How angry
are you with Nalcor over power problems that left most of the Province without
electricity and several days of rolling blackouts? 

Well, at
least one group of 5 people, apart from the Liberal Party, filed a formal complaint,
on Thursday, asking the Board to investigate and hold public hearings.    

The five
residents are: Brian Grant, Cabot Martin, Con O’Brien, John Parsons and Des
Sullivan (your Uncle Gnarley scribe).

The group
welcomes the decision of the PUB to proceed with both an inquiry and hearing under
the Public Utilities Act, announced today.

This group’s Complaint and those of others have been posted on the PUB Web Site.

In a Press
Release, the group stated that it is vital for the PUB to be given powers under
the Public Inquiries Act
and not be constrained by the Public Utilities Act. 

For that
reason, it believes more members of the public should also file  a formal Complaint
and demand that the PUB not be thwarted in its investigation by Bill 29 or recent
legislation permitting Nalcor to maintain a high level of secrecy in its
commercial arrangements.

The group
has launched a Face Book Page called  “thetruthaboutblackouts” which sets out
the complaint process under Section 84 of the Public Utilities Act.  It provides a “Model Complaint” for the use by
any group of 5 persons who wishes to lodge such a formal written complaint. 

By the
Government’s own admission, up to 220,000 power customers have been denied
power or have been subject to “rolling black-outs”.  People have suffered, schools and
post-secondary institutions have been closed, the operations of vital
industries such as the Come By Chance Refinery have been shut or curtailed.

the entire customer base of Newfoundland Power was affected by the power black
outs of the past week”, states the group, “and many experienced both personal
and financial loss.  The public must be
permitted to hear the evidence themselves and engage in the public hearing
process.  This must be the first step in
restoring public confidence in its power utility that has been badly shaken.”

The Letter of Complaint to the PUB includes 11 issues all of which, the five members
believe, require investigation because they are critical to the safety,
reliability and security of the electrical system now and in the future. 

should tell their stories of inconvenience and hardship.  We will help facilitate that process”, says
the Group.

Section 84(2) of the Public Utilities Act once a complaint is made by five
persons the PUB may conduct an investigation and may conduct public hearings as
part of that process.

If you or
any of your family suffered during these power back-outs or if you have
information that can aid the PUB in its investigation of Nalcor’s equipment or
management failures you should go to this Facebook address.  Given all that people have endured these past
few days, they surely ought to record and tell their stories to an independent

With the
Premier already devising the Government’s own inquiry which will include a
review of the PUB itself, you need to be on guard.  The Premier warned that changes to the PUB
might be coming when it refused to endorse the Muskrat Falls Project.  We can only wonder what retribution the
Premier has in store for that Agency.

The PUB’s
investigation may be your only opportunity for an independent review of the problems
of our electrical system and the management of Nalcor.

investigatory powers of the PUB should be unfettered in getting to the bottom
of what has occurred.  I have a suspicion
that a lot of elderly people, who suffered through this “crises” and many more,
will thank you for caring enough to file that Complaint.

The only
requirement is the signatures of five people. 
The Facebook Page contains a “Kit” that

will make the job very easy.

Let’s see if
Nalcor can stand the scrutiny of independent investigation.

Let’s see if
the Premier threatens to limit the PUB’s investigation.  

Don’t just be
satisfied that the lights are on, for now! 



Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. I have a couple of suggestions:
    Instead of your 'letter' being housed in your 'about' section of the page, post it in your timeline and 'pin' it to the top. Also, your photos are at such small pixel size they are almost impossible to view – ensure they are at '500 by 500' or thereabouts. Keep it up…..regards, need change soon. and need someone other than school teachers and bureacrats running provincial government.