Democracy on the Rocks

Guest Post by David Vardy

“Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” 

Dylan Thomas was talking about death. Death is also the issue
in our province, namely the death of democracy. 
Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for evil to prevail
is for good men to do nothing.”

If good people remain silent when evil is being done our
democracy will die. Our democracy is a fragile flower. It must be watered and
fed. It must be protected against those who would hurt it.

Muskrat Falls has been a case study in the failure of democracy,
a microcosm of a far bigger problem. Unless we fix it urgently our democracy
will die.

Muskrat Falls was promoted by a small clique, a group of
fawning acolytes led by former Premier Danny Williams. It has grown into a
$12.7 billion disaster which threatens our political sovereignty and our
economic survival. The project was bulldozed through by a strong leader who
created a powerful state apparatus, Nalcor Energy, as the chosen instrument to
circumvent due process, exempting the project from the jurisdiction of the PUB
and overruling the advice of the joint federal provincial environmental panel.
Those who opposed the project were intimidated and silenced. This silencing and
intimidation continues under another leader and a different party. 

Uncle Gnarley’s recent report called The Rooms Says Don’t Apply If You Are a Critic of the Government showed us the tip
of what is a huge iceberg. While not surprised we cannot fail to be shocked by
this unintended portrait of the ugly underbelly of our political system. The
Rooms has told the world that it will not retain a contractor that represented
a lobby group protesting Muskrat Falls, or a group or industry actively and/or
openly working in conflict against the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

This is in clear violation of the Human Rights Act, which strictly
prohibits discrimination based on political opinion. We cannot be surprised
because the evidence of such behaviour is overwhelming. Yet we are shocked with
the explicit statement of an ugly truth.
This confirms the clear evidence all around us that government
will discriminate against and punish any of its citizens who are not aligned
with the policies of the government. This discrimination is not confined to the
Rooms; it pervades the government of Newfoundland and Labrador like an
insidious and malignant disease. Dissidents and naysayers will be punished if
they speak out. The result is a deafening silence in our community.

Crown corporations and agencies have been conscripted into the
punishing of those who fail publicly to endorse and boost the party in power.
Our public service has long upheld a proud commitment to excellence,
professionalism, and non-partisanship. Has it now allowed itself to depart from
its tradition of independence by being complicit in illegal behaviour which
discriminates against citizens on the basis of raw political partisanship? What
has happened to the merit principle in public service recruitment?
The most tragic aspect of this is that so many citizens have
allowed themselves to be silenced. Some are silenced by intimidation, people
who fear losing their jobs or placing the employment of loved ones in jeopardy.
How can they tolerate bringing up their families in this politically charged
environment without raging “against the dying of the light”?
People have willingly sacrificed the exercise of their
fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under our Human Rights Act
provincially and under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, nationally,
including “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom
of the press and other media of communications.”
There are many barometers of the state of our democracy. We
will list some of them.
1.     PUB Jurisdiction Removed
Exemption of the Muskrat Falls project from the jurisdiction
of the PUB. This removed the consideration of alternatives and the testing of
projections and assumptions. It circumscribed the choices and placed the
province on the path to irreparable harm, building a project which placed
enormous risks on a small and static population. It deprived the citizens of
the province of the means to make rational choices and to weigh the pros and
cons of alternative courses of action.
2.     Joint Panel Report Dismissed
Failure to consider and accept the recommendations of the
joint panel and to consider the serious negative impact of the project
particularly on people living close by.

3.     Attack against Quasi-Judicial Board
Premier Dunderdale attacked the PUB in the House of Assembly
for failing to endorse the Muskrat Falls project. This showed utter contempt
for the quasi-judicial board, whose role it is to protect the public from
monopoly power. 
4.     Denial of right to protest
People in Labrador concerned about the threat posed to their
health and safety had no recourse but to occupy the site and engage in hunger
strikes in the absence of a due process offering an independent investigation
and assessment of the merits of their grievances. Three issues have emerged
that call for an independent ombudsperson, namely methyl mercury contamination
of food, the risk that glacio-marine clays at the North Spur will liquefy and
the issue of flooding at Mud Lake.

5.     Powers given to Nalcor
Under the Energy Corporation Act Nalcor was allowed to
withhold information by placing “commercial sensitivity” above the public’s
right to transparency and accountability. The failure to disclose the contracts
of embedded contractors is a good example of this withholding of information.
Nalcor has been enabled to exercise control over the reporting of the Auditor
General on the grounds of “commercial sensitivity”. 
6.     Buying silence in the community
Nalcor Energy has been active throughout the province in
charitable giving. That is not the mandate of a crown corporation. In response
to an ATIPPA request we have learned the magnitude of these grants, in the
order of $1 million a year. Have these contributions and donations been used to
buy silence in the community using our own money?
7.     Memorial Board of Regents
Up until recently Nalcor Energy had two Vice Presidents on the
Board of Regents of Memorial University. What influence did these people exercise?
Did they attempt to silence the academic community from engaging in public
policy dialogue on the Muskrat Falls project?

8.     Political Patronage in Public Service Recruitment 

We have failed to remove patronage from public service
appointments. During the Moores administration there was an attempt to remove
cronyism and nepotism from the public service through the creation of an
independent Public Service Commission. In an environment where the expression
of dissident views is frowned upon do we have any assurance that highly
qualified candidates are not being rejected in favour of political aligned
individuals whose expertise and experience falls short of candidates known to
have dissident views?

9.     Political Patronage in contracting and procurement
Just how fair is our Public Tendering Act? How much work is
awarded without an open public tendering process? We understand that Ministers
exercise an enormous amount of discretion in the award of consulting work. As
with the Rooms we expect that contractors who are not strongly aligned with the
governing party, deemed to be “openly working in conflict against the
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador” are unlikely to be successful.
10.    Election financing 
The financing of our political parties is wide open. While
there are expenditure limits there are no limits on contributions that
companies and unions can give. Promises to introduce reform are made during
each election campaign and subsequently shunted aside. This system invites
The form of governance in this province is based on first past
the post and, with only three parties, we normally have a majority government,
one in which the governing party has absolute power and where the leader is
accountable to the party, and not to citizens or even to the House of Assembly.
The system is open to abuse of power by charismatic leaders. In many respects
the growth of new parties should be welcomed, as should candidates with no
party affiliation. However, without changes in how elections are financed, this
is unlikely to happen. 
Rage against the dying of the light!
We must not allow the shocking disclosure of practices at the
Rooms to be overlooked. A clarion call should go forth that this kind of
behaviour is not acceptable. We as citizens should not allow our system of
government to be corrupted as it has been. Citizens should not be subject to ad
hominem attacks when they express their opinions on public policy issues.
Instead, dissenting opinions should be welcome in a free and open society. We
need a huge paradigm shift.  
We must focus on the silence and urge those who have been
cowed into silence to “rage against the dying of the light.” We must promote
the idea that those who fall silent in order to protect their jobs or those of
friends and relatives are performing no service to themselves or to their friends
and relatives. They are instead enabling and sustaining dictatorship. 
By their silence too many people have enabled the governing
party to suppress democracy and silence dissent. The next election must be
about democracy. We need to begin the conversation about how to change our
political system to establish accountability. 
Politicians should not be allowed to retire in comfort when it
is an established fact they have inflicted enormous harm on future generations
of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. 
The incident at the Rooms should be a trigger to wake us up to
what is happening and take remedial action. The decision-making process for
Muskrat Falls is a symptom of profound problems in our political system. The
root cause of the massive economic and financial risks of Muskrat Falls can be
traced to our failing democracy. Reforms to our political system must be our
urgent and immediate priority if we are to avert the “dying of the light” in our

David Vardy


If a Big Mac costs McDonalds $10 to produce and it is sold for $1.50, McDonalds will go out of business. They would not declare a profit!


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.


  1. Much can be said about democracy, but so little is being said, because we take it for granted that we live in a democracy, since the time we were born, and through our school age days, and into adulthood. So most of us don't give it a second taught. And that taught is verbally reinforced every day by our politicans, centres of learning, schools, and the Rooms. So, why would we think our democracy is failing? No, we are not being jailed, like we hear about in some dictatorships around the world, it is more shuttle than that, and being undermined so as to bring least attention to it, as qualifying every statement, with "in the best interest of the people." How many times did you hear that kind of statement, by politicans during the sanctioning of muskrat. When we hear our govt. using these words, it implies that the average Joe doesn't know what is good for him, so govt. has to tell him. It means we are incapable of thinking for ourselves, we are being told what to think. And a lot of people will fall for it. We are being massaged by the system for the wrong reasons. Guess we can call it the "dying if the light."

  2. At the risk of being figuratively "tarred and feathered" on this blog, I have to take issue with some of the points raised in this article and last week's related one from UG. Granted the example used by the Rooms in its description of conflict of interest was a poor one but what are Mr. Vardy and UG saying? That a firm should be able to work in opposition to Government policy on one hand while seeking Government business on the other? For example, say Government were to publicly seek a public relations firm to promote the seal industry in this province then, are they saying, that the public relation firms for anti-sealing groups should be considered for and potentially awarded this work if they chose to apply? Would we be willing to tolerate such a conflict of interest?

    In last week's column UG wondered "Do job offerings and promotions at The Rooms carry a similar precondition (alignment with Government policy), explicitly or implied?" If UG feels that a Government employee should have free reign on opinion and efforts external to their role then he should have been incensed at the Bern Coffey's departure.

    I will agree that there can be a fine line between undue influence by Government via economic means (contracts, employment etc) and the need to maintain freedom of opinion. There needs to be a serious discussion on the matter but is naïve to think that it is as black and white as presented here.

    • I think you make an excellent point, and maybe there is no black and white answer. But if I may talk in terms of American current politics for the purpose of discussion. Trump has been trying to kill the Russian association/investigation of his presidency. The FBI and other investigative authorities are being vilified by Trumpie every day. They have their personal politics, but does in interfere with their being able to do their job. Everyone may have their opinion on that, but what do you do about it. To take it one step further, most of the upper election of the FBI, are known republicans, Muller for example, most were appointed directly by trump, Session for example, and his deputy, we're both appointed by trump, as the two top law enforcers of the govt. and the nation. And of course trump has been trying to get rid of all of them, as he wants to stop the investigation. So my point is because people are connected by political stripe, can they not rise above that as professionals to do the job that is required, in accordance to the constitution, or the law of the land. I think here is a good example of people doing that. Now could a similar argument be made about sealing. Can the persons rise above their own personal beliefs, if the law of the land is to harvest seals in a humain manner. If they can't, and prove that by their action, then I guess we need a muller to reassign them as he did with those under him, when they made bias statements against Trumpie. Seems these particular individuals may have allowed their personal beliefs to interfere with the professional conduct. Clear as mud for sure, but certainly has some grey area, and not totally black and white. But hope you get my point, as it is clear in my mind.

    • A crown corporation should not be allowed to descriminate for anything other than price, past performance of contracts (on time delivery) and quality. The idea that say, a business couldn't sell snow blowers to a school board, or cleaning supplies to the rooms because they or one of their employees was Dave or Des is very corrupt. We hire lawyers to represent us all even though they have argued the opposite point numerous times. I agree there are exceptions (like hiring an anti seal group to promote the seal hunt – where their motives might be actually to sabotage) but this is rare.

      The above article is very very important. I see it every day from within government. Dissent is stifled and we are being pillaged. We need to organize and fight back.

  3. I work in the public service and, as a senior employee in my department, I was recently assigned to work on a high profile event in St. John's. It was being run by a very well known economist. He had me removed from the project because he felt I was too politically active. He said there would be government ministers present and he didn't want me there. He was cautioned that I am a professional and my superiors had no doubt I would not bring any political agenda to the events. He insisted and my superiors gave in. He didn't even try and hide the discrimination because he knows he will be supported by administration and those who sign my cheques.

    • I guess you are living proof of what mr. Vardy and UG have been saying. The under belly of our democracy showing. If you could as you say, not let your personal beliefs interfere with your professional beliefs and conduct, then your superiors should have allowed yo to attend the project, until you proved or demonstrated otherwise. But because your superiors did not give you the opportunity or a fair chance, unless you proved yourself in a earlier similar situation, that you were not able seperate the two, it showed bias on their part, and the state of politics in this province. Maybe we need more mullers here.

    • There has never been an incident where my personal or political beliefs have impacted my performance at work, nor would I ever use a work event as an opportunity to express my views on any matter. I take great pride in representing my department and my organization in the most respectful, professional manner and also ensuring clients leave the experience feeling positive and that their agenda was well served. I should have included that information in my original comment as it certainly is important background!

    • It's no different from when PC Party staffers were threatened with losing their jobs if they didn't participate in voting on online polls. Direct order from PC Party cronies like Brian Taylor.Taylor told them their jobs were 24/7 for the party and if they didn't follow directives, they would be let go. Ask Paul Lane why he terminated one of his constituency assistants? They refused to spend their days and nights voting on online polls. All this while taxpayers were paying these employees.

  4. This is a true story from very recent history, but anonymized to protect the person who related it, who I will call Bob.

    Bob was an employee of a non-profit organization, let's call it the Council of Neighbours, which received government funds to carry out a social good for a certain disadvantaged demographic. Bob was also, on his own time and own dime, active in a political organization which was (very mildly and very fairly) critical of the provincial government of the day on various issues of public importance.

    The Premier of the day, who I will call Premier Jones, did not take kindly to Bob expressing his views in public. Premier Jones summoned the Minister who was also MHA for that area, let's say Minister Roberts, and ordered Minister Roberts to pull the program funding that Minister Roberts' department provided to the Council of Neighbours.

    The Council of Neighbours, understandably, freaked out, and the clients of the Council started bombarding the Minister and Premier with phone calls and emails. The campaign escalated to the point where it was difficult for some people in Premier Jones' office to get any work done.

    Premier Jones called Minister Roberts back to the office, and berated the Minister. "Look what you've done, you idiot, you have to fix this!"

    Never mind that Minister Roberts was only carrying out the petty and vindictive orders of Premier Jones. Sure enough, the Council of Neighbours got its funding back.

    How many other such cases might there have been during the Premier Jones era?

  5. Interesting comments, that generally support Vardy's opinion. But of all comments above , not one give their name……so the fear of speaking out is very real. While somewhat understandable, the extent of the problem is obvious by all the anoms that comment.
    So how much do we value democracy that is open and transparent and freedoms and rights protected?
    Winston Adams

    • In the current financial climate in our province most of us in the middle class are wage slaves. It's so tough to make ends meet in this province now as it is – no one I know can afford to lose a job based on principles – no matter how strong they are. And I guess those up on the hill know that perfectly well.

    • Newfoundlanders have never valued democracy. They view government the way Trump does. It's transactional. It's what they can get out of it. It's what-have-you-done-for-me-lately. It's "us" getting "our" road paved because "we" voted to "be on the government team", while revelling in the fact that they got nothing two towns over for having voted "wrong".

    • I'm not like that personally – I have risked much in many ways to protest the wrongs of this government. But – I have to agree with your assessment of the general attitude towards democracy in this province. 🙁

  6. A comment on the previous posting about the Rooms,(bias against those who oppose Muskrat Falls), asked whether Stan Marshall and some others were gutless, in the sense of knowing circumstances but not acting to do anything about it.
    On reflection, it seems appropriate, that during this spring snow melt, (usually in May month, when the Churchill River crests, risking flooding at Mud Lake and area),we remember the the certainty that Stan Marshall gave that there will be no flooding and no failure of the North Spur.
    Last year Mud Lake indeed flooded, which Nalcor blamed on anything other than Nalcor.
    Perhaps the residents of Mud Lake should extend a heartfelt welcome to Stan Marshall to visit for the week of the river crest. And include Premier Ball, Minister Coady, and Gilbert Bennett.
    What better assurance to the people there, that these officials who express certainty in Nalcor's design and operation of Muskrat Falls, indeed do have guts, and be willing to take the risk that residents there endure. One can only imagine that the reply to such an invitation will be swift and positive.

    • I agree with you AG, but would include the 4 previous premiers prior to ball, along with Eddie. And to make it a real party, those who sat in the house, with their mouths shut, until it was time to say"yea" to muskrat. May as well thrown in the whole lot, and see how many are gutless.

  7. Discrimination has be exemplified in the case of Labrador Coastal Equipment Ltd (LCEL), O/A Newfound Energies.
    Ever since the election of Danny Williams on Oct. 21, 2003, this company has been disqualified from bidding on any tenders that are related to the Energy Sector or take part in Renewable Energy projects that have been offered to the province at no charge. When the L'Anse-au-Loup K-12 School was announced in the fall of 2008, LCEL started to put together a plan to offer a free wind power system as an alternative to the planned oil fired hot water radiation furnace that was included in the plan by AMEC. We started to contact the Dept of Education and were given the proverbial runaround by all departments, we did finally get an opportunity to make a presentation, only to find out that Minister of Nat. Resources, Cathy Dunderdale rejected the offer. There were outright lies and false statements made at the conference we attended and we proved the statement that I am making right now. Dunderdale said it was too late to consider the offer in a phony statement to the Telegram on Mar. 12, 2009. She was acting on direction from Williams in this case because this project and many other previous projects would have proven how successful Wind Power would have been and this would have certainly caused more pressure to consider Wind Power as the lowest cost option verses the Muskrat Falls project which has undeniably been proven to be the HIGHEST COST OPTION and most unlikely possibility of ever being owned by the people of this province. There have been cases where the province purchased solar systems from outside Canada for 10 times more than LCEL could have offered the same system. The purchased systems also failed and they got no warranty. This list can go on & on and further strengthens the accusations of corruption & collusion that is still going on to this day. I know that I have just added another nail in the coffin but I am willing to take my chances which are nil at this time unless the greed and corruption ends once and for all. There will likely be a price on my head if I am successful in getting a new political party set up in this province that will see the removal of all the corruption, collusion and greed.
    I believe that the population should have another option to consider and most likely having a new party that has no political experience is the way to go. Groomed politicians an not what we need going forward. There are many honest, sincere and dedicated persons out there that will take pride in saying, give us a chance to prove ourselves and the desire to build a new horizon will strengthen our ability to succeed and finally prevail. your comments would be greatly appreciated and if we get together we can fine tune this action plan and get the Ball rolling out of our lives.

    • Gerry,
      Read the content of your web site.
      1.Most seems the result of an overactive imagination, or smoking the wackie backie, which you call a vision.
      2. Much on wind and solar as our energy source…….and which just happens to be items you promote and sell at very high prices, and often not cost effective ( but wind was and is undervalued by Nalcor). Are you personally disconnected from the grid with wind and solar?
      3. Your colorful image show 3 wind generators, all the rotors in the exact same position, so very likely stopped , maybe because it is a calm day, so producing no energy…….must be using solar and battery backup?
      4. You must expect a windfall to pay for all this vision, and at a time went we are in such financial difficulty.
      5. No doubt you , like others get screwed around by the govn crowd, but surely your vision is not what most consider workable, but a fantasy.
      6 No demand meters on commercial buildings? What a great idea for conservation?
      7 Joey Smallwood made promises of pie in the sky, but you outdo him by far.
      Winston Adams

    • Why did the media not break the Rooms story? Why did a private citizen have to bring this to the light of day, for which the ceo of the rooms has apologized for in the example in their advertisement? The brave fearless media promptly parroted his apology. Why did they not break this story? Maybe they are too busy at the court house, or chasing an ambulance or a fire truck. Aren't the media supposed to be the watch dog of government and agencies and just not a passive recorder of events. Maybe they are just following their elite direct orders. Jefferson declared "we're it left to me to decide if we should have a government without a newspaper, or a newspaper without a government, I would not hesitate to prefer the latter" I think this is just as true today as it was in his time. Maybe newspaper would be used in a much broader scense today, to include all media and just not a newspaper. I suspect our local media have gone to journalist schools etc. and know their job. But they are certainly not doing it. Maybe they have to answer to their elite bosses, and are just as scared of their jobs, as the few civil servants we just heard from. My job is more important to me than doing my professional job. To quote one notable nation builder, "democracy is impossible without a free press".

    • Winston
      Thank you for your comments.
      1)This vision is a starting point and is no more out to lunch than the Muskrat Falls project was but it happened. Fortunately if this vision happens everyone wins and corruption will be a thing of the past.
      2)I am on the grid without wind or solar because on or off the grid, it is illegal for me to do. Our services are specialized and are very cost effective and come with extended warranty and 24/7 tech support at no charge.
      3)The wind turbine image is just that but the whole horizon includes another still rendering of Clean water, land & wind to support the farming of vegetables, cattle, poultry, dairy, fishing, tourism, transportation, urban & rural settings, which can all be expanded to provide unlimited employment and generate a wholesome lifestyle for all.
      4)The windfall to pay for this vision will be provided when we shake down Nalcor and many other outrageous undertakings that are going on every day that provide no return.
      5)A fantasy is not an accurate description of something that can happen and the only way that we can all start this is to clean house then we can gradually see this so called fantasy come to be.
      6)The commercial clients in this province are being taken advantage of when it comes to the demand charges on their utility bills, this would be a start to encourage more small businesses to start and be more successful. The right kind of power generation can lower energy costs significantly and still cost less to produce.
      7)Joey Smallwood has come and gone, I believe he had some good qualities but for now we must not compare an new vision to something that happened in the past. I believe we should learn from the mistakes of others and those that have taken advantage for financial gain. Now is the time to realize that the sky, is the limit and we are better positioned to make this vision a reality because of the desperate situation we have been forced into. I personally would never require any more money than it takes to pay my way and live a reasonable life style. That was taken away from me on Oct 21, 2003.
      Thank you again for your opinion, we need more comments from a broad spectrum of our population to have confidence in the changes that I believe can happen. I will stand up for our democratic rights no matter what the cost.

    • Thanks for your reply Gerry. I believe you are headed in the right direction,and have some good ideas, and we all need to consider the opinions of others. If only a part of your vision was possible, what 12.7 billion could have done in that direction.
      Of course , with climate change, if we don't move further and faster toward your vision, we are all doomed if we don't stop using fossil fuel.
      I would suggest the opposite for demand charges, and require then on large houses, or nay house using more than 10kw. Some monster houses are using 35 or more kw of resistance , baseboard or duct heaters, one house using as much as 7 or 8 average house, all these rich people being subsidized by the average Joe. About 1 million dollars per house in connection cost alone, if fed solely from Muskrat! Such is the insanity.
      I have voted GREEN in the past, so we are on the same path.

  8. Until we rise up as a people, in open revolt of our Governing 'leaders', this destruction of our way of life and our province will continue. People are so consumed by their electronic screens (iPhones, and androids and tablets and nintendos etc.) that they are either unaware or are apathetic to what is going on in the world around them. It is time that we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians stand up and throw these political masters and puppeteers out of our province. Throw them all out. If they won't go willingly…. well, that's why it's called a revolution.

  9. If a law was broken with the Rooms incident is it going to be pursued/lawful action or just ignored? The downfall of pretty much all Newfoundlander's is the vast majority don't have the stomach to follow anything like this thru and not let it slide. Hence it will keep on continuing until we have nothing. We will blame the government/'s in the end but it will ultimately be the fault of the people themselves. It's sickening..

    • In a true democracy anyone is permitted to bring their biased, informed or uninformed opinion to print, including you. World democracy does not begin at the narrows and end on Duckworth street. And if I also want to quote Jefferson, I will, and not just leave it to some of our dimwits, and so called democracy leaders.

    • Good point Robert. Jefferson, thought a slave owner, and wrote the declaration of Independence, , apparently said that "a free press and informed public was the key to keeping democracy". Here we have neither a free press nor an informed public.

    • Are all minisplits created equal? Jefferson felt that all people were not created equal, as women and blacks were not allowed to vote, only white men.
      The black man got the vote a century later, only because it was a tool to get them to join the North to fight the Rebs, and to save the Union. It took another 50 years for the woman to get the vote. In Canada First nation people never got the vote until the 1960s, about half a century after women.
      So as to created equal:white men, black men, women, First Nation people, in that order. This under white man laws…..our Creator was not consulted, but god is considered by most to look like a white man, and must be the logic used!
      Now to minisplits: they are definitely not created equal.
      What to look for?
      1. Good performance at low temperatures, wanting at least to -15 C, and most that are so listed will actually handle -20 C, some even colder (desirable if in central Nfld)
      2.NS required performance with COP of at least 1.75 at -15 C, and many makes exceed this, under dry cold outdoor conditions. Damp cold impedes performance some, but not much.
      3. Look for a blue fin coating on the outdoor unit, it prevents corrosion on the aluminum fins from salt environment. This may extend the fin life form 10 to 30 years. If inland, not so necessary.
      4. Some makes defrost often and others less often. The most expensive model that I see defrosts often, and while this may appear good, it generally is less efficient, and shortens the life of the unit form thermal stress…….so maybe a coil will fail after 15 years instead of 30 years.
      5. Many brands are cheap and not good models, made by some mgf but stamped with a distributor name……I would avoid them generally, unless you know who actually made them and study the specs carefully.
      6. Much depends on your installer; a good brand and good installer would give good results. A good brand and poor installer gives poor results. 90 percent of all problems is with the installer, the most common problem is a poor flare connection on the piping, and a leak shows up months later.
      7. Availability of parts in case of failure: if a unit fails in Dec, it may take APril to get it fixed, and you lose your winter energy savings. If parts readily available, you may be up and running in a couple of weeks. Many installers are not repairmen, or able to troubleshoot…… installer knowledge is important, but sometimes good luck gives no trouble even with installer that is not so good.
      8. For central Nfld , some models now have a built in drain pan heater. These consume some energy, and not needed unless very cold outdoors.
      9. My expectations for a good system without serious problems is 20 years. 15 years is not bad, and more than 20 years would be excellent. I am into year 8 and all is ok. Unit paid for in 5-6 years.
      9. Newer good models is about 20 percent more efficient that mine.
      10. Single head units is more efficient than multihead, but multihead is sometimes more practical for larger houses.
      11.NS shows about 10 or more mfg that meets requirements, but I think about half of these are the better makes, and most are handled locally …….Japanese or Korea makes, none made in the USA as far as I know. Daikan, Fitjisu, Pansonaic, and LG and Mitibiti, all good brands I suggest, but only 2 , I think has the blue fin. And Mitibiti, 30 percent more expensive, I think , but less efficient than some others , as they defrost too often, and lacks blue fin.
      Hope this helps, as minisplits are peculiar technology but generally 3 times more efficient than baseboard heaters. Go for quality on the make, and quality on installers, even if a bit more expensive, if will pay in the long run.

    • I forgot to mention, that next to a good model, is proper sizing, which is a contractor issue:
      If a good unit is undersized as to capacity to meet the cold temperatures, it will overload and not meet good efficiency when cold. It may be fine to -5 C , but not when colder when you most need to save a lot of energy. So, this in not the fault of the unit, but sizing, and some perhaps half of contractors undersize to save a few bucks, but you lose big bucks on energy saving, and we all lose on the grid peak load reduction, and using less fuel at Holyrood.

  10. This blog is apparently quite powerful and feared by some in power. Des and Dave broke this story wide open and VOCM/CBC said nothing. Yet, the retraction to something that was never in the mainstream news was on the morning TV news. So the press is used to suppress important news and called upon for damage control when needed.

  11. A story appearing on VOCM and the Telegram regarding Jim Lester allegedly blocking Dwight Ball from entering a room at Confederation Building. The stories are primarily focused on this blocking but in view of this UG article perhaps the bigger story is the reason he was trying to speak with Ball. One story indicated that Lester wanted to discuss his ongoing attempt to purchase some crown land which the government has now recently put out to public tender. Is this another case of an elected official using his influence for personal gain and was the governments decision to put the land out to tender an act of vengeance as Lester is now a opposition member????

  12. Winston:

    Thank you for your specs on mini splits.

    Heating for 2200 sq. feet including basement is what
    we need. Living in Conception Bay South, our winter
    is possibly a little warmer than most areas of the
    province. It may be, however, that getting a good
    installer/repair combination will be a challenge.
    We are only beginning to look at the mini split
    option and have just begun the "shopping". Your
    information provides a good start. It can benefit
    many of us on this blog as alternative heat options
    become necessary with Muskrat drawing ever closer.

    • The better the protection from wind and snow the better (and so attic mounting optimum, but not easily done for an existing house) exposure to high wind tends to impede good defrosts, under a vandra helps keeps snow off, although melding snow off a vandra can get sucked through the coil, freeze unto the fan blade and throught it out of balance and sometimes damage the fan prop, so try and prevent water dropping toward the back of the unit.
      Southern side is best, as some days with the sun shining the temperature can be say 10 F warmer in the daytime, and this give about 20 percent better efficiency than on the north side, during the day. It all helps.

      I had hoped that Take Charge and our power companies would provide tips for customers for best practises to maximize energy savings, but seems not to agree with shareholder profits, or the MF economic case, so homeowners not getting much help from them.
      I have heard about, but not seen, a full weather enclosue made in NB ,costing about 300.00, made of fiberglass or plastic that gives good wind and snow protection and said to work well…….perhaps others can comment.

    • The red line ( should be a black line to symbolise the coal and black smoke) ….
      We imported dirty power for 8 or 9 days to the end of Feb, but only for 1 hour so far in March.
      Our demand has been low and seems our hydro taking care of most, and they must keep Holyrood at at least a low output, as if they shut down it takes a long time to bring it back up.
      Maybe we have saved 50 cents to a dollar per person for Feb and half a cent for March so far from coal. Part of the BIG PICTURE.
      Perhaps someone from Nalcor can state the accurate savings per person, given Marshall made a big deal of this.

    • Appears the capacity of coal power was constant at about 108MW they claimed, and droppped for a short while to half of that.
      As the ML is good for 500MW, and just each of the 3 units at Holyrood , about 170 MW, the coal power is not very significant, and much worse as to pollutants. 12.7 billion to go Green , and we get that crap, ans supposed to feel good about it! Can make your blood boil, John Efford might say.

    • Ok, the red/black line is not blowing much soothe for us these days. What a
      Surprises me it they haven't started sending our cheap bay d'despair power across the ML, that is the free power or 5 cent power, maybe the contract has not kicked in, but sure they would to make it appear we are making income from ns for the 5 cent power. And get holyrood really going for us at the 30 or 50 cent power. Wouldn't be surprised if they started that any day now. Omg…just a few months I guess before the free power starts going anyway.

    • Sorry, but my reading would be you are a nalcor fanatical, that doesn't want anything discussed.. I think the heat pumps discussion is quite revelant, as we will all probably have one in our future. I don't think anyone is using this blog to put money in their own pockets from the sale or use of heat pumps. I think it is mainly informational. If I am wrong, please speak up.

    • Look, the stated purpose of the UG blog is a forum to offer up for discussion "Opinions On Newfoundland Politics That Bite", as is plainly written on the UG title heading at the top of this page.

      Those who wish to discuss the pros and cons of various types of HVAC equipment and related matters can easily initiate their own blog entirely devoted to that subject… rather than discourteously co-opting this one and monopolizing the discussion of their own special interests to the detriment of other UG blog participants who have absolutely no interest in the subject of HVAC whatsoever.

      Do you understand?

    • Perhaps if Anom identified himself/herself, the complaint could be taken more seriously.
      Some facts;
      1. Muskrat, (the boondoggle) was built to address/solve, it was stated, the problem of increasing winter peak load from baseboard electric heat, especially for the residential sector, least cost to shut Holyrood .
      2. Space heat is a component of HVAC(Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning).Of these, heating is of special concern to all residents that use electric heat, the vast majority of Nflders, with ventilation and air conditioning of little concern. Heat cost is the elephant in the room.
      3. Doubt that few have absolutely no interest in the subject of future heating costs, with power rates about to double. On the contrary, it is a growing concern.
      4. The few that are disinterested can ignore the comments, but few complain, and no one who complains give heir name, so may be a Nalcor troll or a scallywag?
      5. Agreed that the growing interest in heating costs and how to mitigate it, deserves a dedicated blog. As I lack the computer skills and time to have a blog, anyone interested, I would assist with that endeaver, as the power companies fail miserably to assist and inform homeowners.
      6. Obviously, the opinions that such simple low cost alteratives to the 12.7 billion dollar fiasco were ignored, seems to bite, big time, some readers of this blog, and are anxious that the public and Leblanc not address least cost alternatives that were ignored :Demand Side Management (Conservation and Energy Efficiency)
      Do you understand , anon? And besides, I am into my last month of one year monitoring of 300 dollar a year heat costs. Why shut me, and others interested readers, down now? I can soon produce evidence, not mere statements.
      Winston Adams

    • Mr. Adams…

      I choose to post anonymously for personal reasons, and also because the UG blog encourages all relevant commentary, from both named as well as anonymous sources.

      If you cannot respect my decision to post anonymously, then that's your problem, not mine.

    • ANON
      That you are anonymous is not a problem for me at all, and just takes away from your argument, for whatever reason you chose to be anonymous.Your reasons for that is what is important also, but you prefer to stay anonymous, which is what also puzzles Dave Vardy, that so many fear consequences to give their identity.
      You challenge none of my statements other than the subject matter gets too much attention on this blog.
      That is is:off topic, fanatical,tiresome and serves no purpose. In other words Efficiency and Conservation, an important part of an Isolated option, before MF sanction, or in the future, is garbage, and stupid of me, and needs weeding out on this blog.
      And that many other jurisdictions who use this effectively to keep power rates stable……they all got it wrong.
      Now without giving your identity, can you give your qualifications and experience that your opinion merits the small space you used on this blog. I guess you have a technical background?
      Winston Adams

    • Sir, notwithstanding your personal opinion that those who choose to remain anonymous on public-forum blogs have any less credibility than those who don't… please rest assured that I have neither the time nor inclination to engage in any "argument" with you or anyone else on the UG blog.

      That said… if I may speak frankly, for one to presume that others must meet one's personal standards of "qualifications and experience" so as to "merit space" on this or any other public-forum blog is rather arrogant of one, to say the least.

      That's all I have to say on this matter, thanks for your interest.

    • Anon,
      You seem rather British, of the Imperial type that look down on colonials.
      Why call me sir? I made it only to the level of Pilot Officer in the Air Force Reserve, and addressed my superiors as Sir, a requirement, and moved on, not impressed with ideas of Empire. Many silly organisations have members titled Sir, pompous people mostly.
      "Arrogant of One", "meet's ONE's personal experience"……is not a common expression of Nflders. Nflder' would say you or your. So you call me arrogant, yet you neither identify yourself not indicate what qualification you have to say my views are off topic, fanatical, tiresome and serves no purpose. You opinion seems rather arrogant to me.
      Your opinion is self evident, without merit, I submit, and adds nothing to any pieces on this blog.
      Hope my frankness meets with your approval.
      And yes, I think anons MAY have less credibility. Suppose Des Sullivan or Dave Vardy did not use their names……..this blog would be less respectable and trustworthy. Some have good reasons to hide their identity, some have stated their reasons. And you can defend your argument no further, as you say, and may peace be with you, too.
      Winston Adams.

    • It is because there is no comprehensive low carbon strategy, and renewable energy plan by the NL gov. that the one man band, Winston, needs to be heard. He should continue to explore and offer baseboard heat alternatives, until the public demand the Gov. move to the 20th century on Energy Management Policy. The lack of such policy led to the sanction of projects such as Muskrat.

    • Des, I apologise for not submitting a formal piece to UG. You are fond of evidence based data, and so I have carried on to get a full year of data to prove the exceptional cost effectiveness of this technology, and it's ability to fully replace Holyrood thermal generation even during our cold snaps.
      After 5 years, we are approaching the time to pay the piper for the boondoggle, and homeowners are only now seriously getting concerned about future energy bills, especially for space heating.
      FANE, The Land Protctors, Grand River Group, James Feehan, Bruno….most argue for alternatives to Muskrat in this order: wind , some additional island hydro, solar, Demand Side Management(which includes Conservation and Efficiency).
      In terms of least cost and potential and achievable reductions, Demand Side Management should, by far, rank No 1. Customer Efficiency is the least cost to implement DSM.
      Of Efficiency measures , from residential there are perhaps more than 100 different measures, many that offer little, and a few that offer a lot. A recent ICF consultant report for Nfld Power confirms my opinions. A few technical people , likely engineers, who have commented on this blog, are much in agreement with me. Perhaps 3 to 1 comments are favourable, many looking for more information that the power companies should provide , but don't. I suggest resent comments here that is critical, are likely Muskrateers, who failed to inform customers or consider this technology as part of the Isolated Option, instead of Muskrat.
      I am most surprised that not a single piece on UG has been dedicated to the concept of Efficiency NL, to duplicate what other jurisdictions have done to reign in power grid peak demands, while passing benefits to consumers. Why this vacuum when so much is on the Internet from other jurisdictions?
      Certainly, as of yet, I have failed to submit a formal piece to UG, and I thought with my prodding,and intermittant postings of performance, someone else would have submitted a more formal case to UG before now.
      Should I get around to doing it, it may be timely, as Stan Marshall's mitigation plan, including importing coal fired generation, offers little relief to the homeowner.
      That you for our patience and putting up with my opinions and details that to some seems tedious and boring, but is where the future for mitigation for electric space heating is to be found. Within a decade our province will be most all using cost effective, very efficient electric space heat, and the resistance baseboard heater a mere emergency product, seldom used.
      Winston Adams

  13. I have been reading Uncle Gnarley for about a year; and posted
    on it, for the first time, yesterday. One suggestion – I would
    like to see knowledgeable/credible people invited to write guest
    post articles on heating alternatives to electric baseboard.
    Muskrat, with its impending rate hikes, is fast approaching.
    These guest post articles would provide valuable references
    for readers wanting to purchase an alternative means of heating.
    There are many of Winston's posts scattered throughout the blogs
    His, and other knowledgeable people, would have their thoughts in
    one place and those wanting to ask them questions could do so
    without interfering in another's topic. Thank you Des for considering this.

  14. Robert, interesting piece if one Googles "Pembina gas vs electricity"
    Gas is much used for space heating in BC , being 4 times cheaper than electricity.
    But it says gas in not necessarily cheaper because of a piece of technology : the electric air-source heat pump.
    The gas furnace is 95 % efficient , vs 300-400% for an electric air-source heat pump.
    So yearly cost is $375.00 for gas heat vs $300-$400.00 for electricity with the heat pump.
    But that is only part of the story.
    Carbon pollution for gas is 1000 kg vs just 25 for hydro power.
    So gas is 40 times worse for pollution. Take note FANE. For Nfld 's future , consider cost and pollution, and how our hydro power ,used efficiently, can close Holyrood or displace gas and propane. Get a carbon tax into the hands of households that reduce electricity efficiently.
    Winston Adams

    • Right on close holyrood, down the road in a few years time, when most people have installed a heat pump, and get the Feds and NS to take over muskrat until 2041 and we see where we are, then decide about UC and muskrat if it is still operational. Meanwhile charge the Feds and NS for the power corridor through N L. Keep our island paid for cheap power for ourselves. That's normal isn't it. Except for the traitors that gave it away.

    • When comparing gas to electricity, always ask what the electricity is produced from. If the energy is from a gas plant, then the heat pump efficiency and net carbon output are not as advantageous.

      For example, a baseboard house in metro area can be said to use Holyrood supplied energy all winter long. Holyrood might burn 3000 litres of oil to provide heating energy to that house. An equivalent house with oil heating might burn 1000 litres. That's a dirty secret that few realize.

      A metro house with a heat pump needs Holyrood to burn 1000 litres. Same as if it was oil heated!

      Knowing all the facts is important to performing the analysis.

      Had we developed a policy toward oil heating of homes or of pricing Holyrood power at true cost, the market would have never evolved toward ubiquitous baseboard heating as it has. This is how you end up with a Muskrat fiasco.

    • Considering the sunk capital in Holyrood, shouldn't the game plan have always been to gain efficiencies and carbon reduction over its service life?

      Where were the plant engineers on this? What is the current plan to de-commission?

    • Where is NL on the conversion of its existing buildings to Low Carbon? (eg. MUN campus). Do permits for new buildings not have a requirement for an Energy Plan, based on proven Low Energy technologies? Does cities not have such 20th century policies?

    • Robert, Holyrood decommissioning is detailed in the 2018 Hydro capital budget plan. The engineers were undoubtedly following orders – most autocracies don't want to hear from engineers with progressive ideas.

      It may seem backwards, but a great solution to NL carbon emissions would have been residential and commercial oil heating. Holyrood could have been shut down and emissions cut by at least 60% relative to the plant. The best benefit would have been no Muskrat.
      No need to spend over $300M on the new TL267 line either or all the money we've put into upkeep at Holyrood.

      The single most persuasive thing that would have triggered such rational thinking would have been a winter electricity price premium. Two tier pricing seems to work most anywhere else but our overlords deemed otherwise. The result of incorrect price signals is overconsumption and a Muskrat.

    • Anom @ 09:38
      Yes you may say a baseboard heated house in metro CAN BE SAID to use Holyrood supplied energy all winter long.
      We can also SAY Holyrood burns green cheese or seal fat soil. But that is fake news.
      On a yearly basis, Holyrood supplies about 12 percent of our energy, so over 85 percent hydro.
      In therms of pollution, if one burn oil or gas at 95 percent efficient, yiu produce 1000 Kg of pollutants , vs 25 kw if 100 percent hydro power.
      If Holyrood is only say 33 percent efficient, (1/3 of a house oil or gas furnace) the it suggest at 12 percent of total , the pollution amount b]may be 3 times full hydro, so say 75kw, instead of 1000kw, but still a lot lower.
      So the goal should be to have zero Holyrood use, via Muskrat or other means like efficient (300-400 % efficient) electric heat, plus wind and more island hydro. Did Nalcor think of this combination? Where is their analysis? Best first waste 12.7 billion, then try to discredit 400 % efficient electric heat.

    • WA – it is incorrect to dilute Holyrood energy in this analysis. Any honest economist or engineer should agree that Holyrood exists to supply resistance heating loads. If resistance heating loads were made away with, then the Holyrood plant ceases to exist.

      Holyrood normally delivers 1200-1400 GWh while resistance heating is significantly greater.

      Whatever GHG Holyrood emits could gave been reduced by 60% if localized oil heating were used instead of resistance electric heating powered by Holyrood oil.

      No need to complicate matters. You do need a nap��

    • 1.Agree, I need a nap
      2. Agree that since Holyrood is so inefficient, and that local heating with oil is more efficient than Holyrood, that less GHG is used with Local heating when Holyrood is at high or perhaps even moderate capacity.
      3. but that on a yearly basis, as Holdrood produces only 12 percent of our energy , you conclusion seems wrong, and produced GHG when hydro alone can do the job with efficient heat.
      4.If no need to complicate by considering that efficent heating is 300-400 percent efficieny, then also no need to over simplify by ignoring that Holyrood supplied only 12 percent of our energy, and the benefit of super efficient heating. You want to make a case to worsen global warming when no need.
      Our residential peak winter baseboard load about 650 Mw. Add about 300 for commercial and institutional , so maybe 1050 resistance load , which Holyrood ow on average in winter produced 350 MW. So yes , if no resistance heat loads, then Holyrood is not needed.
      So we must eliminate resistance loads: your way with oil, or alternate, best and least cost by efficient electric heat and efficient electric hot water. You disagree?
      Other provinces are encouraging to move off gas and oil to 300-400 % efficient electric source, mostly hydro and wind, and some solar.
      If you are so confident, give your name and do a presentation at the Harris Centre.
      Perhaps others could comment, And I take a nap.

  15. Anom @ 14:02 suggests " it may seem backwards, but a GREAT solution to Nfld carbon emissions would have been residential and commercial oil heating!.
    Such genius! But true, it is backwards thinking.
    Now granted , that if oil heat (which became popular in Nfld about 1950), is 95 % efficient, and Holyrood only 33 % say, his idea has a small benefit, But because we use Holyrood only 12 % for our electricity and oil heat is largely year round, his idea actually produces much more pollution, and not least cost.
    If 300-400 % efficient electric heat, can also eliminate Holyrood, as it can, as it reduces energy use for heating by 60 percent or more, and peak demand 50% or more, such high efficiency gives lower yearly costs than oil burning , so a win win.
    Now Ontario made stupid mistakes and drove up electricity prices. Now they are going GREEN big time. Their rationale : fight climate change. They say it mitigates against extreme weather events , also rising insurance costs, and also against rising food costs.
    Their big push is with incentives to bring down heating costs for houses.
    Some examples:
    A smart thermostat here you get 10 dollars off. In Ont , 100 dollars rebate.
    High performance windows, here , gets you zilch, in Ont 5000 dollar rebate.
    How about Efficient electric heating, the 300-400% type?
    Air source one head , 1900 dollar rebate (2500 dollars rebate if the Cold Climate model, so at least 50 percent rebate! Must have studied my recommendations from 2012, which Gil Bennett ignored)
    Gnd source , which also supplied space heat and hot water. …Get this . rebate of up to 20,000 dollars!
    And of course the old standby , insulation, which here may get you a 1000 dollar rebate, but n Ont, 7500 dollars.
    Now in trying to attract Nflders back to the province , how can a 10 dollar rebate on a thermostat compete with that……Ont is doing catch up by out doing Nova Scotia.
    Here? Well, let the pooor suffer in the cold. Let them eat cake. Energy Plan to benefit households……….what a joke. Coal power from NS and save 5 cents a day! And few days for even that.
    But I hear Wade Locke is working on it, to be announced as soon as he solves the Health spending problem, about to shave 450 million a year, all to go to house energy upgrades, would you believe it. And he was right, Muskrat was uneconomic after it passed 8 billion, he warned us! His job as top economist is safe. He is now solving our health problems and our house heating problem is next. I hear he is checking out the Cold Climate super efficient models, for his personal use, and will make proposals under the banner of Locke Consulting, using my ideas, and billing 300,000.00, the going rate for such a plan. But I don't mind. He will leap frog over Janmes Feehan, who is cool to such ideas, saying it is too late.
    Winston Adams

  16. Anon@14:07—"did Nalcor think of this combination?"–Nalcor did exactly what it was told to do by DW—"get 'er done b'ys, money is not an issue" and this mentality will continue until Nalcor is dismantled and those who perpertrated the scourge of MF are brought to justice and made an example of. Those in power now who are holding the purse strings and see that "if you do the crime you do the time", perhaps then and only then will our future generations regain some faith in honest, capable and sincere government–not the likes of most (I say "most" because there are some good people in Govt but with not enough clout) of what we have "representing" us now. It is us who must start paying for the monumental travesty unfolding. Those who are silent on the whole issue are in for "sticker shock" when MF comes on line.
    This all happened because Nalcor was told that MF and only MF was to be considered–don't even think of alternative ways to reduce energy consumption. Way to go DW and KD!! you will go down in history in not the way anyone would want to be remembered.
    All the talk over the decades of the "raw deal" we got with the Upper Churchill will pale in comparison to what MF will do–We will lose control over the UC before 2041 comes around and HQ will be calling the punches and we will again be with "cap in hand" because of an egomaniacal little man looking out for his own interests. No one had the courage to speak up against anything he proposed and it persists today in his business world until he is made an example of. He still has clout over those currently in power and will continue to have until he is taken down.

  17. Des, Those of us who wish to remain anomyous are assured of anonymity are we not?? My reason (and I'm sure everyone else has their own legitimate reasons)is that I have grandchildren about to enter the workforce and who are unaware of my impression of certain individuals and corporations. My views are mine and mine alone and I couldn't bear the thought I would jeopardize their future because of individual and corporate vindictiveness.

    • This Blog enables those who wish to comment as Anonymous persons to do so; I don't believe anyone ought to question the motivations of those who make that choice. Usually the reasons are personal. What is important is what they have to say and whether it constitutes a contribution to public policy debate. As to questions of confidentiality, whenever someone has contacted me with information the source is assured that their name will never be shared. As to the identity of people who comment as "Anonymous" on this Blog, the technology does not afford identification of them – not to my knowledge anyway and – anyway – it would never be shared. I continue to believe that "trust" is a key reason why so many people have come forward with information. I will always respect their trust. One other point: whenever anyone finds that their comment has been deleted by me, the Administrator, it is likely that they have used words that are derogatory; demeaning another person. People should be careful of their language. I refuse to take responsibility for another person's slander, wittingly or otherwise.

    • No worries about that Wayne, nobody's grand-kids will be able to find meaningful employment in this financial basket case of a province anyway… and, ironically enough, it's the bloody fools themselves who might exact such despicable vengeance who were responsible for that.

    • Occasionally a comment of mine gets deleted, when
      1. I might get carried away (the Bruno effect), to demean someone, even if intended in fun. I sometimes question myself if I make a demeaning comment, but fail to pause long enough before hitting the publish button. When deleted by the administrator, I always think he did right to do so, to keep me and others in check.
      2. My frequent comments on MSHPs, low cost heat, and how they can shut down the use of Holyrood. I once debated, too much, with an anon on whether an attic actually reduced relative humidity, and a thread listing about 8 benefits of attic mounting, and about 10 comments back and forth was deleted. Too bad, but understandable, and such detail belongs in a separate dedicated blog.
      Overall Des is very fair. But I wonder what happened to Bruno, he slung many arrows, some at me, and I hope he is not vexed.
      Winston Adams

  18. I am getting anxious for a new posting from David Goodyear on his Flatrock Passive house.
    David is more attentive to technical detail and information that I, which maybe puts us both in the category of fanatics, some might suggest, on energy savings and the ecology and climate change.
    David is building a house designed to use just 0.75 cords of wood per year,(using an oversized storage tank for hot water, as the wood burned provides space heat and hot water) and take advantage of solar gain ( correct orientation, super insulation, and thermal mass storage)
    This is the first such house in the province (google Flatrock Passive for his blog).
    But no posting now for the past month. I expect he is trying to get his wood and hydronic heat up and running. I worry if we will get solar gain to his expectations, given our fog. March should be cool or cold with a fair amount of sunshine, but lots of fog here in Logy Bay area, yesterday and today ( but Paradise had sun).
    Our govn should be promoting such house design, and municipalities require street design and house orientation to align with the sun.
    Humans used this concept thousands of years ago,and is needed more than ever, needing to mitigate climate change.
    Who is our local provincial government expert on this?
    Has Premier Ball incorporated these principles for his 10 units getting $400,000.00 subsidy to Jade Holdings in Deer Lake? After all, he says the primary beneficiary is the tenants. And low heating costs is important to such tenants. What efficiency consultant did he use? Is efficiency part of the approval process in granting such gifts to the owners?
    Our Premier with his hand out for governments grants! Shocking? Or helping the poor to get lower rents?
    Pam at the Telegram wonders if he is in conflict of interest, for releasing one report but not another. Jones at the Telegram says it is corporate welfare.
    How much is Goodyear getting for his novel design in Flatrock? Not a penny of subsidy, as far as I know. And he is putting his design and research out to the public, for anyone interested.
    Winston Adams

    • WA:

      It is most unfortunate that there are either no incentives or available incentives are so little or too hard to access that the net effect is that builder typically has little choice (considering his bottom line) other than to continue traditional methods. Even for those that have taken efficiency measures at their own cost have more or less been shunned by the powers to be.

      I would suggest that Martins comment of Nlers (in general) are not interested in conservation has some basis in fact and thus we end up with MF and other such wastages in our history.

      For Ball and his $400k, it equates to $335/month/unit—if he is letting the units for that much under market for 10yrs then I could be convenience that it was worthwhile, if not then we have something to look at. Other than media coverage I have no knowledge of the situation, but the consultant/contractor should be public knowledge so construction practices should be easy to infer—and for PD to be making a fuss now is pretty rich, almost like the current PCs begging for an audit/inquiry on MF.

      On point with UG, I think most need to understand what the Inquiry and Audit will do:
      1) it is unlikely the Audit will reveal much, an Audit is looking for criminal acts—I would suggest that there is no sustainable charge when a client/Owner directs a contractor to execute in a particular fashion at all costs
      2) based on APs statement in the HoA this week, if the Inquiry is going to be limited to reviewing info back to 2006 it will be a wasted effort—the key to uncovering MF will be understanding why decisions were made in 2003-2006
      3) I know a while back Robert (or possibly Wayne) disputed my assertion that the Inquiry could be accomplished in a 50 pager and didn't need the same effort as Berger—Robert, I am not sure how familiar you are with both, but in my experience (at both MF and MGP) there is a definite community of interest and we would be short changing ourselves to expect anything less than Berger from LeBlanc


  19. Follow-up:

    4) I am not so sure it is a democracy problem in NL—it is a voter and culture problem for sure. In the leadup to MF sanction, all these issues we are now discussing were available to the public(but derided by the 70% of MF supporters) and the 10-30% that dissented were near considered eligible for treason

    As a whole, we are rarely willing to look in the mirror as being the cause of our own downfall (consider our continual court challenges to UC as an example)—at some point if we want our province to truly succeed we need to own our mistakes as well as our successes.


    • PENG2
      Martin did say Nflders were not interested in conservation, and you seem to agree with him, and hence, analysis for this for the Isolated Option seems little or none, a no brainer, as they say, as Nflders are not interested in this approach. Part of our culture? Maybe not.

      1. Efficiency measures offered by the power companies are largely intended BY DESIGN to give little savings. Homeowners are soon aware from their power bill of little savings and so no ground swell to move in that direction of serious investment into efficiency.
      The "interactive effect" is a case in point (Rob Peter to pay, Paul"), you save on light or fridge or TV energy but then must use more electric baseboard heat energy. Are you familiar with the interactive effect?
      Because we have a long heating season, the actual loss of expected savings is 60 percent, according to the power companies own consultants.
      I am confident the loss is at least 80 percent and may be 100 percent. This is is misrepresentation upon the homeowner by the power companies, and unethical, and perhaps illegal?
      But the result to blame the homeowner is misplaced I submit. The blame is with the power companies and government policy.
      I suggest that all Nflders, properly informed of meaningful conservation and energy efficiency that puts many dollars into their pocket, is as likely to go for it as much as anyone from Nova Scotia of Ontario.
      I suggest Ed Martins comment was self serving to promote MF.
      I will let you reassess your opinion after considering mine.
      Trust but verify, that Ronald Regan often said, applies as to efficiency measures and conservation. The interactive effect is a prime example…….and this hidden from the public. Has the main media exposed this scam?
      Winston Adams

    • WA:

      Maybe my words weren't ideally selected, but you nailed my thoughts though, almost exactly.

      When I say as a group NLers aren't interested in conservations I am alluding to the point that for most the efforts for conservation(energy, recycling, greener living etc) are overtaken by bureaucracy. Your examples comparing incentives for NL efficiency upgrades to like programs in NS and Ont is demonstrates what I am trying to say—likewise with the lack on interest in your monitoring and Goodyear's efforts.

      I would say that our culture and history has shown that we are more often than not to follow like lemmings to our doom.

      I would agree with you in that a government that kept the populace misinformed was key in proceeding with MF. However, I am not willing to entirely blame the government because some of us did see the facts—maybe the populace as a whole was willfully blind?


    • It is encouraging to see engineers,like you, or anyone with technical interests to comment on the importance of this aspect of our energy needs and energy plans. But too few engineers, and we have many very competent ones,comment, and som anons on this blog, wish to stifle this issue.
      When we have a combination of government, power companies (Nalcor , Nfld Hydro and Nfld Power- Fortis, plus the Consumer Advocate,and MUN engineering and economics Dept, plus contractors afraid to speak out for their own industry,plus the silence of the main media, then how can the populace as a whole not be blind to the least cost alternatives. The populace as a whole are not technical, and if not informed with reliable evidence based information, but instead with BS and self serving PR, then, as you say , our culture and history is inclined to that most act like lemmings, racing to our doom , as too often done in the past.
      Today a read a little of Ray Guy's pieces from the 1960s, and hard to believe that despite all his effort to expose the rot, as a people we still fall in line as suckers for more boondoggles.
      Guy deserves, I think a major statue,or better,a fund to educate journalists to question the scams and corruption and expose those that promote them. Then we might avoid expensive inquiries, too late to stop the train wreck. But Guy's style…….to make one laugh, as we suffered the fall out of such incompetence of politicians. A true artist and master of his craft. Too bad he wasn't cloned. What a loss at such a time in our history.
      To chance our culture for the better, we need to remember and honour the good, not the bad and the ugly.

    • After following some of PENG2, gets me to wondering if maybe he might be a reincardinated Ray guy. No, not the real Ray, but one that has adapted to the times, and to keep this blog, interesting, and contreversally at times. Ray fought with dry wit, to keep his audience entertained, and to get his point across, and expose corruption of the times. Maybe the reincarted Ray takes a different angle to get others to do his work like mark twain. He comes on strong with a technical opinion, but is gradually swayed that he might be wrong, or ends up somewhere in the middle. But think we need a plant at times keep the conversation going. Of course peng2 will not comment on this, which is fine, and on the other hand I have been wrong before, and may be again!!! But he is doing a good job. Did he not agree to come look at your heat pump installation set up and data Winston . Is he not a person of his word.

    • Anon, have to agree, that I sometimes think that PENG2 sometimes agree with me too much, but then if my data is factual, to good standards, it is fine that he agrees when appropriate.
      But you re right, I invited him to look at my data and installation, as he is technical, and whether I might have bias in my data, I would appreciate it being pointed out if faulty in any way. I do not wish to mislead the public on 300.00 a year heat if not true. In engineers jargon, his opinion would be a "cold eyes" look, and so of value, especially he being an independent consultant to Nalcor.
      I expected to hear from him in a few days on this, but to my disappointment………no, not a call.
      That PENG2 is somewhat flexible on his opinions, yes. But some issues he leaves dangling; like I suggested a proposed method of operating the spill gates at Muskrat for this spring run off, to reduce the risk of downstream flooding this year. I think he understands the water flow issues and might comment…….but was silent. So, yes …….a bit puzzling, our PENG2. One could question whether he is a plant on the UG blog?
      And we no longer have Bruno to cross swords with him.
      And PENG2 is more political than I, but I agree that Paul Davis has no credibility, as PENG2 often point out. But Des has appropriately labled him the Constable Premier. Only thing on that, Hitler was but a low level trench runner in WW1 , and look where his tongue took him.
      And Davis is relatively handsome compared to Hitler, but women loved even Hitler, so Davis could again have come back. If I get insight into how women think, I will understand Trump's success.
      But heat pumps, and even quick clay are easier to understand. Women, may indeed be smarter than men, do you think, anon?

    • Lol, not sure if you are suggesting peng2 might be female,and that's ok too, a professional engineer. But I don't normally classify by gender, I like to classify by individual, but agree females are smarter in some ways. And indeed there may be many female contributors on this blog, especially in the anonymous sector. It would be good if there were as we need opinions from all genders and not just the male dominated. Yes, seems we may have similar opinions of peng2, and that's okay, no doubt his contribution on this blog is valued by all. Agree an informed discussion on the muskrat gates would be good, especially before spring breaks, rather than after, it may even prevent a disaster or mitigate it. Not sure why I most agree with you either, but then again I am not an engineer, but like to think I know a little about everything, and everything about nothing, which can be dangerous. But I keep an open mind, and try to evaluate everything I read or know. Like your earlier comment where you blame those who should have known bette, like from NLhydro, to MUN, to the media, etc. that helped lead the populas down the garden path on muskrat. But have given my opinion on muskrat on here a few times right from the beginning and why, and it was not technical based, but as I like to call common scense, or knowing what one already knows and applying that to any other situation. I don't blindly go with the flow, because our saviour said, weather it be Trumpie, or hitler, or even our own UG, loL. On getting Bruno back, he doesn't believe in getting more with honey, but rather insults, and criticism, and then he may be like Popeye, and "can't stands no more," and comes back.