The Hearing Room, on the first day of the Muskrat Falls
Inquiry, might have served as metaphor for the author Joan Clark, and her story
of madness and altered perception in “An Audience of Chairs”. She would find
plenty of sub-plots here, except that the madness to be assessed will likely
have only a tangential association with delusion.

Even that assumption — as with all those that gave the project
its silver lining — may seem excessive. Madness? Delusion? On this first day,
at this Inquiry, at $12.7 billion and counting, we might wonder: who is asking?
That’s because the audience was mostly chairs. The place was virtually empty,
except for the usual bevy of blue suits and a few others.

Judge Richard LeBlanc
The lawyers were seeking Standing for their clients: the right
to participate in the Inquiry. A few individuals, not yet lawyered up, waited
for the Commissioner to arrive. This minority included the Grand River Keepers,
the Labrador Land Protectors, Democracy Alert and the Concerned Citizens Coalition under whose
banner David Vardy, Ron Penney and this blogger had teamed up. Otherwise, a few
Commission staff, media, and a lone spectator gave the bare place some semblance
of occupancy. 
The Session offered no opportunity for titillation; the public
must have known that. 
Today would offer only the opportunity for procedural fairness
for the known suspects, the complicit, the deferential and the tangentially
involved. There was not even a hint that the Hearing presaged a far larger event.
The queue of blue merely constituted proof that private interests outnumbered
the public interest. It remains to be seen if they might cleverly outweigh it,
After a short address from the businesslike Commissioner, the
proceedings got underway. I wondered if Judge LeBlanc thought, as I did, that
the Inquiry was the most important undertaking in NL history — at least since
Amulree, which presaged Government by Commission in 1934. 
Billions having already been spent, it is doubtful that LeBlanc’s
role will entail a component of destiny, though some of the individuals he will
soon confront certainly helped hasten its arrival. The Judge rightly indicated that
he would not have time to assess our democratic deficit, but he must know that nothing
he could say will stop our determined rush into the abyss, anyway.  
With titillation not on offer there was, however, a modicum of
intrigue — if one knew where to look for it. Waiting to be appraised was not
who sought Standing but under whose tent the parties had aggregated.
Danny Williams sought Standing under a group innocuously
called “Former Provincial Government Officials 2003­–2015” which also included
former Premiers Tom Marshall and Paul Davis, and former Natural Resources
Ministers Sean Skinner and Derrick Dalley. In contrast, Kathy Dunderdale’s application
suggested she was sharing her tent with no one. 
Hadn’t Jerome Kennedy and Tom Marshall helped circumvent the
PUB — with her — when Dunderdale was Premier? Didn’t they strategize to limit debate
in the Legislature and preside over the Sanction of the project, too? How had
Dunderdale distinguished herself from them, I wondered? 
Dunderdale has been quiet: chastened, no doubt, by events that
have, since her dismissal, assumed monumental gravitas. Her most famous (and
banal) of platitudes, “if you got the juice, we got the use” — more braggadocio
than aphorism — now seems sillier than ever in an oversupplied North American
market of collapsed electricity prices. 
But, then, she was never blamed for abusing the art of
rhetoric, was she? That may have been because she was always in competition with
one far more practiced — her predecessor — for whom self-aggrandizing bluster was paramount.
Still, I wondered if time has changed Dunderdale’s perspective.
What does she thinks now of the vortex of deception which she helped create? Does
she better understand the weight of Danny Williams’ millstone – the term “boondoggle”
an inapt ascription for something so ruinous? 
Of course, such musings don’t excuse the mendacity that
oversaw “ring-fencing” of “isolated-island” and “inter-connected” options, the latter
given an untruthful advantage, even if the PUB was told to choose it anyway. 
Perhaps the former Premier will unveil a “tell-all” narrative
with answers to our most urgent questions. What was the hurry for Sanction,
when an economy in overdrive was already looking to Ireland and Poland for
help? Why was Nalcor allowed to spend millions, inviting in the process a royal
screwing by Nova Scotia? Why the charade when the Water Management Agreement was
a fake? 
Oh! If only Dunderdale were brave enough to put news on the
But I digress.
The Government sought Standing in the Right of Her Majesty the
Queen. One might have thought that such a status would have assured protection
for all public servants — past and present — who played some role in the
project. But, evidently, not so. 
For example, Julia Mullalay, former Clerk of the Executive
Council under Dunderdale, joined with that Premier’s Deputy Minister of Natural
Resources, Charles Bown, who went on to chair both the fake and the strengthened
Oversight Committee. Robert Thomson, former Cabinet Clerk under Premier Danny
Williams, insisted on his own tent and took on lawyer Bern Coffey — also a
former Clerk — to represent him.
In a similar vein, lawyer Dan Simmonds was there to seek
Standing for Nalcor, but four former Nalcor Board Members — Ken Marshall, Leo
Abbass, Gerry Shortall and Tom Clift — wanted Standing all by themselves, too. Now, they
really must think that they are special! The Commissioner awarded them limited
Then there was the “star” of the show, former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin,
who begs asking: will he deliver luminosity or just magnitude?
Martin’s lawyer, Harold Smith, dutifully followed him to the
podium and looked on, seemingly enthralled, as Martin displayed the skills of the
silver-tongued; the capacity evidently having eluded Smith even after a lengthy
legal career. On display was Martin’s ineluctable attraction to the absurd. As
if readying his response to a victim impact statement over the Muskrat debacle,
he again offered assurances that the $12.7 billion project would work out for
the province. Given Standing by the Judge, he quickly disappeared — with the
media.  Only one reporter returned, giving
confirmation — like the nearly empty room — that not much has changed.
A little later, Dennis Browne, the Consumer Advocate to the
PUB, stepped forward on behalf of ratepayers, though confirmation of his status
will await a directive from the Provincial Cabinet; the authority governing his
current appointment, for matters before the PUB, being insufficient for this
Likely no one saw any inconsistency: Government having applied
for, and receiving from the Commissioner, Standing for itself while it was expected
to authorize Standing for a third party, too!
A sober government would have deferred
or delegated such a matter to the Inquiry Judge. The Commissioner might, as a
result of such deference, chose to create a public interest advocate, one who has
taken no public stand on the project, and who is mandated to protect both
ratepayers and taxpayers.
Browne has credentials to be sure, including as a Muskrat
“naysayer”. But transparency demands means full disclosure. His
two Terms as Consumer Advocate occurred under Liberal Administrations. He is a
brother-in-law to the Inquiry’s star witness, former Nalcor CEO, Ed
Martin. Can he be a partisan, cross-examine Martin and represent ratepayers,
The Concerned Citizens Coalition received full Standing from
the Commissioner. The status of other Groups has now been posted.

Impressions after the first day of the Inquiry?

That the Inquiry is a fact, alone, is confirmation that
Governments pushed hard enough will respond.  Then, too, the Commissioner is a highly
regarded Judge in the legal community, earning the ascription competent and
hard working. Co-Counsel and Commission staff are thought to be top drawer. Essential
due process is underway. 
Otherwise, the most important public examination of bad
decision-making in NL history has had an inauspicious start.
To me, that sounds pretty auspicious.

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. One of the better UG post in some time. Succinct, well written, and powerfull in its message. How can government appoint a Consumer Advocate, which has to investigate government, and his family?

    I honestly believe the CA should be from outside the province.

  2. "That the Inquiry is a fact, alone, is confirmation that Governments pushed hard enough will respond." This is all I need for confirmation that government chose the Inquiry – as people were starting to push hard to stop the project. For government and project millionaires it was a victory. Their skins are far to thick to be bothered by a discussion – their skins are there to protect their money not their integrity.

  3. Let me think, good projects that 12.7 billion could pay for:
    1. New Corner BK Hospital 300 million
    2, New Waterford Hosp: 200 million
    3. Highway from Goose Bay to Nain with side roads to Labrador Communities 900 million, and no need for coastal service then.
    4. Power line to those coastal communities to eliminate diesel power, 69 kv would do, 300 million.
    4. Throw in a tunnel under the straight, cost shared between NL, PQ, And the feds, tot total 2 billion, Nlfd share 500 million.
    5. School construction, at 30 million per school, increase from 2 schools per year to 5, so 90 million extra.
    6 Retrofit MUN for better efficiency and reduced heating costs, 300 million.
    So far 2.59 billion.
    7.Throw in 1 billion for upgrades for more island hydro,instead of MF
    8. 50 million per year for residential energy upgrades, so 250 million for 5 years.
    So, far 3.84 billion
    Sorry, I am running out of ideas. Just cannot see how to prudently spend 12.7 billion.
    Throw in 50 million a year for 5 years for home care
    So, 4.09 billion.
    So how come Nalcor can so easily spend 12.7 billion and at this Inquiry, one spectator shows up.

    • Very good Anon. The problem; NL, since the OPEC event, embarked on the wrong path on Energy Policy, (Lower dependency on carbon, and long transmission lines), and continues with this path today. Mega projects around expensive infrastructure need to be costed out with respect to benefits generated. The EF Barnes initiative to get into wind farm production at Bull Arm is a major breakthrough as regards to conversion to Renewable Energy for the Avalon Region. But the Titanic is still headed towards the iceberg so to speak, with that Nalcor crowd, supported by your and my governments, vested industries, and the oil biz. I like your refreshing point of view though. Keep it up.

    • AG:
      The problem is 70% of Nlers bought the political line-and dissenters were nearly hanged, until about 1-2yrs ago the project was still publically popular. Myself, as an original disenter am considered a pariah on my cul-de-sac for 15-20yrs for saying MF was not a good idea. Now that the tide is turned publically, I am a pariah because I am risking my professional reputation by trying to limit the damage a 'legacy project' is doing to our future.

      since the original proponents still defend MF-we the populace have a history of allowing governments to take us for a ride, MF is no different.

      The DF Barnes effort has nothing to do with NL-they are proposing to use BA as a marshalling area to construct and ship out turbine parts to other parts of the world. NL is not progressing wind power, construction opportunities only-my prediction is that NL wont in the foreseeable future progress efficiency or alternate technologies as it will further damage the MF/GI business case..


    • For you to know, should the Titanic had hit the iceberg head first, it would have survived. Such an impact would have destroy maybe 3 floodable compartments. By trying to avoid the iceberg, the Titanic scratched its entire side, opening and flooding way too many compartment to survive…

    • Anon; Titanic, is a metaphor, representing malfeasance, negligence, stupidity, etc.
      PENG2; Think of the possibilities of Bull Arm, and its strategic siting. I was taught that the most valued characteristic a young Engineer should embody is "A venturesome spirit", Jack Chisvin, APEO chair, 1970's

    • Anom @ 11:34
      How about paying down the debt also?

      Anom @11:54
      There were lots of people opposed to this but for fear of repercussions they couldn't speak out. Try opposing a tunnel through the straights and see how many listeners you will get. Mega project madness has gripped NL and we may have become to dependant on them now to look at alternatives.

    • Good point AG. and if I may continue with your point. Yes, we as ordinary people, or i may add mha's etc. we do not compherend or distinguish between billions or millions. if someone were to list 10 billion of things that we could have or build as you have listed, plus others, rather than muskrat, the vast majority would jump immediately for those other things we want and need. rather than muskrat. and our politicians should have told us this and listed them, but they basiclly didnt know the difference, or cared to find out, or just politically motivated to follow the leader, with a grain of thought in their head. so we ended up with a boondoggle rather than those other things. imagine not even a WMA not in place. how can you have a hydro project with no, or not enough water. yes, the pub with no bear. would you build a pub, with no chance of getting a license to buy or sell beer. so, that is not to purpose of govts. to inform us, or sell us a crock. now not really saying i fall right into that catagory, as i immediately recognized muskrat as a boondoggle. just wanted to add, as i mentioned before my at home pc is an ancient clunker, so i can now only read UG, i cannot, post a comment, so just dropped into the public library to make this comment. so guess i may not comment often, until i invest in a new pc, ipad, or smart phone. thanks. joe blow, average joe, AJ.

    • Yes, and as one anon says, what about our paying of our debt. Indeed, as interest on debt is now 2 million a day, approaching 1 billion a year, such outrageous debt hinders even spending on good projects, and goes to banks etc outside the province, to the already wealthy.. Surely prudent payment on debt and useful projects goes hand in hand. And I am sure there are many useful projects besides what I list, but this but a sample of might have been…… all, or most all hindered by the boondoggle.
      As to anon, who asked whether I was there at the Inquiry, well, yes and no. More yes than no, but can't say more.
      My main point, which others see, is that I could make such a large wish list yet spend only 4 billion, and how this would improve our province, so imagine what 12.7 billion could have done, but 12.7 billion essentially all wasted, and these sleeveens lawyered up to convince the judge to deflect blame elsewhere, or no blame at all. And if a spectator audience of 1, then the silence and apathy of the public condones such behavior, which may be criminal beyond what the mafia could do.

    • Using the left over 8 billion from the 12 billion to pay off debt could not work. You would be borrowing money to pay off borrowed money. The reduction in debt would have come from not borrowing the 12 billion in the first place.

    • Ideally we should pay off all debt, but with MF we have essentially no value but is on the books as 12.7 billion asset.
      Many other projects have real asset value or social value:like re-roofing your house keeps asset value intact, example MUN buildings not being maintained at present, and leading to more expense. To do what we cannot afford is dumb, but to do so and have no asset value is dumber by far.

  4. This morning I am attending the AGM of Nalcor, a meeting attended by many Nalcor staff, directors, and consultants. Nalcor is presenting a bright picture of high profitability, growing asset base, cost stability, and growing prospects for finishing the project on a high note. Few questions were raised. Few members of the general public were interested enough to attend in person. It finished in less than an hour. The experience was surreal. Need I say More?
    This as reported by someone there. Some Readers may know who.

  5. Good post on 8 projects.But there are other projects to be considered.
    1 Divided highway St Johns to Port Aux Basques.
    2 Build new hospitals with best test equipment known
    3 Build every road to Canadian safety standards and paved.
    4 Build new Holyrood Generating Station,before old plant falls to the ground Holyrood will always be needed. MF and DC 1000k line has no reliability new plant will run on Natural Gas
    5 Assure all Newfoundland and Labrador people have safe drinking water.
    6 Give every house holder 2 heat pumps.These projects should cost another 2 BILLION.

    • According to Adams, item 6 reduces demand so that Holyrood will only be needed for backup, so less costly than natural gas version, and HPs save households on yearly bills.
      Many of yours are good, and no doubt 100 good projects would not total 12.7 billion……….
      And how about projects to reduce health costs, like a sugar and junk food tax to make people more healthy and fit. We are a fat people , and fat is unhealthy.
      So many needs and all this to get back at Quebec, an asset worth about 15 billion, a real asset, unlike the boondoggle, which Marshall says has "turned a corner". So, back on tract….to where?
      What is this years flood plan for Mud Lake, due in 3 weeks, some one asked a while back, but not aware of lessons learned. Does Peng2 know?
      Marshall says "any megaproject in the world would be happy to be where we are." Is that not laughable and a big Newfie joke?
      So why the Inquiry Stan? Part of the Megajoke? Can it get even worse than Ed Martin as a BSer?

  6. It's Friday 20th Apr. Based on Heracles' surmise, we should find out today, the Supreme Court on the CFL appeal. More importantly, a glimpse at the secret deal with QC on disposition of the stranded assets. With the PM about to "finance" the takeout deal with Kinder Morgan to force the supply line of petroleum products through to the Pacific, based on waning economics, the Liberals need a win in the East with Muskrat. Stan is ready to turn over the "Asset" and move along to his retirement. Want to make a bet on the outcome? Sweet Friday the 20th indeed!

    • Good morning Robert,

      Sorry but no… WHat I said is that today there is another judgeement on a different case that will be released by the Supreme Court. For that other judgement, the court obtained the required signature a solid month after they received the signatures for CFLCo vs HQ.

      As such, I consider this as evidence that such a delay is at the request of the parties for them to keep negociateing in secret. Because the judgement is delayed on purpose, there is no way to know or estimate when will it be released.

      I keep chacking everyday for signs telling when it will be released, but as of now, I can only say that there is a delay from the parties and that I can not estimate the lenght of that delay.

      Have a nice day,

    • Hi Robert,

      No, I don't think such a parallel can be made. Electricity and oil are very different. Electricity is very difficult to store, oil is not. Loss are important when transporting electricity while oil can be moved all over the world. Electricity is nothing but a form of eneregy. Oil is used to make plastic and other product and not just to be used as energy.

      Difficulty to store and transport electricity forces MF to sell its energy in an over-saturated market. No matter who will finish and operate the boondoggle, that reality will stay. In the west, the oil can be used locally or shipped basically anywhere and for many usage.

      I think the two realities are way too different to be compared one to the other…

      Have a nice day,

    • I'm puzzled by this Kinder Morgan situation.

      If a proper risk assessment has been performed (which I believed), mitigation / remedial measures were added / embedded in the project. The new pipeline should actually be safer than the old one. (But I agree, it would also result in an increase tanker traffic).

      In the mean time, Alberta is still selling its petroleum at what, 35% discount?


      By comparison, I just wished the Feds had properly applied its own rail safety regulations prior to the Lac Megantic disaster.

      Back then, Quebec could not object to that continuous botched / unsafe oil traffic on a dilapidated branch line, and is now basically alone in repairing this monumental human and environmental disaster.

      Ex Mil

    • Heracles, thanks for your insights and good commentary. I'm trying, (frustrating I know), to get inside the politicians' psyche here. Who knows who may be reading this very important Blog these days. Behind the fake news, important decisions are being made with respect Energy policy and something referred to as "National Interest". Of course there is a plan B. The similarity and the timing of mega project decisions, across Canada and the World, (Plastic straws and stuff), which affect us all in our daily toil, begs our attention to the players and what Plan B might be. N'est pas?

    • Hi Robert,

      About getting inside politician's psyche…. I and everyone else on this blog appreciate you and we would rather keep you safe and lucid then ending uo with another one with a mind twisted beyond repair 🙂

      Seriously, I can tell you that a lot of high integrity people tried to go in politic and ran away from it as soon as they entered in that world. All form of power corrupt the one with too much of it.

      Another example on the subject is a quote from Barrack Obamaha. When he was talking about being president, he said that none of decisions / actions were easy because all easy ones were taken by others at lower levels. So when these decisions are not clear even for the one who takes them, it is normal that they are not clear for others…

    • Hi Anon 13:42

      I agree that reservoirs are frequently described as storage system for electricity. This is close enough to what they are. More precisely, they are controls to delay and schedule production more than storage of actual electricity.

      It is about the same for other storage like batteries, where you store electricity after it has been produced. And even in battery, you do not store electricity as is, you store it in the form of a reversible chemical reaction. The electricity by itself is almost impossible to store as is.

      Which ever form of storage you choose for electricity, you are very limited when you compare it to oil. Limited capacity and short duration like battery or impossible to move like hydro reservoirs.

      This is and has always been one of the inconvenient of electricity : to store it.

      Nice to talk with you,

    • Herales

      Hydro dams are a solar energy storage battery. Solar energy evaporates water into the atmosphere, it falls as rain and dams store it until it can be converted to electricity using gravity and turbines.

      There are similar systems in pumped hydro dams. There is a Pumped Hydro Dam in Virginia that has a sustained 3000MW capability over a six hour period. The turbines have the capability of acting as pumps when reversed and pumping the water up to an above reservoir to store it until it is needed. Gravity then enables the pumps to be turned into turbines that generate electricity for the grid. The electricity usually comes from renewable sources such as wind or from excess energy such as generated in nuclear systems when load is less than demand-usually at night. It is the pumped hydro system along with wind turbines that would have been the much cheaper option here on the island but being less expensive doesn't matter when your a politician with the disease of the brain called Mega project madness.

      As a matter of fact, the 127 MW Cat Arm hydro dam on the Northern pen is equipped with Pelton Turbines which have the ability of becoming a pumped system if needed. There are numerous sites on the island that can be used for pumped hydro along with wind turbines but not anymore since MF's has used up all the money for such developments.

    • Hi Anon,

      Again, I understand the illustration and how it is easier to explain to people that these system "store electricity". It is a simplification that is good enough for many people to understand the concept.

      The thing is, you do not store actual electricity by doing that. Take a powerline and trow it in the water and the light bulb at the other end will not turn on. You do not store actual electricity, you store a mechanical force that will later be converted to electricity and that electricity will be used instantly at the moment it will be produced..

      An electrical car needs actual electricity to run, not water in a reservoir. An electrical car can not store that much energy by itself and that's why its autonomy is so low compared to one using gaz : to store electricity is very difficult and not efficient at all compared to other energy like oil.

      Yourself gave another example of a limitation of these pseudo-storage systems for electricity: the duration. You gave an example of a "storage" system that managed to run 6 hours. You can store oil for years and it will remain as good as it was day 1.

      I will stop here and will not reply should you insist. The thing is, electricity, as it is, is very difficult to store and that has always been a big inconvenient for that type of energy.

    • Hecrales

      You don't seem to understand peak consumption and peak power. When excess power is produced during low consumption hours it can be stored in a variety of ways. Pumped hydro, Grid batteries and yes car batteries are some as well as Heat Batteries that store heat in ceramic bricks from induction coils for up to 24 hours. This same electricity can then be used later during peak consumption and both of these events occur on a daily basis. NL's peak consumption is at a bout 6:00AM to 9:00AM and consumption is at its lowest from about 2:00AM to 600AM. Power can be stored from excess production times to be used at a later peak consumption time if available.
      The limitation you speak of actually is the limit of the system we have now whereby we have a huge dam built to supply us at peak consumption times (usually daily during the winter) but may not even be used during the summer. The capital costs associated with that are the reason that MF's isn't feasible. We built a single unit at tremendous costs ($12.7 Billion) that will sit idle for a very long period of time during the summer just like the oil fired plant at Holyrood does now. Had we concentrated on Wind with storage, the capital cost would have been much lower and the idle periods would not have had such an effect on the overall operational costs. Right now the capital costs are so high that we cannot even sell any of this new power at a competitive rate since the market demands around 6cents while we would need 23 cents just to break even.

    • Salut M./Mme. Heracles31,

      Regarding your 12:06 post, I will offer counterpoint to your assertion that electricity and oil are very different energy commodities… I have re-printed your assertions in "quotes"…

      "Electricity is very difficult to store, oil is not."

      If said oil is used to generate electricity, that electricity is also effectively in storage until such time as the oil is burned to generate the electricity.

      "Loss are important when transporting electricity while oil can be moved all over the world."

      There is also loss associated with the transport of oil, be it the cost of transporting it to market via ocean-going tankers, or the cost of constructing long-distance oil-transporting pipelines.

      "Electricity is nothing but a form of energy. Oil is used to make plastic and other product and not just to be used as energy."

      Electricity can be harnessed to run smelters that produce refined products such as aluminium, or to run desalination plants to produce potable water.

      "Difficulty to store and transport electricity forces MF to sell its energy in an over-saturated market."

      All produces are forced to sell in an over-saturated market, even if it is not difficult to store and transport their electricity.

    • Musk and Bruno makes much about battery storage that lasts for an hour or two.
      I have 10 gallons of kerosene stored now for 15 years in case of an emergency. Still ok, and the portable stove never having to be used .
      Mf can store for a couple of days. The Upper Churchill for months.
      That our peak is at about 8 am and reduced at about 3 am is due mostly to setback thermostats, and so by 8am Holyrood is ramped up much more to compensate for night time saving, so very little benefit for saving fuel in winter overall.
      This was the rationale for MF, a solution to deal with our electric heat, that was not just dumb, but dumbest. Better , lower cost options were NOT explored. There was but 2 options, not a least cost option. A least cost option offered these, so was excluded as an option :
      1. No satisfaction for revenge against Quebec, promoted by politicians
      2. Lower revenue to Nfld Power, as robust efficiency component reduces power sales
      3. No opportunity for the Board of Trade crowd and big unions to profit short term, while average ratepayers suffer long term from double the power rates, and reduced govn services.
      Having satisfied those intents, the the sanction was off to the races, and nothing could stop it. Public opinion was misinformed and only now catching up, but no public riots, we had one spectator at the first Inquiry session.
      What if tickets for the limited space was sold, instead of being free? Even if proceeds go to a charitable cause. How about if Rick Mercer attends? Or some other celebrity? Stormy Daniels? Can we get a fundraiser to get her here? We need to get some glitter to this affair, with decorum, of course.

    • At least disaster Dan wants to avoid electricity rates from doubling (mitigation via diverting $ from other sources), which we all agree with as it would be counterproductive / inefficient (due to the "diminishing return", using Winston's wordings)

      DW just forgot to mention his total responsibility in this mess. Maybe he thinks (like Uncle Gnarley) that the Feds are the sole responsible… 😉

      Ex-Mil (using another computer)

    • Yeah "rate mitigation" is just another way to say "we'll take $0.17/kWh from your left pocket and get the remainder from your right pocket". Please Coady, Ball, Marshall, etc, stop saying "Rate Mitigation". That term is only good news for those already broke.

    • Anom@ 18:59 (about robbing Peter to pay Paul)

      Exactly, transfer the burden from the rate payers to the taxpayers!

      It's still a overall better solution due to "diminishing returns" phenomena.

      As you increase the rates, consumption goes down (was well explained by Winston and others). You even need to increase rates further to offset that diminished consumption. (There's even a point where an increase would cause an overall decrease in revenues)

      Furthermore, there is no point of drastically reducing consumption as we'll still be stuck with that base load (assuming MF produces anything) that would go to waste otherwise.

      ExMil (with my normal computer this time)

    • Ex-Military
      The robbing Peter to pay Paul isn't going to make things better. What it means is less money for other things such as health care, education, roads, social services and you name whatever program the NL government is responsible for. By taking money from the offshore as DW says to lower rates we will see more layoffs and cutbacks in the civil service which means more people leaving the province so less rate payers to pay.
      We are now like the ant in the sany hole that is trying to escape. The more we attempt to climb up the deeper we dig the hole.

    • So from your point of view of view, we just let the rate double? (And eventually probably way more than double, due to the resulting lower consumption / plant closures etc).

      Some rate mitigation is the lessen of the two evils.

    • A little rate mitigation in the face of such a huge problem is to throw more good money after bad. This is merely a present day distraction to keep us somewhat settled until 2021 when the NL Government must finally confess to the true magnitude of the problem. This is all just banter to tide us over.

    • One of the most recent crop of lamentably incompetent partisan fools, Siobhan Coady was recently on the news blathering on about keeping electricity rates competitive with the Maritimes. She was also on CBC radio, and spent 10 minutes on the airwaves blathering on while actually saying SFA.

      Back to the "energy warehuse"… the Maritimes for god-sakes. A so-called "energy warehouse" trying to keep electricity rates competitive with the Maritimes.

      This is what happens when a bunch of naive NL politicians and policy makers are given enough rope to hang themselves with.

      More like the "energy poorhouse".

  7. Waterford Valley High; You are a wonderful and inspiring example for your generation, practicing the three Rs. And were are not talking reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic. Get rid of the plastic in your garbage, live the low carbon way, and keep on composting. Congratulations, you won the Staples prize.

  8. Rate mitigation to keep power rates "competitive" with the other Atlantic provinces:
    This is spin by Nfld hydro and our Nfld Power boys to avoid robust customer energy efficiency to keep their revenue up. Nfld Power boasted that we have the cheapest power in the Atlantic provinces, but never compared us with what should our peers: Quebec, Manitoba, and BC, which like Nfld, are all hydro rich provinces.
    Nova Scotia had 20 percent hydro power while we had 85 % hydro on the island, and ample more to take us close to 100%, when combined with some conservation.
    The other hydro rich provinces had retail rates of 8-9 cents and we were about 10.5 cents, even with the albatross of Holyrood. A proper "least cost option" could have kept power rates here stable or a slight increase, but reduced consumption via customer efficiency, and therefore less yearly power bills.
    We had a easy problem to solve, and NS had a huge problem and rates there already much higher than ours. So ratepayers here were always fed this crap to compare us with the Atlantic provinces, instead of striving to come closer to the other hydro rich provincial rates.
    Now they twist this BS further, to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear: they aim, not to be lower than the other Atlantic provinces, but "competitive " with them , so rates of 17 or 18 cents. And if that isn't bad enough, such rate mitigation is to be achieved by the taxpayer instead of the ratepayer, or forever pumping oil, that can pay but a fraction of the mitigation required.
    Now Heracle, I think, suggested that in Quebec it would take about 15 cent power to make conservation and customer efficiency worthwhile.
    I agree, that this would drive a robust conversion for efficiency, but less robust if, 13 or 14 cents , but very robust if 16, 17, or 18 cent rates.
    Already with 11 cent rates, conversions have stepped up substantially here, and will increase going forward. The point of diminishing returns may be about 15 cents. I had hoped that James Feehan might put numbers to that,( with data on the efficiency of alternatives), as he has warned about the impact of rates being too high, driving customers to HPs.
    For new minisplit installations across Canada, it is now 110,000 units per year being installed. Most are in the moderate climate areas, and NS alone has installed over 100,000 this past 10 years, and 20,000 in the year 2011 alone.
    Newer units operate efficiently at very cold temperatures, so can reduce energy use 65 % even in central Nfld also.
    These HPs is like having low cost natural gas for space heating as to savings.
    So where to peg the rates? 17 or 18 cents will likely be a killer for revenue for the power companies. The efficiency of the Hps is just to good, and will drive conversions.
    Now how to explain away to Leblanc why this was not foreseen?
    Ed Martin pronounced that Nflders were not interested in conservation. I suggest they are not in fact interested in fake conservation. But when households can reduce space heat costs by over 60 percent, as Trump says "we'll see what happens" to Mflders and conservation.
    When conservation means big savings, I suggest they'll jump aboard, just for the savings, and conservation is the end result.
    Was martin ignorant of low cost electric space heating options and technology, or just ignorant of Nflders natural desire to reduce their heating costs, or not ignorant at all, and just said what passed the smell test for uninformed journalists who never asked the tough questions?
    But now Williams and Marshall are almost on the same page, as to where we are with Muskrat. Gosh, Danny and Nalcor could have used the same lawyer for standing at the Inquiry, they are gaining mutual admiration so fast. At this rate, we'll soon hear that MF is better than Churchill Falls.
    Did someone say the inquiry is heading down a rabbit hole?
    Winston Adams

    • To return to the UG post (as comments typically drift miles off the original posting), comments this week by Williams and Marshall should be viewed as bombastic PR spin by the main defendants of the Public Inquiry: Nalcor and the former PC government. The game is on and they will use every opportunity to defend themselves and shamelessly promote the debacle.

      If rate doubling were needed in 2018, they'd be public enemy number one and wouldn't dare speak up. As the calm before the storm is going to last at least another two years, they have a window of opportunity to campaign shamelessly and ultimately strive to fluff off and dupe the Inquiry. I worry the deep resources of these charlatans is too much for our MFCCC to compete with. It's early days but I hope the MFCCC can devise a means to get their message out more broadly – many of us readers need to step up and find ways to help.

    • Winston:
      Why not start a petition to have this inquiry stopped? It is obvious the inquiry isn't going to investigate anyone or recommend any action so why bother going ahead with it? This inquiry is another failed attempt at democracy in Newfoundland and only adds to the suspicion of a coverup.

    • I expect that trying to stop the Inquiry now is like it was trying to stop MFs project.
      After the efforts of Vardy and Des, most now want this Inquiry, as most wanted MFs in 2012, so it will play out, and people want answers and and hope for accountability, and justice , if there was criminal activity. But I expect disappointment on all fronts. Not even answers if some important questions are not asked, and if answers are like what was done by Nalcor and their consultants to mislead on this project for years.
      Now 30 million is a lot of cost and yet not much. This is less than 1/3 the cost of the dome that was paid for and was useless and discarded for scrap. And about the same as paid out to many victims of Mount Cashel , who suffered through hell, most for a lifetime, and some 70 cases not yet settled, dragged out now for 26 years after Mount Cashel closed. But here, most of 30 million will go to lawyers and cost associated with the MF suspects. They will rake in their fees quickly, to deflect and protect the guilty, I suspect.
      So, 30 million should at least have entertainment value. I mean about the cost to produce a low cost movie.
      Now UG, as in this piece, is like a fly on the wall, and reads like a novel, the intrigue etc.
      If he keeps it up, his novel will be much more popular than Leblanc's report I suspect. In the future, it will be an important piece of our history, like reading the collections of Ray Guy now, to understand the Smallwood years.
      So, a petition to stop the inquiry, hell no. Hopefully UG will take us into the rabbit hole and we will will see the rabbits perspective, as the main media is sure not going to do it.
      This is no easy task for the Uncle, to expose the rot, and not offend the judge, who has power over the MFCCC, and what they can achieve.
      Will Leblanc be part of a cover up? Good question, and time will tell.
      I sometimes make a wager, like 10 to 1 that the North Spur will fail. I expect Leblanc will fail to meet the expectations of the public. That the suspects that bring our province to the brink of bankruptcy, will be well protected rather than be fully exposed and held accountable.
      This first public session is setting the tone, and I am not impressed. Much depends on the ethics and character of Leblanc, and we yet have a small insight into this.
      But let it roll on, roll on.
      For sure it can say little or nothing on the reliability of this MF transmission scheme, or North Spur safety.
      I would suggest Leblanc fly to Labrador and to a chopper aerial view of Mud Lake area as the spring thaw reached its maximum, and see what citizens there face as to fear of drowning. And he should immediately demand of Nalcor their plan to mitigate against what happened last year. And Nalcor plan should be made public now within 10 days, so to keep Nalcor on their toes, knowing that Leblanc will be there to watch this unfolding in a few weeks. To be sure, the main media will follow him there, and it can give needed credibility to his concern, if it exists, for the people worse impacted form this boondoggle.
      So, like the might Grand River, that rolls on , rolls on, so too must this Inquiry.
      I strongly oppose any petition to stop it. Let us witness a cover up ,if that is what transpires. I sure hope it doesn't.
      Again to quote Trump; "We'll see what happens",(as his lawyer now seems to face criminal indictment).
      Winston Adams

    • Winston:
      There is a company in Europe that manufactures Free Piston Stirling Engines which run of the heat from a Wood Pellet Furnace. They have one model that has a 5kW of electricity capability, provides central heating and all the hot water you can use for domestic use.
      Just think about that. Rural and isolated cabins could easily live off the grid with such a system coupled with batteries for downtime to run fridges or such. This would leave only cooking which would need an alternative source possibly propane or wood. It is conceivable that with a system such as this and a little wind or solar or both with backup batteries a person living in an area like NL could live a modern lifestyle off the grid at a competitive costs. This is just another example of the alternatives that were not explored before the Boondoggle was announced.

    • David Goodyears passive design house in Flatrock is to be heated by less than 1 cord of wood per year,but will be grid connected.
      I do not suggest off grid is economic even if grid rates are 15 or 20 cents. But reducing grid kwh by cost effective means is the best way, unless in a remote area where the grid is not available.
      Our island hydro produces at about 3 cent cost, even units a century old, …… is MFs and the distance, the complexity , the lack of reliability, the little demand for the energy, the low amount of energy available, the risk of the North Spur, the available lower cost alternatives,(MF cost about 60 cents per kwh) etc that makes it a boondoggle, all known before sanction.

  9. And now here we have DANNY WILLIAMS, instigator of the MUSKRAT FALLS BOONDOGGLE or FIASCO, pick your favourite noun, attempting to slap a gallon of lipstick on his pet pig, (which is actually a muskrat)…

    Notice how he attempts to conflate Stan Tobin's relieved statement regarding the absence of any notable project snafus over the past year… as implying that the entire project has been a resounding success, and that all the "negativity" surrounding has been for nought. and that the non-believers, heretics and damned should be singing hosanas for the miraculous creation He incubated in the wilderness of the Big Land.

    Father Danny will be preaching that tune even as his out-migrating Galway flock are packing their U-Hauls and pick-ups and fleeing His fiscal basket case of a province, yea, even unto The Rapture will Father Danny lovingly anoint his sacred muskrat-pig mutant with barrels upon barrels of lipstick… amen…

    • The unmitigated gall of DW insults every Nler. I was astounded reading the article in the Telegram. The man has no concience whatsoever. How in the name of Je–us Ch–st can the man blatently state that MF is "good" for NL?? The effin project can never make a dime given the cost of producing and transporting it. The man is living in a dream world!! DANNY you're effin nuts!!!!!

  10. Yup…they are doing it to us again…now that the inquiry is approaching. They are spinning their venom about muskrat….that it will bring in millions in the future. The same crowd as before, along with Stan the man and coady this time, aided and albeit by the brave fearless media. How do we stop them. They are preying on the average Jane and Joe, that muskrat is good for us. When statements that Stan the man and Dannie the million ear made this week the brave fearless media, failed to challenge them. When they made their statements, should the media not ask them to explain their comments, like how will muskrat bring in money in the short term and long term. And it is obvious where they expect the money to come from to support muskrat and mitigate the hydro rates, and not make the taxpayers pay beyond their means. Their answer as it always was, from oil money. Yep…so every dollar they siphon from that resource is less for health, education, roads, and all the government services, including payrolls and pensions. You cannot spend the same dollar twice, if you pay it to the muskrat lenders then you cannot spend it on public services. Does anyone get that?? How about the brave fearless media. Yes, I know they have a boss too, and they will not hesitate to got rid of them if they don't tow the bosses line. Yep… Just ask snookie. So guess that only leaves the CBC media, or are they beholding to their local political bosses too. If the local media cannot confront the boondoggle elite supporters, then is it possible to bring in the mainland media. The cops bring in help from the mainland, NS, ON, AB etc. I am listening to Stan the man right now on the radio, and I am about to throw up. Finish strong…etc. Yup..entering a new era, a new era, of hydro prices that will kill us. And the get away with it…spinning their, venom, lies, half truths, and bamboozle the public, and not a word uttered by the brave media, as they run to public airways, to see who can get it out first. They fooled a lot of people a few years ago. Will you be fooled again??? Joe blow, average Joe, AJ. Yup, got a play toy working again. Sooo watch out…except I am a slow typer.

  11. I had intended to comment on the previous posting by UG"secret management reserve for muskrat uncovered". From your posting, my understanding is this reserve fund, was basically a cash fund, held at muskrat by the gatekeeper, 6 million dollar man, or Dracula. Unknown to the public this almost 2$ billion fund was held in reserve, and I guess eventually spent on muskrat, or maybe some spent even before muskrat was sanctioned. Where did this money come from?? I assumed it was siphoned from the oil money by Dracula at the death of night, and placed as a reserve to be transfused into muskrat, or some if its dire builders or bankers or financiers when there was no other means to pay them and to keep muskrat on life support. Yep, as I have refered previously, to dracular in charge of blood transfusions, and the government having created a monster called nalcor or Frankenstein. Yes, so this was all in the original plans to elude the public, Dracula and Frankenstein. Yes, it all makes scense now, but think some of us suspected this right from the beginning…the best laid plans of mice and men…all in the name of a boodoogle. You couldn't make this shit up. Will Leblanc call a spade a spade or will he be bamboozled like a lot of the public, into this great scheme that would provide millions and billions for the public treasury, when oil Prices eventually hit the 200$ mark per barrel, and the super royalties begin to roll in. Cause that's the kind if thinking and pie in the sky that got us in this mess right from the beginning. Yep, they call it eternal optimous, I call it rolling the dise, or addicted gamballing. Gamble your own money, by all means, but leave our money to pay down the debt, and not in reserve and held by the gatekeeper, who should be behind bars, to spend at his own choosing. Thats one good reason that oil money should not be held by Nalcor, at least by the finance minister or other politicans, because we can at least vote them in and out, but gatekeepers are like kings, they are beholding and responsible to no one, not even themselves. Yup, and then they say, all in the best interest of the people of the province. Have you never heard of the word …democracy…which one main principle is keep the people informed, and allow the people to decide when they have the facts, rather locked up in secretecy, with Dracula , Frankenstein and so.called kings. Joe blow, average Joe, AJ. (3 in one).

  12. I wonder if Maurice of Vision 2041 blog could update his chart of peak demand and energy use to include 2017.
    And I heard that Apr 21 is his Birth day, same as the Queen ?
    If so happy birthday,

  13. Watched the brave media scrum with the CEO last week, and by what news he told, he told how they were working to mitigate rates, with a few million here and there, like cheaper winter power from NS, and later power from UC, cheaper than holyrood, a few million, but doesn't change the big picture, he said. Why not ask when the project will turn a profit, as part of the big picture. We have seen lots of evidence on this blog, that the answer might be never a profit. Buy why not get it from the CEO, just for the record. Maybe he might have a different answer, and then explain it. Do we not need to know, as ratepayers, and citizens. Maybe they should ask does the project have enough water to operated at full capacity, and if they are waiting on the SCC to rule on the WMA, and in the interim are they negotiating with HQ to resolve that before the court ruling. With the spring melt, what measures, plan is in place to prevent flooding at Mud Lake, and with two dams on the river are they coordinating the water flow with HQ to prevent flooding. Are these not some questions that the brave media should ask on our behalf as citizens. I don't really know, as I am just the average Joe, so what would I know. And I am sure others would have similar questions that they would like the CEO to respond. The CEO doesn't make himself available every day to the media, so they have to make hay while he is. Just my taughts. AJ.

    • Last year, the flood at Mud Lake was on May 17, if memory serves.
      Depending on weather conditions , this year, peak flow from melting, could be sooner or later. So may be May 10th or sooner, so about 18 days time. Waters from the monitors will be seen rising a week or more sooner than peak flow, so I would expect an increase starting in 10 days maybe.
      Now after all winter, the flows should now be at the minimum, and are influenced by the Churchill Falls flow and generation upstream. Traditionally , their production is low at this time and intentionally so to reduce the impact at Mud Lake etc.
      I assume the MFs elevation is still held at 21.5 m. With the water flow now low. It seems prudent to open, that is lift the gates some, and bring down the water level there, which will increase the flow some downstream, in advance.
      The advantage is that a reduced elevation upstream of MF allows a reduced volume of water there, and permits temporary increased storage capability when the thaw melt picks up.
      The intend should be to regulate the water flow downstream to reduce the risk of flood. This regulation is via modulation of the gates of the spillway. As the flow downstream gets to levels not to be exceeded, the gates at MF is then lowered more to reduce this flow downstream. This causes the elevation at MF, which had been lowered, to rise again to 21.5 m and somewhat higher than that, to hold back the main trust of the melt. This should be coordinated with the Churchill falls flow which is reduced during this time frame.
      This method does not agree with keeping the MF elevation at 21.5 meters,(as they did last year) but requires the gates to be modulated, to first lower the elevation Upstream of MF, then let it rise higher than 21.5.
      AJ , Average JOe, does this make sense?
      To keep a fixed elevation of 21.5, is wrong and is BS, I submit, un-respectively. This was their line of PR last year and we know the result of last year.
      Now I would defer to opinions of engineers who are experts in water flow management to reduce the risk of flooding. But what is their opinion? What is their expertise? What is their names and qualifications? Last year , the cable engineer , Gil Bennett had much to say, and what a fine mess that was. And then UG published a letter where the contractor blamed Nalcor for the flood.
      What is their plan? Can we, and the people downstream know in advance, that is: make it public. Has HQ given Nalcor their recommendations and advise? Was HQ consulted as to the gate modulation that is appropriate to reduce the flood risk?
      Do we want a repeat of last year, where citizens were blaming Nalcor for opoening the gates and increasing flows at the wrong time? Are not the citizens of Mud Lake and Happy Valley Goose Bay entitled to have transparent information as to the flood mitigation plan this year, or just hope for the best? Is there any level of trust in Nalcor that they give a rat's ass as to the trauma of these people from last year's events?
      Nalcor , I suggest you make public your mitigation plan as to water flow control.
      Winston Adams

    • Well Winston, as you know I am no expert or an engineer, but occasionally my common scenes kicks in and I agree with you that the levels have to be modulated with the use of the gates, to try and control the water levels downstream. As doing nothing, but keep the elevation constant at 21.5 meters, then you are not helping the water levels down stream, and most likely making them worst. So yes, I follow your logic totally, and it may not be just a one time operation, the levels above may have to modified a number of times, depending on the levels downstream over maybe a week or so as the river creast. But they surely need a plan, and let the people know downstream that someone is looking after their safety as best they can. Just wondering in the future when muskrat is in full operation, will they be able to control the water levels similarly when their other job is to produce power, and what will take priority, the water levels or the production. Keep on trucking winston, thanks, AJ.

    • I neglected to add that two other factors that may need to be taken into account, in the water levels downstream. HV-GB has a some tidal change from the ocean effect,depending if it neap or spring tides. I forget now, the approx change, but know it can be several feet, so how high to flood Mud Lake as the downstream current adds to the tidal height. Also, guess at that time of year you are not dealing with just homogeneous water, but rather ice infested water, which obviously has some effect on water flow, both above the dam and below. So think it can be a tricky business. Just my taught. Thanks AJ.

  14. Winston, AJ,

    I can confrm you that when you focus on a single objective, you have a high probability to reach that objective but also high risk of side effects. Here, MF was managed for such a single objective with basically no consideration for others. Definitely, not using MF to manage the water level was a missed opportunity.

    About syncing with UC or not, this does not sound as an aggravating factor. HQ managed the water level at CF the same way they did for decades before. As such, no reason to think this situation by itself would have create the flooding.

    As for keeping MF at 21.5, as mentioned, it was clearly a missed opportunity, but was it an aggravating factor ? I don't think so. The reason is that keeping MF at constant level makes it "invisible" on the flow of the river. No buffering and 100% of what comes in translates to 100% of what goes out. Just like at any point on the river, dam or not. To ease the flow at lower point on the river, you must reduce the outgoing flow to below 100% of what is coming during a rush and when you have an opportunity, relase more than 100% of what is coming to give you more margin. Winston gave a good example of such a plan. That way, MF is not invisible anymore and has the effect of a moderator, so is helpful.

    MF is pretty far from UC. As such, a lot of melting adds in the river, not from UC. So to reduce UC's flow to ensure MF reservoir will be able to absord everything is not trivial and one needs data about everything to get this right.

    As for me, I consider this incident was a beginner's mistake : they defined their goal without a clear picture of the complete system and reality. As such, they achieved only a partial result and the part they forgot about ended up in a big mess. Not far from the entire project after all…

    Nice to talk with you,

  15. Just a personal observation here… I would suggest independent politicians, such as Mr. Paul Lane, inherently have more credibility and integrity than the nauseatingly obsequious partisan dimwits and culprits that by and large comprises the NL government politico.

    To go it alone by sitting as an independent takes no small degree of courage, and a genuine willingness to stand up for interests of one's constituents… rather than engaging in the childishly disingenuous muckraking of petty partisan politics.

    Mr. Lane, indeed… all independent politicians, should be commended for that.

    • Hang on now. Now that Mr. Lane is independent he has "credibility"? I seem to recall the same Mr. Lane being one of the attack dogs for Mr. Williams and Ms Dunderdale. Hardly a week went by and he was on the air spouting the wonders of Muskrat and the PC management of the economy. Then there was the "poll goosing" skulduggery. Then he went to the Liberals and found that his political ambitions were his own. Now he's found the "Road to Damascus"?! Really. Keith

    Mother's Day is a big deal, likewise Father's day, but poor old earth, and old it is, gets no respect.
    A handful of kids raise the flag at city hall. A mention of the Environment Association, who seem to be mostly polluters.
    Can we be like new Zealand and ban new off shore drilling, out of respect for the struggling fish stocks even?
    Winston Adams

  17. Flooding at muskrat – A tricky business- seems primary cause was an ice jam. Did a little reading Winston from last year, when my clunker didn't kick me out and seems from locals and postdocerate science Robert Way who grew up on the Churchill, concluded that the ice out from Mud Lake was thicker than normal, but insufficient data to say why, except heavy late fall rains, and quick thaw in the spring. As you know mother nature is a great modulator, so all is in balance over the thousands of years. Ice freezes- melts – run off every spring – no problem. The people if Mud lake confirmed this for at least past 100 years, and that cannot be dismissed. So I think the answer lies in what caused the ice at the mouth of the river to be thicker???? Was it an anomonoly, or was it the Dam? If you can answer you may be at the sourse of the flooding. We know, the Gates were adjusted to keep the water level at 21.5 meters. I am just guessing how that was done, but obviously before melt time they were closed or allowing less water to flow, as the river flow increased the gates were opened more to maintain 21.5 meters. So the water coming into the downstream increased. Did this fresh water then flow on top of the ice and during the night time when temps were lower freeze on top, causing the ice at the bottom to sink lower, if this continued for a week or so, or maybe longer then the ice becomes much thicker. Then when the real spring thaw and flow is at its peak, as the river creast, then the ice at the mouth if the river is too thick and heavy, that the water flow is severely restricted. Guess what you have ice raftering and flooding. Thats what the locals said the river seemed to rise, then go back somewhat and then the real flood… 5 to 6 feet above normal. Now thats my hypothesis, not a theory as it's not proven. See Winston, I can go out on a limb, as Joe blow, and get it chopped off, and tomorrow I can be john doe, if I am wrong, and full of baloney, plus I have no credential's to defend or humiliated by being wrong. You do Winston, lol, so I am totally open to be totally wrong. But for now thats my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks, Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.