Full Report Supply Issues and Power Outgages…..Phase One Report September 29, 2016

It is rare that any Report conducted by Government, or any its Agencies, is so straightforward that it requires no interpretation or commentary. The Public Utilities Board has just released its FINAL Phase One Report on what led to the outages – now inscribed in history as #DARKNL – and who is responsible. This Blog has frequently reported on the PUB’s work as well as on the Reports of The Liberty Consulting Group – the PUB’s Consultant. I have reprinted the Board’s short conclusion here and I have added a very brief note at the end. It is truly an eye-opener as to how poorly “state-owned enterprises” (SOES) like Nalcor, of which NL Hydro is  a subsidiary, are run.  

Here is the PUB’s PHASE 1 Conclusion: – Des Sullivan

One Final Comment:

When a Board, like the Public Utilities Board, does a good job the fact should be recognized. The PUB’s fine work has been proven through in its handling of the investigations surrounding #DARKNL. In addition, under great pressure from the Government to do otherwise, the Board refused to endorse the Muskrat Falls project – a decision the public can now only begin to appreciate as the cost of the project continues to climb. As a reminder, this is what the PUB stated in its Report at that time:

The Board concludes
that the information provided by Nalcor in the review is not detailed, complete
or current enough to determine whether the Interconnected Option represents the
least-cost option for the supply of power to Island Interconnected customers
over the period of 2011-2067, as compared to the Isolated Island Option.

When independent institutions, like the PUB send out such warnings, as it has again respecting the state our power generation assets and the risk of further outages, we should listen and demand better from the Government – which is ultimately responsible.

When we ignore Agencies like the PUB, we diminish the role they play in the provision of not just good  but transparent governance. We ignore them at our own peril.

To Chairman and CEO Andy Wells, Vice-Chair Darlene Whelan, and Commissioners Dwanda Newman and James Oxford – hats off – a job well done!

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. Without your encouragement, I would have missed this report. Reading it now. I concur with your assessment of the report. It represents a major achievement for the PUB and a mighty contribution to the people of NL.

  2. Hats off to you Des. I find it atrocious that the PUB was denied oversight on the MF project as a result of Bill 29 ( for which the Dunderdale Govt should be publically flogged).
    Danny Williams and Cathy Dunderdale will go down in history as egotistical buffoons for (1)Williams' pursuit of a risky venture to satisify his own ego and falling out with HQ. & (2) Cathy Dunderdale's sanctioning of William's idiocity after he was out of the public eye. I think she was still under his "behind the scenes" heavy handedness.
    Either way these two Premiers will go down in history as the two single most catastrophic premiers EVER.
    This province is on the verge of bankruptcy because of them and those of us who are left having to pay for their lunacy will forever see them for what they did to us.
    For God's sake, Williams won't even acknowledge the severity of the MF fiasco, still saying it is a good deal!!!
    and Dunderdale is hiding away like a dog with its tail between its legs and won't even comment on it.
    If ever there was an inquiry needed it should be into the MF project and how it ever got to where it is. This would expose Williams' and Dunderdale's incompetance in handling other people's money and future.
    If the PUB was left to do its work on the MF project(as it should have been)it would never have gotten off the ground and we would not be in the mess we are today.

    I'm signing this as "anonymous" because of what Williams' venom could do to my children and grandchildren in seeking employment in the future.

  3. The magnitude of ineptitude clearly evident in the so-called "leaders" put in place to manage the affairs of the province calls into question the capability of NLers to competently govern themselves. The consequences are that NLers of this resource-rich province wind up having to pay a "deficit levy" and $1.30/L for gasoline, while our neighbours in the Maritimes are only paying about a $1.00/L for gas and no levy. And these gouges on NL taxpayers were imposed to cover off the idiotic screw-ups by those whom NLers have put in place to govern them. This chronic incompetence and ineptitude has a very direct and negative impact on the personal finances of NLers… it is in fact costing the people of the province. I can emphatically state that I myself have absolutely no intention whatsoever of staying in NL when I'm ready to retire… I simply refuse, nor will I be able to afford, to continue being gouged so as to fund the bizarre antics of these lunatics whilst on fixed income, therefore my retirement strategy now includes relocation to another province. No doubt there are many, many other NLers who are likewise planning a similar strategy to avoid the chronic and woefully incompetent governance of this province. This wayward approach to governance cannot go on, it's simply unsustainable.