny. Good work!

  • Anna
    January 30, 2014 - 11:22

    You must have drawn the shortest straw this time Gilbert, ususally it is Ed Martin lecturing us on how we are too ignorant to see the goodness of Muskrat Falls. Explain to me again about selling power to Nova Scotia cheaper than selling it to NL.

  • rok
    January 30, 2014 - 10:01

    There's a whole lot in what Mr. Bennett says. A whole lot of bull!

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 30, 2014 - 09:29

    MF power will cost NL ratepayers 30-40 cents per KWh, and here is the "market" price that Ontario is getting for its excess power ---- 2-3 cents per KWh (go to http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/01/09/scott-stinson-ontario-powers-up-electricity-exports-but-taxpayers-see-little-benefit/ )..... Nalcor considers it a profit, a money maker, to sell at 2-3 cents while to produce and transmit it costs NL ratepayers 40 cents. Certainly, it is a prfit for Nalcor because they got our own government to pass legislation forcing NL ratepayers to pay the 40 cents. WE pay the full cost, so that ANY revenue from outside sales (even 2-3 cents) Nalcor can call a "profit". What a scam. What a screwing we are getting from our own government and Nalcor. As to lowest cost power? Government could pay for the installation of a heat pump in every home for $1billion ($6-8 billion LESS THAN Muskrat), and that would reduce residential energy demand by 25-40%.

    • FictionOrFact
      January 30, 2014 - 16:17

      Mr. Adams, you’ve referred many times to the savings that you have achieved through installation of a heat pump. I have to ask myself the question “Why, if it was so incredibly good, doesn’t everyone have one installed?” And I think the answer is that there is no silver bullet to solve our energy needs. While I commend you for taking the initiative to invest and install a heat pump taht you are obviously very pleased with, to suggest that it is the right solution for everyone in the province and that all should be forced to install one is a bit naïve. I can just hear the outcry when Hydro or Newfoundland Power come knocking on doors to retrofit and install a forced air or hot water system in someone’s house. In that vein, similar solutions could also be to insist that everyone wear a sweater in their house, or limit the size of homes, or limit the amount of electricity that a house could use in a year, and many, many more. But we live in a democratic society and we are all left to make our own lifestyle choices. Utilities and governments have a responsibility to inform the population on the benefits of efficiency, but in the end individuals make their own choices, and in our province, those choices are leading to undeniable load growth that the utilities have a responsibility to respond to. In this instance, the right answer to the issue is Muskrat Falls as the other alternatives (and YES, many, many other alternatives were evaluated: oil, wind, pumped storage, energy efficiency, natural gas, small hydro, imports, etc.) are much more costly. While it would be nice to live in a paradise in which all our needs are met with absolutely no environmental impacts and low costs, that is but a dream. On further point, the current government was elected with a very strong mandate to develop Muskrat Falls. This project has been talked about for years and we, the people, put this government in place knowing that Muskrat Falls was a key deliverable – no surprises here. Our collective voice was heard in the last election and our government delivered what they said they would.

    • FictionOrFact
      January 31, 2014 - 11:50

      Mr. Adams, you’ve referred many times to the savings that you have achieved through installation of a heat pump. I have to ask myself the question “Why, if it was so incredibly good, doesn’t everyone have one installed?” And I think the answer is that there is no silver bullet to solve our energy needs. While I commend you for taking the initiative to invest and install a heat pump, to suggest that it is the right solution for everyone in the province and that all should be forced to install one is a bit naïve. I can just hear the outcry when Hydro or Newfoundland Power come knocking on doors to retrofit and install a forced air or hot water system in someone’s house. In that vein, similar solutions could also be to insist that everyone wear a sweater in their house, or limit the size of homes, or limit the amount of electricity that a house could use in a year, and many, many more. But we live in a democratic society and we are all left to make our own lifestyle choices. Utilities and governments have a responsibility to inform the population on the benefits of efficiency, but in the end individuals make their own choices, and in our province, those choices are leading to undeniable load growth that the utilities have a responsibility to respond to. In this instance, the best answer to the issue is Muskrat Falls as the other alternatives (and YES, many, many other alternatives were evaluated: oil, wind, pumped storage, energy efficiency, natural gas, small hydro, imports, etc.) are much more costly. While it would be nice to live in a paradise in which all our needs are met with absolutely no environmental impacts and low costs, that is but a dream. On further point, the current government was elected with a very strong mandate to develop Muskrat Falls. This project has been talked about for years and we, the people, put this government in place knowing that Muskrat Falls was a key deliverable – no surprises here. Our collective voice was heard in the last election and our government delivered what they said they would.

    • Tony Rockel
      January 31, 2014 - 13:52

      "Utilities and governments have a responsibility to inform the population on the benefits of efficiency"---yes indeed they do, so what does the obscenely wasteful Muskrat monstrosity have to do with efficiency? The "many other alternatives were NOT evaluated: they were overruled from the outset, so that you and your cronies could ram the Muskrat deal through for the benefit of a wealthy minority. You and "John Smith" are a joke.

  • david
    January 30, 2014 - 09:23

    Mr. Bennett: Perhaps you aren't aware, but your employers see to it that we the public have few if any facts, and has a much longer track record of regularly engaging in deceit to get its preferred way than on coming clean with facts on anything. So one should completely understand this reaction of suspicion, pessimism, and risk aversion...it's completely rational, predictable, and a sign of some intelligence. As a senior leader of NALCOR, you share the blame for this public relations fiasco. I could easily accept ignorance and PR missteps from technically and economically ignorant politicians. Heck, I expect nothing more. But getting arrogance, secrecy and silence from NALCOR has compounded the problem, and that's for you to wear. Your organization has the stink of being just another government department, a lapdog.. I have no faith whatsoever that you or NALCOR know how to manage a project of this complexity, I have no confidence that you have analysed the technical and economic risks, and I am quite certain that high-level politics has completely poisoned any decision-making from the outset.

  • Jon Smith
    January 30, 2014 - 08:29

    The most telling fact about Muskrat is that legislation had to be made to make sure the newfoundland consumer is the captive purchaser of all energy under a take or pay contract with NL Hydro. And legislation to make sure that Nalcor can be the only importer of power and the only producer of power going forward. The project could not proceed without the Consumer's energy rates going up by a minimum of 50 %. This increase is in addition to the usual escalation of electricity rates. We will go from a middle of the pack cost of electricity province to a highest in Canada cost for electricity. The new interim premier must expedite an election date so that the people can elect a government that will attempt to fix this colossal mess

  • Ken Collis
    January 30, 2014 - 07:48

    This paragraph is the part about Muskrat Falls that gets my goat:" While the merits of the project are sound, without any revenue from the sale of energy outside the province, surplus energy not needed in our province will be sold outside the province for profit. These profits will be returned to the province for the benefit of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians." -WHAT this says is that the increase of power rates to us is basically a new tax. It is money being put directly to the government. I've even been told that this money will be used by Nalcor to put towards developing Gull Island. Either way it's wrong to follow this path. Any and all money received from Muskrat Falls development must be put towards paying the debt, and must be put into law to lessen the burden on ratepayers . Any political party that wants to win the next election should make this a part of their platform. You'll get a lot of votes because of it.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    January 30, 2014 - 07:41

    Bill Barry rcently said (during his news conference) that "Quebec could 'nuke' Muskrat Falls". He could be referring to nothing more than the court case involving Quebec's legal right to control the water flow in the Churchill River. Nalcor's own document shows that if Nalcor is not able to control the river's water flow, Muskrat Falls would generate only 170 MW of power in winter (when we need power most). ................. Holyrood alone has a net capacity of 490 MW......... Mr. Bennett says that NL will get 40% of MF power. However, 40% of 170 MW is 68 MW. ... Therefore, after an expenditure of 8-10 billion dollars, what will 68 MW do for our energy needs ? 400+ MW LESS THAN we have now. No rational person would risk $8-10 billion without having control of the water flow. It is the water flow, not the 824 MW manufacturer's rated output of the turbines, that will determine if there is even enough to replace Holyrood (and then what about the damages to Nova Scotia when we cannot meet our contracted obligations?)

    • DON II
      January 30, 2014 - 08:59

      All excellent points Mr. Adams. You have succinctly stated some of the many pitfalls of the Muskrat Falls project which the Government of Newfoundland/Nalcor would prefer that the people not know about or talk about. It appears that Bill 29 was designed to keep critical information regarding the Muskrat Falls project secret and fully hidden from public and media scrutiny. Fortunately, there are people like you who are able to reveal and raise the substantive issues which should have been fully investigated by the PUB, subjected to public hearings, properly debated in the House of Assembly and resolved by the Courts before a single shovel full of dirt was removed from the site in Labrador. It appears that the Muskrat Falls project will be the most expensive vote buying project in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. It appears that the Muskrat Falls deal is structured in such a manner as to have the people of Newfoundland and Labrador paying higher rates for electricity in order to stabilize rates or subsidize lower rates for electricity in Nova Scotia! It appears that the Muskrat Falls deal will subsidize profits for Nova Scotia they same way that the Upper Churchill deal subsidized profits for Quebec! The process of vote buying has become a political art form in Newfoundland and Labrador that has and will continue to add Billions of dollars to the public debt of the Province. There is a real danger that the Muskrat Falls project which is purported to make Newfoundland and Labrador into an energy powerhouse will in fact make Newfoundland and Labrador into an energy poorhouse!

    • FictionOrFact
      January 30, 2014 - 09:31

      Mr. Adams, throwing out numbers and calculations that are irrelevant and misleading does not add to meaningful debate. Nalcor has stated on many occasions that, first of all, the HQ challenge on the renewal is unfounded - and if you read the contract and the HQ challenge you too must come to that conclusion as the contract is absolutely 100% clear on how the plant is to be operated after 2016. Nalcor has also confirmed publically that, regardless of the outcome of this frivolous challenge, it does not impact the ability of the plant to meet its contracted commitments to NLH. Finally - your $8 to $10 billion is based on absolutely nothing other than speculation by folks that want to paint a bad picture on the project. Nalcor's CEO has publically commited to a project cost update in the next couple of months - once that is out there, then we can have a real debate on on costs based on something of substance. Until then, throwing out such unfounded statements does not add to a meaningful debate - and given your background I'd be disappointed if that is your true intent.

  • Stopped the BS
    January 30, 2014 - 06:53

    The power that Emera is selling for us comes from Churchill Falls and is transmitted by the 735 KV power line from Churchill Falls to Quebec. That's the power we took from Hyro Quebec (who was selling it at profit for us) and gave it to Emera to sell for us in the US market( and who is selling it for us at a loss due to the low rates that US eastern seaboard is enjoying due to natural gas). We can't sell power through Nova Scotia or New Brunswick because the power line between the two provinces is bascially at max capacity. It's very unlikely we would be able to get emergency power from Nova Scotia in the winter time as they would be also at close to peak capacity then.

    • FictionOrFact
      January 30, 2014 - 09:42

      Stop the BS indeed. HQ had a fixed price contract for that power at prices well below market prices and was then reselling it in the US and making a huge profit. Nalcor is now selling it in the market and getting market prices for it - what they're getting for it is what it is worth not what HQ dictated. NL CAN sell it through NS, and if in fact Nalcor couldn't because the transmission was not available, Emera would have to compensate Nalcor for it's lost profits - this is all stated in black and white in the Nalcor-Emera contracts that are publically available on the web.

  • Bob
    January 30, 2014 - 06:39

    Are Jones, Frampton and Wangersky going to he throwing themselves into the political arena......they seem to know what's best for us. Do you guys have all the answers ? Scrutiny is fine......fire starting isn't.

  • concerned
    January 30, 2014 - 06:37

    I am growing tiresome of Nalcor stating that the discussion must be based on facts, when they have strangled the release of public information. Gilbert... tell us what this will cost. There has not been a updated estimate in 14 months.

  • Tony Rockel
    January 30, 2014 - 05:15

    Oh come on, Gil, you must be desperate to have bothered writing such tripe. Not a single paragraph of your letter stands up to scrutiny. Where are your "facts"? The entire project is monstrously uneconomic and you know it. You trot out the same old platitudes as though you were telling us something radically new, when we all know that the only people to benefit from this fiasco are the noobs of NALCOR, the contractors and the shareholders in Fortis. NL ratepayers, on the other hand, will be subsidizing NS consumers to the tune of 20 or 30 cents a KW, while NS consumers get it for almost nothing.