with PlanetNL

features an interesting PBS documentary called The Race Underground dealing
with the technological, political and social challenges of building the first
U.S. electric subway, in Boston, in the late 1800s. 
project had a lot of naysayers. Some were concerned about the destruction of
the historic city (especially Boston Common, America’s oldest public park);
others about the enormous financial risk described as “… a jump into the
unknown.”  The superstitious and the
religious feared that going underground meant getting close to “the
netherworld”. Then there were the dangers of electricity.
vote “by the narrowest of margins” brought the matter to a close and the subway
was built. The people loved it. The subway cars were clean and clothes ceased
being fouled by sooty coal-fired steam engines. Congestion in downtown Boston
disappeared and allowed even more people to come in. The suburbs grew rapidly.
Not lost on anyone was the presence of far fewer stinky, slow horses on the
streets. For investors, the new system was more profitable than the old

naysayers are wrong. Those who choose to take a hard position against an
enterprise sold by proponents as necessary and profitable as well as
economically, socially and environmentally progressive have a responsibility to
consider the soundness of their disagreement. 
Naysayers need to be sure that their position is grounded in good
information and analysis, and consider if partisanship, political or financial
self-interest, or some other untenable influence is driving them to come to a
false or misleading conclusion.
naysayers don’t have a constituency large enough to outflank a Party in power
unless they are funded by well-heeled vested interests. The challenge of
influencing the political process is far greater when Opposition Parties are
small or weak, or simply want to play both sides. Political Parties eventually
have to be judged on their behaviour in a general election. If naysayers are
wrong, they get to walk away with impunity having no one but themselves to
answer to.
course, the contrary is also true; flag wavers have no less a responsibility
than do naysayers. Locally, interest groups like the St. John’s Board of Trade
have used their membership, financial ability and media access to promote a
project not just injurious to themselves but to the province as a whole. Others
amongst the institutional leadership flag-waved too, or conveniently remained
the possibility of failure due to the size of the investment relative to fiscal
capability and size of the economy is disproportionate — as in the case of
Muskrat, but not the Boston Subway even in the 1800s — no one should feel that
they have social licence to play a high stakes game of recklessness. 
are other huge differences between our Muskrat Falls project and the Boston
subway project. Naturally, one is tempted to point first to the doubling of
capital costs without even realizing that sanction was given in the absence of
sound cost estimates or adequate consideration to demand issues and price
elasticity in a demographically challenged economy, a deal with Nova Scotia,
water management, an inexperienced team and a host of other strategic and
technical risks. Any one of them was capable of undermining the best business
the case of Muskrat — unlike the Boston Subway project — there was one risk
that barely warranted mention either by the proponent or the flag wavers. It
might have taken first spot if clearer heads had been more concerned with
success than sanction.
never considered that technology had already overrun them.
contrast, the Boston Subway represents a winning case of a disruptive
the Dunderdale Government tried to offset this risk by giving itself a monopoly
over power production and transmission. But the nature of technology is that it
is often ubiquitous. Even if the unwise had gotten just a few of the other
challenges right, they may have still been betting on the wrong side. 
gambled on being a first-adopter of an electric underground. Edison and other
trailblazers, like Frank Sprague who won the contract and designed the motors
for the Subway, were demonstrating how electricity was changing everything. It
was apparent that electric motors would eliminate horses for city commuter
traffic, and a thousand other things. 
The 56-minute documentary didn’t even mention oil-powered motor cars,
which were still a few more years into the future. 
short, one of the BIG problems with Muskrat is that our Government wagered on
horses — old technology — when emerging technologies were already transforming
the way we generate and distribute electricity.
Muskrat, those changes were not just associated with highly productive shale
gas which has played a major role in depressing the price of electricity in the
New England States and elsewhere (about which Nalcor was warned repeatedly).
was it reflected solely in efficient heat pumps even though they are an
increasingly pervasive substitute for electricity-gobbling baseboard heating.
Though a simple policy change or two, including use of the pricing mechanism,
could have flattened the high peak demand this monster creates for just a few
months each winter.
fact that this is the age of “smart grids” also only speaks to one piece of a
larger, more threatening group of technologies challenging traditional energy
infrastructure. This system employs energy-saving technology using smart
meters, smart appliances, renewable energy and improved control over power
production and distribution. Its arrival – well before Muskrat sanction – only
proves how outdated the idea of big hydro really is.
we be concerned about technologies even more threatening? Many jurisdictions,
including some, like the New England States which Nalcor saw as a major
potential export market just a couple of years ago, are eying the rate of
progress in solar. Virtually every market is following the evolution of battery
storage.  Like electric motors in the
late nineteenth century, the most revolutionary phase of electricity
development awaits. 
Marshall acknowledges that Muskrat Falls was far too large for our needs. With
power-producing and power-saving technology moving literally at the speed of
electricity, think of Muskrat as a commodity without (paying) customers.
we’re going to be stuck with a giant $13B horse that nobody wants to touch, see
or smell. And that stinks.
they bet on the wrong horse, it makes perfect sense for politicians and
business types, too, to check themselves and ask, when a new and expensive
public investment is next on offer, whether the naysayers know something they
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. Uncle, could you be so kind and publish a schedule and percentage of electricity rate increases since January 1, 2016 including the HST. Your readers should know how quickly rates are increasing. The current request for increases before the PUB are 18% by Hydro and 1.3% by NF Power by January 2019. Some people get used to the increases and begrugingly pay them. Others have their ability to pay comprimised and quality of life very negatively impacted.

  2. There is likely not one in ten thousand Nflders know what you mean when you talk about flattening the high peak demand caused by this monster(electric baseboard heaters), that is they have never seen the simple picture of that monster in a chart, and the amount of power added in winter, and how it could be flattened, cheaply.
    One could compare why the Nfld pony was such a useful and cost effective horse on this Rock, as compared to the Clydesdale, such that bigger is not always better. If largely uneducated out port Nflders prior to 1960 could figure out the economics of the Nfld pony, why could todays university trained citizens and business leaders and politicians not figure out what the naysayers knew…….

    • The baseboard heater and all its follies have never been discussed as the root cause of our energy problems and because of this an alternative has never been discussed either. Now it is too late for either.

    • Of course Anom @10;24, what you say is factually wrong,and suggests you never followed the PUB hearings and comments on this blog in the past.You are right that the power companies largely ignored it.
      As to be being too late, suggests we should continue to add such inefficient loads on new buildings and totally ignore such good technology for existing buildings, and any discussion otherwise is not prudent.
      I suggest we need to discuss both:1. The Inquiry must assess why this was ignored by the power companies, and 2, should it be totally ignored going forward….., or assess the value of it being part of our future energy plan.
      What if MFs is so uneconomic and unreliable that it never operates, tell me your Plan B. And how do you prevent customers from converting to save on their power bills…….(due to Vardy`s elasticity argument)…..

    • Since when did the PUB review the proposal to build Muskrat Falls? As I recall the PUB review was purposely omitted because of fear that the truth about the project would be in the open.

      As for being to late- it is to late. We now have an $13Billion debt to pay of and it IS going to be paid one way or another. Right now it is going to be repaid through increases in rates (a raise of up to 23 cents per kilowatt of usage AND further subsidies from the offshore royalties by transferring profits from Nalcor's oil division)

      And we all know Muskrat falls is uneconomical. That is why we have to double (possibly triple ) rates and transfer royalty money from the offshore. As for unreliable, there is still Holyrood as a backup.

    • Muskrat Falls was built on the premise that with an undersea cable through NS and NB and our own access to the New England markets, NL could sell about 300 MW at a higher price to pay for the project and the remainder would either go to NS or NL as needed. What Nalcor didn't see or refused to see is that natural gas, wind, solar and efficiencies were being developed and a faster pace in the US than one could say Boondoggle.
      The whole project was not just uneconomical, it was built on false pretences from day one and no one was allowed to criticize it for if they did the unpatriotic or anti Danny and that is the crux of this mess.

    • Anony @ 15:44:

      Wrong-even at $6.2B Mf power couldn't be sold at a profit today, do the math. Nalcor/DW/EM et al pushed the voodoo economics yes, but a simple calculator exercise on $6.2B for anyone interested should have raised an alert.

      Bottom line is for UC we gambled with someone else's money that power rates wouldn't go up(and they did, we lost an investment opportunity for money that was never ours to begin with), for MF we gambled with money we borrowed because we never had it that rates would go up and they didn't.

      UC was a better deal, we didn't spend money and we never got a windfall. For MF, we spent money and got nothing-actually we spent money we cant afford to pay back now.


    • PENG2
      Isn't that what anom @ 15:44 said? DUhh!!!
      "The whole project was not just uneconomical, it was built on false pretences from day one and no one was allowed to criticize it for if they did the unpatriotic or anti Danny and that is the crux of this mess."

    • Anony @ 7:09:

      I am not arguing with anony-just stating that even if completed on the original budget MF power was still over priced for the proposed market. I don't necessarily agree that efficiencies and other power sources has anything to do with making MF power more costly than what is available on the open market though.

      The other anony has repeated exactly what I have said many times-MF was political.


    • Do you mean, Peng2 that customer efficiencies, whether with or without incentives,and other power sources such as cost effective island hydro or wind energy, (if prudently done) going forward, would not necessarily make MFs power rates, or yearly power costs, more costly to ratepayers.

    • PF:

      Not quite, what I am saying is the current cost of MF is set–give or take $500/yr for every person in NL for 57yrs(as per the original budget about $250/yr). This is set, money sunk and nothing we can do about it-it will be recovered by either usage or taxes. This is capital only-not operation, transmission etc.

      MF if completed at the original budget of $6.2B would have equated to about $0.03kwhr on an overly optimistic 824MWhr generation not including transmission, the NS block, losses etc.

      Id offer that incentives, efficiencies, alternate sources etc wont affect the costs of MF either way (but will affect how costs recapture is executed for sure)-it was poorly conceived and never viable if the costs were to be recovered on the market.

      That doesn't even touch on poor execution, operation, durability etc-thats another story.


    • Worse case (or likely case?) may be that MF is completed but not operated, as you have proposed, and also that CF power available is insufficient to pay the operating costs of the infeed.
      In such a worse case we need Holyrood back up, continued high oil fuel costs and Holyrood upgrades or new gas turbines, again making a case that incentives, efficiencies, alternate island sources may be the least cost? What are your thoughts as to being likely or unlikely? Or that imports via NS is of any substantial value, or even reliable if available?

    • PF:
      You hit a few points, see my thoughts:
      1)I suggest complete and not operate so as to avoid default-MF isn’t like a car that the bank takes and you don’t have to pay for it. The FLG is clear in the consequences of default are worse that completion
      2)I don’t think Holyrood will be idled-there isn’t enough data to suggest to me that island production can cope with consumption and the guarantee to NS. Even if everybody went tomorrow and reduced consumption it would take several years for a trend such that NL Hydro could adjust their model to account for a reduced consumption-Hydro must always have excess capacity.
      3)Alternate sources were never considered, as far as I can see, too late now since we got the MF bill to consider this option. However, in the interest of sound business, government and Hydro should always be considering alternate generation.
      4)As for imports from NS-we would need a source (does Ns have excess or is there a line that we could actually import over?) and then we still pay for that.

      And we still haven’t even touched on the reliability of getting UC/MF power to the island-Anglo-Saxon route provided challenges, the WMA, and MF actual generation etc, all issues that I just don’t accept as being minor.

      Anyway, I see no easy options for this-in the end, taxpayers are going to be hurt.


  3. Agree with UG, "….the naysayers know something they don't". The average Jane and Joe, may not articulate why they know it, just their common sense I guess. I have met many that have said Dannie et al, have "oil on the brain". As CD once said, we don't have a fisheries policy, and don't need one, or words to that effect. The fishing industry was treated like the horse and buggy days, and smells. Oil on the brain was an expression for "they forgot about everything else" except oil to get a legacy fund to build hydro dams, like muskrat falls, and gull on the lower Churchill, and an energy warehouse. And guys like Eddie that still believes that it will be good for our future, and money well spent. Now, I believe in the oil industry, as it has brought wealth to this province, why we are considered a have province, and will bring billions in the future, but should not have been considered as our sauvoir to the exclusion of all other industries, and activities. It was caused by "oil on the brain syndrome", that a lot of us just knew. So, if you are interested and want to sing along with Arnold Mackey, on utube and his lyrics just google his song, " oil on the brain", says average Joe.

  4. Omg…did anyone see the news conference of Putin, and putin's puppet. What a sad day to be an american, they should hang their heads in shame for having elected a man as spineless a jellyfish. Yes, he was elected by the Russians as the president of Russia, now I understand. So his name should be changed from Donald to putin's puppy, or pp Trumpie. What a wimp!! Says Joe blow.

    • Hey, with larger houses needing about 30kw, most of this being baseboard heaters,and MF at 12.7 billion , that is about 750,000 dollars for power in winter to feed each of these houses from that source, The economics is just go great that only the top economist of MUN, Wade Locke, was smart enough to give his blessing.

  5. This is not the first time newfoundland politicians gambled on outdated technology but is probably the most expensive bid. Think back and look at all the fish plants built in this province through the 1970's and 1980's. They were built on the premise that the economics of an industry didn't matter as long as the people involve got their ten weeks stamps and remained in these communities for another generation contributing to the equalization formula. Frank Moores and Brian Peckford played this game for years and it came to a head when the groundfish moratorium was announced. Other such gambles involved the Come by Chance refinery, Labrador Linerboard, the GBS system for Hibernia (which had to be propped up by Ottawa also) and the general bloated civil service and MUN. There was never any rational approach to development.

    The question we as private citizens should be asking is "If private industry isn't investing in a project with their own money then why is the provincial government trying to developing it?" there are some areas where government should be involved but there are other areas where it should just plainly but out. Electricity generation is one of these areas.

  6. Sad to say the naysayers lost the Muskrat battle handily. A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing!

    • To the contrary. The Inquiry beckons to expose the betrayal of responsibility exercised by those in power who purposely steered us into danger. Or maybe you're in as a full a denial of that reality as that conniving cohort – what did you gain from this ugly $13 billion mess?

    • @anon19:03 'Sad to say' is very true. Battle lost handily by the naysayers?… That's not so true.

      First, it was never a battle that was going to be won. There are some on here who regularly say we got what we wanted. I say, we got what Danny deceitfully rammed up our arses. That said, I never wanted it and remember when naysayers were asking for a referendum on it. I remember when Paddy Daley booted Bruno off the air… HE now acknowledges that the project was not what HE thought it would be. It's truly disturbing to go back and listen to what naysayers and flag waivers have said on open line via YouTube. When you compare what was said then to what has actually transpired, a select few naysayers have easily topped our 'World-Class'.

      I don't think naysayers lost cause there was never a chance at winning. What will be lost however is the integrity to all those involved. From Danny and Ed right down to PEGNL and even the media. And they will all lose the right to say they were unaware of the many present issues. When that day comes, naysayers will have won… bitter sweetly I may add. It was the rate payers were always going to lose the battle handily and they did… and that's truly sad to say.

    • $33 million to pay lawyers and accountants to justify the right of those we elected to saddle the electorate with the elephant Muskrat, that was built to solve a mouse of a problem. Not sure that is a win for anyone especially taxpayers who will foot the inquiry costs and the burden of the boondoggle's cost repayment as well.

    • Have to agree with you dm. Not sure what point anon 16:21 is making. Just a partial quote from Shakespeare. So maybe he just randomly threw it in there without thinking, or bothering to analyze or explain what he mean. Maybe he is an expert on Macbeth and Shakespeare or maybe just less than a fleeting ghost on the stage. Would be interesting if he explained. I am by no means a student of Shakespeare, or any part of English plays or literature, but am sure there are many at our learned university. Life, or man is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more – a brief moment in the spotlight only to cease to exist before they realize it is over – sounds like Eddie. From the time he kills king Duncan until his beloved wife kills herself – is a wealth of tragedy – which could have been avoided, if content with his previous title. But with his reckless ambition, or the damaging power of ambition, Macbeth's life, or Life is but a walking shadow or ghost. Wonder who that might be???? Says average Joe.

    • To highlight the bullying tactics DW employed—does anyone remember the day he chastised Randy Simms on Open Line for comments he was making about MF—Make no wonder he got and still gets his own way. I was astounded at the call and it left Randy speechless.
      DW will be a "dirty word" in this province for ever and a day. He has saddled us with a crushing debt

  7. Did i read somewhere that there's a petition about increased electricity rates to be presented by (of all people) Paul Lane to the House of Assembly? Give me a break!! The same guy clapping his hands, doing a jig, making sure to be seen on Day of Sanction? I know desperate times call for you know what, but to think this guy can be of any use to anybody? We're doomed. Move if you can !!

  8. Anyone including Stan Marshall thinks there isn't an alternative to hydro and oil fired generators in Newfoundland doesn't know what they are talking about. The attached is an article about how battery systems and solar/wind systems are not only supplying electricity to major cities in the USA but also supplying electricity at a cheaper price.

    • Well Ontario didn't do it right-just like NL didn't with Muskrat Falls.

      We are talking about 3.5 cents per kilowatt for solar in the US in a competitive market. I think it is time to scrap all the provincially owned Hydro companies in Canada in favour of a competitive market based approach to electricity generation.

    • HQ power and energy sales are predominately hydro electric say about 98%. HQ had 206 terawatt hours of sales last year which includes 35 terawatt hours of export sales. CF represents approximately 15 percent of HQ energy sales and curiously represents almost the equivalent of its export sales, worth about 1.6 billion dollars last year.

    • Wind in conjunction with storage(batteries, flywheel, gravity storage,household heat batteries and pumped hydro-which we already have a capability at Cat Arm) and air to air or ground to air heating systems would have been a much cheaper option but it was shunned in favour of the MEGA PROJECT which creates short term construction jobs and contracts for the NE Avalon for the most part. There was a concern about the nickel processing plant at Long Harbour but that could have been solved easily by permitting both the oil refinery at Come by Chance and the Long Harbour Plant produce their own electricity at their own risks or as a single unit shared between them. Both of these plants along with the mill in Corner Brook (which has its own power plant at Deer Lake) use up the bulk of the daily peak industrial load.

    • Anom @ 13:11

      In the absence of UC, HQ would have just built EARLIER its other projects waiting in the pipeline, at just marginally higher costs.

      But under that scenario, HQ would NOT be losing in 2041 (=> with "1970s" costing's <=) 35 TW.

      You just can't whine about UC without bringing the whole context, really.


      FWIW, Bersimis (1959), Beauharnois (1961), Carillon (1964) and Manic-Outardes all had lower or similar costs than UC.

      However, that low cost environment drastically changed after the hyper inflation years of late 70s / early 80s, when Hydro construction costs almost tripled.

    • Very True. I wonder what deal Dwight, Stan and HQ are mocking up now. I bet it will be massive !

      The supreme court of Canada ruling has been on hold (pending their negotiations) now for over 4 months !!!!!!!!

    • Anom @ 13;33…….. Efficiency and conservation via customer efficiency is generally about 1/3 the cost of any new generation source, and about 1/10 the cost of MF
      Efficient heating systems, for Nfld to replace the "monster baseboard heat" was the most cost effective and offered the greatest saving to customers of any of the many efficiencies measures available. But this was never proposed or evaluated by the power companies here nor the Consumer Advocate, To the contrary, it was discredited as to its potential, and still is.

    • Ok, fair enough, no whining then.


      In a 2017 scenario where UC is absent, we can pretend that HQ would still be exporting about 35 TW of energy, still netting a similar profit, but strictly with HQ owned capacity.

      Furthermore, none of that 35 TW power would disappear (or drastically increase in costs) in 2041.

      Finally, HQ would have escaped the complexities of dealing with this 1969 contract, dealing with "honest" CFLCo (100% Nalcor manned), all those court legal costs/distractions and all the Quebec bashings.

      The more I look at it, HQ should have built its own projects earlier instead, while creating jobs locally.

    • Anom @ 14:50
      That's correct. If there had been an concerted effort in the 1990's early 2000's to install in new homes or replace or even supplement electric heat in older homes with air to air or ground to air (this one especially for commercial and industrial) we could have easily gotten by with wind turbines but now it is to late.
      What astounds me is that new homes today are still installing the electricity guzzling baseboard heaters instead of air to air.


    • Looks like HQ is selling for 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced at much higher costs while domestic rates at 8 or 9 cents. Much like Muskrat but the economics are better for HQ and Quebec because of the much larger population and getting 2/3 of the 18 billion Canadian equalization payments. Interesting that HQ sells 2 terawatt to New Brunswick.
      I think that the protectionist policies in the USA offers an opportunity for some nation building in Canada by breaking down interprovincial barriers to trade by allowing oil pipelines and electrical transmission lines across provincial borders at less than ransom prices.

    • Anom@15;44,
      That the monster baseboard or duct heaters are used in new houses also tends to increase the ratio of winter grid peak to summer peak. I stead of flattening the winter peaks we continue to make it worse, and therefore needing larger peak load backup at Holyrood, and more fuel when thermal is needed.
      That we let this happen over past decades is bad enough, but the trend continues with new large houses using inefficient heating. Codes here should outlaw that for new houses.

  9. Many readers here probably do not have a TakeChargeNL account, so I am going to paste in recent comments from the latest challenge, which is to set an energy savings goal. Until recently, most people responded to challenges like "don't peak in your oven" with things like "I don't peak". The challenges were usually farcical — peeking in an oven for example is likely cost only a fraction of a cent to reheat and insignificant to your power bill. What I see now is desperation. See what you think …

    At the rate that the rates are going up,The only thing left to turn off now is the main power coming into the house. WE have done everything we can .nothing else left to do

    Saving more energy isn't the best goal for most of us since most of us have already done what we can. Reducing electric energy needs to be the goal, so that means heat pump, or propane, or oil or wood pellets. The real problem is the price of electricity.

    Already very power conscious. My house is only 15 years old, good windows and insulation, but have electric in floor heating. My winter heat bills are atrocious and will probably bankrupt me if they get higher. Considering a heat pump, but for a house of my size, I'm not sure how effective it will be.

    Frustrating to say the least! My monthly bills, for the most part, have declined over last year's. Have been energy conscious and tried hard to reduce our energy consumption. Then rates rise, rise, rise. Even question why there is a Consumer Advocate. In a losing battle with energy rates it would seem.

    I attempt to save as much energy as possible. Don't believe having a lower target would make a difference.

    i have budget set at 7-10% reduction for this year and readjust it in the new year

    My energy use is as low as I expect to get it. It will ultimately make no difference how low my energy use is because the rates will continue to increase so that Newfoundland Power and Nalcor can continue to make their guaranteed Profits. The Muskrat Falls boondoggle has to be paid for by the rate payers.

    My setting is "easy". I am doing all I can to save energy but I am not going to subject my family to "last century" conditions in order to save money. Government will have to step in and impose regulations (means test??) to make sure power rates are affordable. Elections coming up next year!!!

    Set at medium,but I'm not sure what else could help,I'm replacing 2 old basement windows this summer and putting in more insulation,can't cut back any more than I have already!

    This goal change is USELESS! If we save on energy the NL power and Hydro costs will still go up, no matter what! We can't ever win. Just have to cut more food out of our grocery list to pay up! I changed my settings from Easy to Medium but I KNOW it won't make a difference! We will continue to shut off every Sunday, for 4 hours, but that won't make a difference either! We already are extremely power and energy conscious.

    I've cut back as much as possible;However with both power companies always looking for more to look after its shareholders and increased revenues we the consumer will never win. But its time we force government through our votes to put some control on power companies,who seem to have a never ending thirst .Maybe they should do some cutbacks starting at the top.

    We have done a lot of things. New energy-saving appliances. Slowly switching from fluorescent to LED. Careful to turn off lights when not in the room. I don't know what else to do. Life is too short to live like a hermit.

    cutting back on other things just to pay the power bill. I have no more to do.

    I'm not sure where else to look for savings. Hopefully, the upcoming fall and winter temps won't be too cold.

    I have already put in a mini split heat pump last October and already see a big difference. I have done a lot of replacements already.

    Yes I do , But with the cost rising so fast it is not helping me or anyone else only the power suppliers

    • Those comments on Take Charge goes to prove:
      1. Take Charge is really run by the scallywags that offer no meaningful solutions to reduce power consumption and system peak demand, and so dupe the public.
      2. Most customers are not aware (yes, there are ignorant of the fact that they are mislead by the apparent efficiencies of LED light , refrigerators etc,) that in fact most all the energy savings are just transferred to baseboard heaters (so heating component goes up as Light and fridge energy goes down) as long as we are in the heating season, which is on average 10 months of the year.
      3. That while Take Charge says minisplits save up to 40 % energy, a good cold climate model saves 65 % or more, and reduces the grid peak load for the heating component by 50-60 %.
      4. That rates may increase by 30-40 percent once mitigation is in place, and efficient heating reduces heat energy by about 65 %, so overall not much of a burden. But this also means that taxes or services or other mitigation means much off set to pay for MFs.
      5 Take Charge has done a world class job of fooling the customers so that they do NOT save meaningful energy, and they use our light bill money to mislead us. In other words we are shit on and they pat it in. They are almost as good as Trunpie to mislead the public. It has been effective tool of fake news here for at least a decade now.

    • The Government will reveal their Rate Mitigation plan before the next election BUT will reveal the fine print after the election..It will include the line "NL residents making over XX thousand/yr will be subject to a temporary Electricity Transmission Tax to be reviewed after every fiscal year…."

      On another topic, whats the latest on Balls plan for the Carbon tax? Due to be revealed this Fall? Another kick is coming.

    • Levy Payer @08:09 I saw the draft figures for the carbon tax. It was was approximately 10 cents a litre +/1 a few cents depending on the carbon density of the fuel. Every fuel (propane, diesel, gasoline) had a different rate. I doubt it will be revenue neutral – just another tax upon tax Wood is carbon neutral so they can't carbon tax that, but you can bet there will be large cutting permit fees. Every cord wood pile will probably need a tag stapled to it indicating the "legal" source from which it was obtained.

    • Electricity costs are not all we have to worry about. The carbon tax will be a goldmine of tax revenue for Govt. Both of these together will drive the cost of everything else upwards. NLers are in for a rough future. Those who pulled the strings and those who are still pulling the strings appear to have no idea what and how to handle DW's mess.
      NL's fiscal future is very, very bleak. Those who simply cannot afford the cost of living will be subsidized and those who are able to pay will pay for the subsidy.
      DW and KD!!! Have you any idea what your "leadership" has done to us???
      Feudalism and serfdom will be our future.

    • Hi Wayne,

      You said that those who are able to pay will pay for the subsidy. Really ? They will ? Considering what human nature is, if these people are about to pay, they will pay for themselves first, much more than paying for others. As such, they will pay once to relocate themselves anywhere more than paying year after year for sustaining others.

      As a community, there is not enough money and money making resources to
      1-Balance the budget
      2-Pay back the already gigantic provincial debt
      3-Pay for MF

      2 and 3 being costs already engaged, they can not be reduced.
      Reducing No1 is not only possible, it is required. The question is, can it be lowered enough to compensate for 2 and 3 ? Considering that cutting budget will reduce the overall money and money making resources in the province ?

      Unfortunately, I doubt it…

  10. The point of this UG piece is that Nalcor omitted to consider disruptive technology, contributing to this 13 billion boondoggle.
    On the supply side was shale gas, advances in solar and wind and battery storage (and pumped hydro storage, not mentioned)
    On the demand reduction side( technically called DSM , demand side management) it permits flatening the winter peak load to reduce the need for Holyrood thermal generation for base load in the winter peaks. This was a no brainer, as Nalcor had in fact identified our residential baseboard heating as a need for more generation , but without addressing the other side: reduction of this baseboard heating load to help avoid such a large and expensive MF option.
    The DMS side uses conservation of energy use, primarily from customer efficiency improvements to kill the MONSTER baseboard heating load. This monster, for residential in Nfld uses 650 MW of demand, and efficient heat pumps permits a reduction in the range of 325 to 390 MW for space heat alone, and additional reduction when used for water heating, and for commercial and institutional heating.
    Other important measures of efficiency include insulation of basements, air sealing, are very cost effective.
    Then there is the synergy of HPs low loads being partially fed by relative small solar arrays for residential, not large expensive arrays.
    So, UG asks why it should be that interest groups like the St John's Board of Trade, with their financial ability and media access was able to promote a project that was also injurious to their group and the province as a whole. Not just the Board of Trade, but as UG points out, others amongst the institutional leadership that flag waved too. or conveniently remained silent.
    Those others, lets name them: MUN economics and engineering depts, the association of engineers, the Nfld Construction association, Fortis and Nfld Power and the main media, and also the many suppliers and contractors in the conservation and efficiency business, all either wavers for MFs or remained silent. Why?
    Winston Adams

    • The Boston subway was innovative at the time, whereas as MF, being 1100 kw away from the load in St John's, has a power loss in transmission representing about 1 billion dollars of the capital cost(despite the DC being more efficient than the AC lines).
      Baseboard electric heaters became popular in Nfld in the late 1960s and continues its widespread use for new housing, sucking out and wasting lots of energy. The first electric heated house is likely Sir Williams Coakers "Bungalow", in 1917, I think, which was innovative at that time. That is a century ago , when there were more horses than motors rated in horsepower in Nfld.
      Nalcor failed to consider cost effective heating technology for houses, ideal for Nfld, that has been around in Asia since 1983, and in Canada since 1991.

    • Good points Winston, you have zeroed in on the salient points. Too bad, as those you mentioned, did not zero in too, but most of them were too blind to see. Blinded by $$$$$$ signs, and let the devil take the hind most. Where were their brains , besides in their boots, the scroundrals, all. And then they have the gull, (balls word) to tell us we have a spending problem, in health care, social services etc. They should all hang their heads in shame, and throw up daily. As I think you mentioned before a list of items we needed and could have built for half the cost of the boondoggle, like a new penitentiary, Waterford hospital, just to mention two, and a day in the sun for all, after years of have nots status et al, to 6 cents a day, to good health care and a decent living for all. But the buggers were too self centered, and still at it. Only concerned with what's good for me,…me me and me. Says Joe blow.

  11. There is another Boston project that perhaps compares better to Muskrat, the Boston Big Dig which is more recent, in say the last 20 years. It went from about 3 billion to about 24 billion and is perhaps the most expensive highway project in the USA to date.

  12. The biggest protest of MFs was, I think, at the Colonial Building. I was there,and about 400 showed up.Some scattered with the rain started, but most returned to hear more. 2 years ago I think.
    One or two other protests had 60 or 80 people. In Labrador, maybe 100.
    Sue Kelland Dyer tried for a online petition, it maybe got 150.
    The recent Flick the Switch got about 1000 involved for July 1,wit some success, but petered after that.
    The new online petition now got 13,000 after 2 weeks.
    The protest yesterday at the PUB, organized by the Flick the switch
    and the online petition people, only got 20 people, and inside it was business as usual. Not even the Consumer Advocate greeted them, as far as I know.
    Ashley Fitzpatrick from the Telegram, who in the past parroted the words of the power companies, and no investigative journalism even done to expose the false assumptions for MF ,was Johnny on the spot, as was the TV media, to capture a `love fest` between the ex CEO of the PUB, Andy Wells, and now independent MHA Paul Lane, previously a flag waver for Muskrat.
    Andy called Paul a big bag of wind, and was ready to fight. Andy, looking rather feeble in body, having trouble to walk, might have fallen over, if Paul had just fart in his direction. But even so, Andy would try for the last word, saying Paul will be called to testify before Judge Leblanc.
    So, the finger pointing has started in earnest. What if Andy locks horns with Danny or Kathy. I can see why Leblanc is beefing up security,having shireffs present in the Fall.
    The officials fear the meek and peaceful protesters, but the ranting and roaring will be from those who saddled us with the boondoggle, or so it seems from yesterday.
    Now, if we take the top 10, and assign 1 billion each in blame, for 57 years of enslavement to 500,000 citizens here,…. well,a lot of shit knockin is due to compensate, says I.
    Now, if things look as bad as we fear, as to the impact of the boondoggle, why did only 20 protesters show up! Hmmmmm. Good question, I guess, needing a good answer.

    • PF seems you are on top of current happenings, or as you see it, at least, can't disagree with you, but guess you are in tune more than I am. Like your comments on Andy, the shit kicker, and Paul from demascas having seen the light, and ready to fight, who knows what, maybe just his re-election. You summarized the protest actions very well. Including the past and most recent. Some has had a little success, others dismal failures. Although I congratulate Keith on his most recent protest at the consumers advocate door, I don't think you can say, almost just out of the blue, lets protest tomorrow, here and there, because I feel like it. Protest have to be well planned, in advance, and the public support gaged to know how successful it might be. If a protest is seen, by those in higher places, as a failure, or lacking public support, then they see that as a positive for them, and support or disinterest by the ratepayers and support or a win for them. So, I think the only thing worst than no protest is a failed protest. A protest must be seen as a victory for the protesters, the rate payers, and the taxpayers, to even get the powers that be attention. Plan well, long and hard and at strategic times says Joe blow.

  13. Hi guys,

    As promised, I am coming back…

    About HQ selling power at a lower rate than the rate for producing, that is another example of how one can uses numbers to say anything.

    Latest HQ project, La Romaine, is said to have a production cost above 6 cents, before transport / distribution. But when one considers that :
    –Construction cost will be amortized on a small part of the lifetime of the complex, offering much cheaper production cost for most of its lifetime
    –Overall production cost with all the projects HQ has (average is below 2 cents)
    –The value of peak energy (La Romaine has reservoirs)
    –and more…

    The overall business plan for La Romaine was sound. HQ stopped building more hydro plants for now, but in no case ended up with trouble. Also, with the deal for selling power to Massachussets, such extra-capacity is not beyond good provisioning.

    About NaySayers, yes, they will always be. They may be right, they may be wrong. It is easy to know after the facts. The importance for a good leader is to be able to identify if they are right or wrong before the facts.

    For MF, the most optimistic scenario presented by the champions was breaking even after increasing power rates by a solid 100%. That by itself should have been enough for a no-go. No need for NaySayer when the champion himself tells you something like that.

    Another way to look at this is that you can bet only on the unknown (can not bet if the sun will rise or not tomorrow; we know it will), and only for the gain of having that unknown now instead of learning about it later. Water Management was known to be under HQ's control. So the bet was to force back that control by legal actions. To bet on that had maximum gain of starting 3 years sooner (time to get the legal case cleared) while the maximum lost was never having control, wasted legal money, reducing CFLCo's trust worthiness and MF being limited to 17%. When the upside is so low compared to the downside, that again is a no-go.

    A third way to look at MF is standard commercial practices and history.
    –Peckford pickle palace was built without a confirmed market for its production and it was part of its doom; so was MF
    –MF was unable to proceed with Frontend loading of the debt, so tried with a backend loading plan. Backend loading is more expensive (more interest to pay). But if there is not enough money for Frontend loading, it is not realistic to think there is even more for Backend loading.

    The presence of NaySayer is not enough to stop a project. It is up to the leadership to listen to them, understand them and take his decision.

    As an example, I never thought that methyl-mercury was such a bad thing. Hydro electricity is by far what has the lowest footprint on the environment. We had reservoirs for decades and that was never a problem. We have communities living up and down these reservoirs and they are safe. I know a lot of NaySayer are big about this, but personally, I discarded that point long time ago. Recently, one explained why studies about methyl-mercury were alarming when reality is not (tests performed with stalled water instead of running water).

    Considering what DW did before MF, I understand how he received credibility. Unfortunately, to have credibility should not have been enough for him to fool Newfoundlanders to such a point… This is beyond credibility. It is down to blindness, denial and lack of self-respect.

    As many of you, I still waiting for the Supreme Court Judgement and wonder what is happening behind the doors…

    • Heracles, is there any negotiations happening on the remaining four rivers, head-watered in Labrador, and running South through QC to St. Lawrence? The contentious Southern Labrador Boundary is at the heart of the animosity between the two "nations".

    • Hi Robert,

      From what I know, I would say No. The reason is that HQ now has significant surplus and without a significant change in marker or demand, there is no need in the foreseeable future. HQ said that they had no more projects as of now, now that La Romaine is completed.

      Because there is no construction on the plan, then there is no negotiation about contructing on these specifics rivers.

  14. Anon @ 10:24
    You are right in saying that more people will start to burn wood and the cutting permit fee increased. What most people don't know is that the timber being harvested by clearcutting (another example of gross mismanagement) will eventually decimate the forest and local woodcutting will get more and more expensive and difficult to find.
    Driving along the highway one would think that our forests are dense and healthy BUT fly over the countryside and it is sickening to see the deforestation which has and still is occuring. Re-planting is supposed to be taking place but more than once the seedlings which were supposed to be planted are casually discarded in the bushes.
    One of the reasons for the moose population to be closer to the road is because this is the only place for them to feed.
    Also one of the reasons for flooding after a major storm is that there is nothing left in the forest to hold up the water.

    There is gross mismanagement by those in power in more areas that just electricity generation and fisheries—what the public doesn't see doesent matter until the results become obvious and then it is too late. Get elected for another term and what the hell, I'll get a cushy pension. Let someone else handle the consequences. Most politicians are there for their own benefit. Muskrat is the most glaring example yet but the forest industry is also in jeopardy. We are our own worst enemy by continueing to elect "me first" politicians.

    • The province has been raped and pillaged. We have dragged up the seafloor mud and destroyed the coral life, sometimes on purpose with chains and wonder why fish stocks are declining. We clear cut the forests, lost the railway, left mining waste, borrowed billions for wasteful projects, buy ferries that have import tariffs rather than Canadian vessels and then neglect to build a suitable wharf, etc. Literally hundreds of examples of incompetence and stupidity costing hundreds of millions. It isn't just the politicians that need to be replaced, but most of the public service from managers to ADMs. It is so full of cronies and inept people who would be fired in the commercial world that it cannot be repaired without a wholesale purge.