Truth instead of spin

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In the Jan. 5 editorial headlined “Wait and see,” once one has waded through all the legalese, one glaring fact comes to light: that any province wishing to sell power to the U.S. must reciprocally open its own grids to transmissions from other power generators and must establish an “open access transmission tariff” (OATT) — or a fee, by any other name.

These rules have been in existence since 1996.

This raises the question in my mind, has the main issue with the use of Quebec’s grid been merely the cost of the OATT? Just imagine paying a fee to big bad Quebec for the use of its infrastructure.

Newfoundlanders have been hoodwinked and manipulated by external forces for generations, and so it continues, but now it would appear that the forces are internal and from our own elected majority government.

When are we, the voting public, going to get some real truths instead of the “spin” we are being fed daily?

 

Patricia Ploughman

St. John’s

Geographic location: Quebec, U.S.

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  • Cold Ffuture
    January 10, 2013 - 12:24

    It is complicated. When power from Muskrat becomes available for transmission in 2017 or 2020?, it will become an issue. A small amount of power from Churchill (130 MW or so) is presently being sold by NL presumably in the US, brokered by Emera (Remember we made history by changing the broker to Emera from HQ). Nobody squabbled because it is a small amount of power. Remember despite Ferc order 888 the US would not ruffle the feathers of Quebec by supporting NL in transmitting power through Quebec because Quebec is a large supplier of cheap energy. When Muskrat is complete, Quebec may make huge noises because NL would be in direct competition and could be impacting Quebec sales to US. Then NL could be forced to allow fair competition and the importation of energy. This would be bad news for the NL ratepayer who will alrady be saddled with the fixed debt of Muskrat. We may dodge the bullit by brokering all of Labrador energy through Emera-no direct sales by Nalcor to US. However, there would be no guarantee that Emera placed firmly in the driver's seat would treat us any better than HQ. It is complicated but maybe later on in 2041 we have have better bargaining power on our side.

    • david
      January 11, 2013 - 10:45

      Oh, this whole Muskrat thingy is "complicated" alright....which is why I am so heartened to know that this is in the capable, professional, knoweldgeable hands of the Newfoundland government. We can all sleep well at night, 'cause we got THAT goin' for us!

  • Winston Adams
    January 10, 2013 - 10:52

    It appears that a couple of years ago the USA might need some of our power, and they had no cheap power to transmit back to us, as free trade permits. But all that changed with cheap American gas, and as Cabot Martin said. Now this prospect is very real, but our generals did not foresee this and so they plough on, maybe hoping Labradoe mining will use up th energy,,, but that is not a cure to cheap electriciry coming from the USA to Nfld

  • Don II
    January 10, 2013 - 08:59

    Patricia Ploughman has revealed a very troubling situation which requires answers and clarification from the Government of Newfoundland and NALCOR. In light of the expropriation of Abitibi, it appears that the Government of Newfoundland does not agree with the terms and conditions of the NAFTA agreement and other reciprocal trade agreements with the USA . It appears that the Government of Newfoundland does not recognize the fact that in order to be able to sell electricity to markets in the United States it must comply with the requirement to provide open access to power grids in Newfoundland and Labrador to other electricity generators and distributors such as the privately run power companies in the USA. It also appears that the Government of Newfoundland has proposed legislation which will prohibit the establishment of competition with NALCOR from any other electrical power companies. This anti competition legislation when passed will prevent any access to grids in Newfoundland and Labrador by competitors which want to sell power to NALCOR and consequently prevent NALCOR from selling surplus electricity into markets in the United States! In other words, if we close our doors to them they will close their doors to us. Is it possible that the Government of Newfoundland did not understand that NALCOR could be prevented from selling electricity to markets in the USA if competition in the electrical power generation and distribution business is prohibited by law to protect NALCOR? Perhaps the legal beagles think the Government of Newfoundland can get away with passing such an anti competition law and suffer no adverse consequences! It appears that the incompetence which resulted in the Government of Newfoundland expropriating an environmentally polluted pulp mill that the Government did not want and which will cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to remedy may also be a factor in the preparations for the Muskrat Falls project. When the Government of Newfoundland passes a law that prohibits competition with NALCOR in the electrical power generation and distribution business will it violate the requirement to allow open access to its grid and transmission line infrastructure to competitors? If so, what will the adverse consequences be? It appears that the intended consequence of such anti competition legislation was to protect NALCOR, maximize its profitability and ensure the economic viability of the Muskrat Falls project. However, will a law to protect NALCOR from competition result in the unintended consequence of Newfoundland and Labrador not being permitted to sell surplus electricity into the United States? Without access to markets in the USA the economic viability of Muskrat Falls will be in question! What is the Government of Newfoundland up to here? It appears that Government incompetence or an hidden agenda are the main reasons for the passage of Bill 29 (the cover-up law) and the amount of spin doctoring and secrecy surrounding the Muskrat Falls project.

  • Corporate Psycho
    January 10, 2013 - 08:41

    Bill 29 was designed to hide the truth.

  • Blake
    January 10, 2013 - 08:16

    Doesn't the USA already buy power originating in Churchill Falls, Labrador. Our governemnt should focus first upon providing power to their own people such as the people residing in the Labrador Straits whom get power from Hyrdo Quebec while we will see power lines from Muskrat falls travelling through their communities and our government will not supply them power from this source! No wonder there is a movement in Labrador to separate from the island!

  • PC staffer
    January 10, 2013 - 08:05

    The people of the province have no need or right to know the bussiness deals of the dunderdale government. Its this good Paul? Is this want you guys want? I did good, right Paul?