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Letter: Feed the insatiable beasts — NL Hydro and Nalcor

Published on August 1, 2017

The untamed, uncontrollable, insatiable beasts are back for more. On Friday, July 28, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro announced it is requesting that the Public Utilities Board (PUB) support yet another increase in electricity rates over the next two years. This time, 13 per cent.

Of course, this will be followed by another significant increase when Nalcor’s ’Rat comes on stream in 2021 or earlier. These modern money-guzzling monstrosities continuously cry for more and more to the detriment of ratepayers in difficult economic times. Is there any stopping them? Their wiry webs and tangled reports are all over Newfoundland Labrador and are insatiably sucking every last cent out of Newfoundland Labrador taxpayers. Feed us! Feed us! We need more!

They could have stopped it early in the game but they were as blind as bats in a spiraling vacuum.

And to think that the premier of this province believes that letting the rate go up to 17 cents or a little higher per kilowatt hours is acceptable is absolutely astonishing, and clearly shows that this Liberal government doesn’t mind adding more tax burdens to families, ratepayers and taxpayers in this indebted province.

Let’s be clear, only the people of Newfoundland Labrador, now and in the future, will bear the burden of the billions thrown at and over Muskrat Falls. That is nothing to celebrate or throw off casually.

The premier assures us that they will get to the bottom of this, “...whatever it takes… to get us to the bottom of what got us in this situation with Muskrat.”

Where has the premier been hiding? Where have our elected politicians been hiding? They all own the current state of financial peril in the province and expect the taxpayers to bail them out again, again and again.

The premier may not know what got us into this situation, the Liberals may not know, the Progressive Conservatives may not know but the rest of Newfoundland Labrador knows exactly what got us into this situation. Yes, Nalcor, Muskrat and Hydro. Where is the mystery? More importantly, where is the accountability?

Both political parties were responsible for it. Where is the investigation into how this was allowed to continue? It’s been there in public sight for the past five years and it was ignored, blessed and now cursed upon. These two governments let it happen under their watch. They could have stopped it early in the game but they were as blind as bats in a spiraling vacuum. It has been out of control and mismanaged for years and now the taxpayers and ratepayers of this small populated province will have to pay dearly for their political incompetence, poor decision making and financial blunders.

Who can afford these continuously increasing rates and financial blunders? Tens of thousands of Newfoundland Labrador families, seniors on pensions, low-income earners, can’t afford these constant increases. Whether it’s NL Hydro, Nalcor/Muskrat or tax increases by government, there is a clear limit to what people can pay and/or should pay for any service, and no doubt, that limit has been reached.

When the day comes to celebrate the catastrophe of Muskrat, as politicians will undoubtedly do in 2021 or earlier, there will be great parties, smiles all round, photo ops and wondrous words. When that day comes, thousands may cheer and sing but thousands more will not be applauding or cheering any Progressive Conservatives or Liberals or sipping champagne. They will be wondering how they will possibly be able to pay their heat bills, keep warm during the long cold months of winter, feed their children, and pay for their medical needs. Something will be surrendered.

No, Mr. Premier, 17 cents per kWh is not acceptable now or in the future. That is not worth celebrating or cheering about.

 

P. J. Dwyer
Gander