FIVE WORRYING TAKEAWAYS FROM DANNY WILLIAMS’ TESTIMONY

Former premier Danny Williams fired back at critics at the
Muskrat Falls Inquiry calling their opposition to the project “reckless,
irresponsible and shameful.” Williams went so far as to term them “bottom
feeders”
. Even the Uncle Gnarley Blog earned his wrath referred to as “Uncle Nobby, Nutty or whatever”. Eventually, it seems, the Commissioner had heard
enough. This is an excerpt: 


But Mr.
Williams we are living in a democratic society so you being a politician in the
past would know that there are people who are going to agree with you and
people who are going to disagree with you. So people have a right, I assume, to
disagree and while you may not like the tenor of their statements I suspect
that, in a democracy, we have to give people the right to express their views.
– Judge
Richard LeBlanc
The Commissioner’s rebuke of Williams’ disparagement of
Muskrat Falls’ critics was one noteworthy moment of Williams’ testimony last Monday and
Tuesday, October 1 and 2.   

For a public trying to keep abreast of the painful narrative that is Muskrat Falls, a few more of Williams’ assertions deserve highlighting.
There are others but I will note only five takeaways at least some of which you may find disturbing:


1.      
Williams’ testimony gives us some insight into his
philosophy regarding large government-funded capital projects. The 2007 Energy(Warehouse) Plan stated that revenues from non-renewable resources should be
used to develop renewable resources. At the Inquiry, Williams went further with
the idea suggesting that revenues from oil and gas should be used to offset
losses from renewable projects. 

One does wonder if he is making the assertion
only because the Muskrat Falls project is seriously off the rails and is
threatening the solvency of the province. Why would Government – or anyone –
use money to make unviable projects “appear” viable when there are more
economic options available? Economists call this practice capital destruction.
It makes no sense. 

It makes even less sense when Williams must
know that the oil revenues to which he refers are needed for public services.  Having fully allocated them, the Government
still can’t balance the Budget – which makes the revenue unavailable for such
an imprudent subsidy in any case.

Williams at the Inquiry
2.      Williams
acknowledged the importance of a Water Management Agreement (WMA) to manage the
water flows when there is more than one hydro facility on the same river. He indicated
that he was aware that Hydro Quebec had refused to agree to a WMA and that
Nalcor had applied to the PUB to obtain approval for such an agreement, though
it was framed in a manner such that it would not derogate from rights already
held by HQ. The PUB sanctioned agreement was worthless without the compliance
of HQ but Nalcor held it up as the real thing. Nalcor told the PUB that, in the
absence of a WMA ,Muskrat’s output would be significantly curtailed.

Giving testimony, Williams admitted that the
Government had accepted legal opinions from sources he did not name and noted
that his Administration allowed preparations for project sanction to proceed
without greater judicial clarity of the water management issue. As we know, the
Quebec Superior Court did not uphold the Government’s claim that the supply
obligations contained in the Upper Churchill Renewal Agreement were different
than under the original contract. The matter is now under appeal. Williams did
not comment on the recklessness of that decision but indicated only the need to
move forward with the Muskrat Falls project.

3.     
Williams gave the impression that his
Administration had given the project and Nalcor’s recommendations rigorous
review. Williams said the departments of finance, natural resources, the
treasury board and others worked closely with Nalcor to evaluate the project
before sanction. There was one problem with Williams’ claim, however. 

First, Inquiry co-counsel Barry Learmonth
informed Williams that he was unable to find evidence of the reviews he said had
been performed by those departments. Learmonth went so far as to state that
“based on what we have found in our investigation, it appears that
government simply accepted the review, and work and cost estimates provided by
Nalcor … without any analysis or review.”

Evidently, Inquiry commissioner Richard
LeBlanc had been informed of the problem and chose, at the end of the
examination of Williams, to comment that it is his understanding that when a
government department makes plans to spend public money, there is a
“fairly rigorous” evaluation of the risks to the province’s fiscal
situation. Leblanc added: “It is a bit surprising to us that we haven’t
seen that.”

Williams commented that “I don’t want to
leave you with the impression that information came in from Nalcor and it just
went right up this clean pipe through government”. The Commissioner,
however, seemed to be in a “show me” frame of mind. 

Readers of this Blog, over the years, will
recall assertions that the Department of Natural Resources served no role in
relation to Muskrat except as a conduit to Cabinet. The Department did not have
the personnel capable of performing any serious assessment of the project.
Neither did the Cabinet Secretariat or the Department of Finance. 

The real story is that once Nalcor began to
assert itself, Finance officials were not even permitted to discuss with the
Crown Corporation revenues due government in advance of preparations for the
Budget. Based upon this Blog’s sources, the Inquiry is not likely to be any
better informed on this issue than it is already. 

4.     
Williams was asked by Commission Counsel about the
issue of risk contingency, a matter on which Forensic Auditor, Grant Thornton
(GT) has reported. GT stated that at a risk averse P75 level, $1.3 billion
would have been added to the Muskrat Falls option. 

The Commission produced an Exhibit in which
Nalcor had proposed the more appropriate P75. A hand written noted on the
Exhibit suggested that P75 would place “more much stress…on the project cost”
and that it was “a very conservative approach”. 
The writer of the note remains unknown. However, Nalcor subsequently reverted
to a P50 Contingency level, lowering one allocation and keeping $300 million
out of the project costs altogether. No one told the public, including Williams, that the full price tag on Muskrat was low-balled. 



The Exhibit (below) was shown at the Inquiry. 
Nalcor Briefing page with hand written notes. Also note P75 Risk allocation, later dropped to P50 which suggested low likelihood of cost overruns and, hence, a low contingency budget added to project costs.
Williams denied any knowledge of the Risk
issue. 



More interestingly he exhibited no concern that Nalcor, ostensibly,
failed to inform him of the omission. $300 million is a rather large sum to be
hiding. The public might have expected acknowledgement or even surprise that
Nalcor had failed obtain formal Cabinet approval for such a decision. In place
of an expression of bewilderment, there was only the heaping of praise by Williams on dismissed
former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin.  



I expect the Inquiry will hear more evidence on this subject. Noted in the Forensic Audit Report, too, the matter contains the element of cover-up.

5.     
“From
my own personal legacy perspective, I stand by this wholeheartedly”
, reporter
Sue Bailey quoted Premier Williams in a December 2012 Canadian Press story.

But
on the witness stand, Commission co-counsel Barry Learmonth asked Williams to
respond to criticisms that he had pushed the megaproject through for the sake
of his own ego and legacy. “Nothing, I’m under oath, could be further from the
truth,”
said Williams. (Bold has been added in both cases; no additional commentary would seem to be necessary.) 
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.

NALCOR (Masquerading as ‘Hydro’)LIVES IN AN UPSIDE DOWN WORLD

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

REMEMBERING BILL MARSHALL

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.

73 COMMENTS

  1. So…

    1. DW likes stealing from Peter to pay Paul, as in, oil revenues already allocated elsewhere to pay for MF.

    2. Quebec still controls the tap.

    3. Rigorous review = a quick scan.

    4. No risk, if you can change the numbers.

    5. DW has a really large ego.

  2. UG or uncle Nutty focused on 5 takeaways from DW testimony.

    1) non-renewables will pay for renewables – philosophy

    2) no WMA

    3) no rigorous review by govt. departments before sanction???

    4) risk contingency p75 vs. P50

    5) legacy project or no legacy project. ???

    UG commented on each of the above in some detail, and if you take all 5 at face value what would be your conclusion??? Seems to me it would be that of a one person show with not one single mouse having the courage to squeak up, and hundreds of little mice all so willing to do his bidding. Even way back in the days of Joey, at least 2 ministers broke rank, sat as independents or crossed the floor. Namely, Crosbie, and Wells. Where are our leaders of tomorrow???

    Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

    • It seems to be a common problem these days. Even if you don't agree with the party you still tow the party lines for fear of repercussions. Anyone remember what happened to Tom Rideout when he disagreed with DW over road repairs? He was not so politely told to find another place to sit in the house of Assembly.

  3. What is becoming apparent in this inquiry is that there was 2 stories being told. Internally Nalcor seemed to have a grasp of the risks to both cost and schedule risks, predicting back in 2012 that completion in 2017 had a 1% chance of occuring and a late 2018 completion was the likely scenario.

    I expect that this trend will continue when the inquiry looks at post sanction. Naclor knew that the schedule and cost information being communicated to the public was at best very optimistic, and at worse "dead wrong".

    The debate will shift did Nalcor misrepresent the project to the public, and key supporters, in order to get sanction. When does it become Fraud?

    • It's been pointing to fraud for a long time. You can bet your bottom dollar that Nalcor was operating in the best interest of who was pulling it's strings and I think everyone knows who that person is. NL will suffer for an eternity for the transgressions of these people all to satisfy a grossly enflated ego. MF is the biggest financial disaster for NL ever to be inflicted on an unsuspecting public. (unsuspecting at the time but we know differently now). SHAME,SHAME,SHAME on those responsible. You deserve what you should get for it.

    • Everyone knows Danny sanctioned Mf so his project Dannyville will have sufficient power. As projected to be the size of Gander he knew Holyrood would not handle it so why not get the ball rolling on this mega project and then leave the scene quietly and lay blame on whoever when she flops.
      Danny was premier and he is to blame for this if anyone. Those papers on the news that day they signed should have been burned .
      Now we all will pay while all this comes into play and no repercussions for anyone. Goes to show how sickening this whole thing really is.

  4. Google CBCNL and the piece: Panting under Pressure:A blistering ballad on Muskrat Falls.
    A guy playing his guitar and singing his new ballad, as to Danny William`s before the Inquiry. Another angle on UG`s take. Perhaps a direct link can be provided on UG to that . Certainly generates a smile, so yes, we laugh at Danny, so too the world laughs at“ I am a genius“: Trumpie.
    Winston Adams

  5. If we assume that the costing model wasn't GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), then every component has a range of possible costs. You could think of them as best case, worst case and most likely case. In reality, each step has a probability distribution, not just three possible values, and many of these are not like throwing dice — the may be skewed one way or the other. For example, best case 1 month, most likely 2 months but worst case, a next construction season.

    In order to evaluate the cost, computers are used to simulate random variances for each component or step to see how things might add up. Some steps get lucky, other steps get into trouble. If you run these simulations hundreds of times, you get a collection of possible final costs. If $8 billion falls in the P75 (75th percentile), then it means that only 25% of the simulations exceed this value, the rest being equal or lower.

    If someone then demands that $6 billion is THE number, then you can look at the simulation results and find how many are less or equal to $6B. There will be fewer, so you might end up with the P50 (50th percentile). The difference between P50 and P75 can be huge. If you have a predictable project then all the simulations might be similar – like looking at world class athletes setting a world record – all within a few seconds. In this case, the differences between the percentiles are very small. With a mega project, you might have a very large spread on possible final costs, making the difference between P50 and P70 huge.

    I want to see their model. There is software like @risk that does this for you. Did they use such a product? I want to see the worst case outcome of this model and to see of the model even make sense. Perhaps they just invented the numbers. Nothing would surprise me.

    Who hand wrote the comments on the briefing note? Was this a note within Nalcor, or a briefing note sent to a minister of some government department?

    As always, if anything I say is incorrect, please reply.

    Bottom Feeder 1

    • Makes every sense [and my spider senses tingled when I listened to how a "Strategist" expert (?) guided the Nalcor reps/witnesses through the inputs into the CPW process — easy for an 'expert' to make sure the "right" numbers drop out].

      Some forecast accuracy numbers FYI:—
      FORECAST ACCURACY

      Manitoba Hydro International, in section 3.1.1 of its report to the PUB, said that "Experience within the industry based on the results from Manitoba Hydro and other Canadian utilities indicate that a reasonable measure for forecast accuracy is a forecast deviation of 1 percent per year into the future".

      Nalcor's 2010 load forecast for year 2017 (7 years into the future) was 8663 GWh.

      Actual load for year 2017 was 8416 GWh (for a difference of 247 GWh) — Therefore Nalcor's load forecast for year 2017 was 3% higher than actual year 2017 load.

      Nalcor's 2010 peak demand forecast for year 2017 was 1704 MW.

      Actual peak demand for year 2017 was 1648 MW (for a difference of 56 MW). —- Therefore Nalcor's peak demand forecast for year 2017 was 3.4% higher than the actual year 2017 peak demand.

      If the industry standard is + or – 1% “per year” into the future it appears that Nalcor's forecast accuracy just 7 years out is 3 to 3.4 times the 1% 'yearly' standard? No?

    • BF @ 11:37:
      Not sure what revisiting the risk model now would do other than comedic relief – the SNC report, inquiry evidence to date proves it was simply GIGO and not robust. More important to determine now, is how and why – and how to prevent in future.

      MA @ 12:17:
      It depends on the rebase lining period – if a 10yr rebase line period is used (ie max variance of 10.5%), then the acceptable variance is +/- 7.2%; if a 5yr rebase line period (ie max variance of 5.1%) was to be use then the variance is 2.0% ontop of the 2015 demand. Both variances are assuming initial baseline in 2012 and std 5 or 10yr rebase lining periods – small math points and not sure it really matters much.

      PENG2

    • To jog my memory, I reviewed my 2012 written submission to the PUB and it seems that what MHI meant was the latter (7% over 7 years would be the standard). So, so far Nalcor's 2010 forecast is well within the 1% deviation standard, and that may in part be due to the certainty related to Vale's firm demand and load forecast needs.

      EXCERPT from my 2012 submission:—

      MHI's Table 1, at page 42, shows that Nalcor's total "Energy Forecast Accuracy Measured in Percentage of Deviation from the Actual Load", through the most recent 10 years of history (from year 2001 through to year 2010), ranged from a +0.4% too high in year 2001 to a +17.4% too high in year 2010 — +0.4%, +1.9%, +3.7%, +5.5%, +7.9%, +10.6%, +11.4%, +13.3%, +16.6%, and +17.4% respectively.

      So, as can be seen from Nalcor's and MHI's own numbers, over the most recent 10-year forecast period, Nalcor's total island forecast deviation
      has always been higher than the island's actual load, and on average it has been 1.74% per year too high — a full 74% higher than the industry, MHI and Canadian acceptable deviation of 1% per year.

      So that may not auger well for the long term accuracy of Nalcor's forecast.

    • Thank you Maurice, these are the exact numbers i was looking for in my previous query.

      Stratton stated that he "stood by" his load forecast.

      If the 2010 Stratton/Nalcor load forecast is already significantly deviating… to the degree that it no longer meets industry standards and in such a manner that the deviation favoured sanction… then shouldn't this Stratton individual be recalled by the Inquiry for further questioning to explain his position??

    • TO 13:25

      The 1.74%, too high figures in my last post reflect Nalcor's 2001, 10-year forecast (not their 2010 forecast).

      Nalcor's 2010 10-year forecast, when compared to the actual load/peak demand 7 years on (year 2017) was still on the high side — BUT WITHIN THE 1% per year industry standard, but I suspect that was due to significant certainty about Vale's nickel processing plant for a very large part of that load/peak demand (about 55 MW and 700 GWh additional load).

      It seems that the trends are now downward, and we will have to wait and see how accurate the 2010 forecast will be in the long term.

      I suspect MHI's 1% per year deviation industry standard would apply to a 20 year forecast. They do say that the risk over long periods are magnified, but they did not quantify it (I wonder why).

    • I think PENG2 that the model is a critical factor to understanding this fiasco.

      I for one have little faith that the model and the data input/weight factors used/inputted were objective and a fair representation of the reality and forecast circumstances suited to result in a fair/objective CPW outcome.

      Rather than garbage in garbage out, I suspect contrived methodology/data/weight factors, etc. in, so as to achieve a predetermined "out".

    • MA @ 14:20:
      I don't have much faith in their model either, but I don't see much value in going back and reviewing a number projected for 2020 in 2005 when the model is rebase-lined and projections revised every 5yrs or so. I also cant see the projection of +/-1% being valid 20yrs out without a rebasing (MHI are right not to quantify the error envelope, because you cant), if there is no rebasing for 20yrs, then that is another issue for LeBlanc to rap their knuckles with and demonstrates how inept they actually are.

      To me it is more important to understand WHY and HOW the projections were pushed to be so high – not the number produced by an outdated model says 1750MW is peak for 2019. I think we know the WHY (ie political), so the HOW now becomes important to preventing another MF.

      PENG2

    • As to the HOW on forecasting:
      The optimum as to forecasting is not the Econometric model alone. Nor what I might call the Econometric Plus, used here, with their technology change factor thrown in (and what value was used for that is not stated)
      MHI said the best practise model is the END-USE model. This Stratton sort of implies that his `technology change`,factor allows for energy efficiency improvements, is equivalent to END-USE, so he covered himself. That is a false assumption.
      The best practise is a combination of Econometric and End -Use.
      But this was not done. And it seems clear from his testimony, that Stratton does not even have a valid comprehensive knowledge of what End-Use entails. And he makes excuses for why proper End -Use data and modeling was not done.
      Winston Adams

    • Renewable option; M. Williams stated the intent to create an Energy Warehouse in Labrador, including wind farms. HE HAS identified some merit with wind power. Had he received and acted on prudent advice at the time, say a $2B investment in wind power, (on the Avalon), where would the province be with sustainable power supply? What would be net effect on current accounts? Where were the RE advisors of the day? Have we learned anything so far?

    • Thermal power is at a clear disadvantage with Nalcor's insane demand forecast and $200 oil, 60% of demand is residential yet ratepayers were ignored and a non-factor in Boondoggle Falls by proponents. "for ever 20% cost increase there is a correlating demand decline for electricity" residential initial rate was 16.4c kWh, 570 GWh should've been removed from 2017s load forecast from residents using DG2s electricity price.

      Power was going to go up 50% anyways said MF proponents, perhaps but not in the single biggest yearly increase from current to first power. 2018 12c kWh residential rate, minimal MF rate 16.4c kWh so we are looking at 37% cost difference in a span of a single year.

      Residents will be paying $780 more a year per home after first power, yet Nalcor projected no demand decline?

      Ratepayers and the economy will both be taking quite the hit after first power as one OL caller said "Nalcor has lead us down the garden path"

      Wade Locke should make for an interesting witness, did a single slide he used at the Harris Center turn out true?

    • Robert, my estimate (Sept 28, and much like my 2012 proosal) for 150 MW of additional wind on the island was 400 million, added to the existing 54 MW =204 MW
      I believe Nalcor estimate max wind for the island at 250 MW. For stability wind is limited as a percentage of other generator capacity, so 2 billion for island wind is not practical I suggest.
      PENG2 nor others have not objected to my figures of 1.7 billion alternative for renewable energy. That included using CDM which would have seen rates go to 14 cents but cost on the yearly bill equal to 10 cent rates. CDM a key component that was excluded by Straton and Nalcor
      Winston

    • In the testimony David of GT said CDM should be used, and Dan Simmons, the lawyer for Nalcor said to GT Nfld Hydro used a technology change factor,saying `this is beyond my own understanding, and asks David of GT if he understands it. David of GT replied `only`that is a factor but never assessed it`. Dan asked if there was any finding that that factor was reasonable. David says `No, never assessed it`
      I suggest someone with expertise needs to assess it, as it is very likely a key factor of manipulation resulting in bad and high forecasting. The devil is in the details, and his tracts leads right to that factor I suggest.
      David of GT later says ONt , BC and Manitoba uses a combination of both End-use and Econometrics.
      Under questioning by Buddden of MFCCC, ,David of GT had little understanding of what CDM actually was, but he knows it was not factored in by Nalcor . But he acknowledges it may have reduced the load for the isolated option, and therefore lower the cost. Asked if it is an importnat factor, GT relies YES, because it reduces fuel use, and that sensitivity to this shows a saving of 1.5 billion on fuel.
      So, the HOW of false forecasting is largely with the models and inputs, designed to dismiss EE and CDM. That would have ruined the economic case for MF and boosted the Isolated option big time.
      Winston

    • Let us assume they used a technology change factor of energy efficiency improvements of 0.2 % a year, from what is minor measures presently used such as LED lights and better TVs. So they end up forecasting overall a +0.8 % per year increase, which without their factor would be +1 % a year. So, they think they covered themselves as to EE
      Then along comes a mandated 25 % improvement in new housing construction technique, an updated R2000, which is what has happened. Add to that a significant uptake of minisplit efficient space electric heat at 300% efficient compared to 100 % efficient baseboard heaters.Add more conversions to wood heat already happening prior to sanction off the Avalon. Add to that some new houses already going to super low electricity use and even Passive design.
      So how long does the 0.2 % technology factor, which they think is fine, work as to predicting even for 5 to 10 years, not alone 57 year.
      And to miss the boat in not allowing for that, you just avoid a proper End -Use forecasting model, which often sees these things and measures and allows for such changes. Not to do this for a multi billion dollar project suggests more than incompetence, but corruption.
      Follow the money. And find out what factor they used.
      Winston Adams

  6. Congratulations to Uncle Nobby, Nutty or whatever on joining the ranks of the unwashed masses, unfit to sit in the presence of the Imperial Overlord. Having been relegated to this disgrace early on in the Debacle on the Churchill it is good to have such a distinguished scribe in my company.

    The accompanying photo to this piece "Williams at the Inquiry" says it all. The contempt from the Great Leader was palpable. Williams acknowledged he proceeded with MF without a WMA and that Nalcor has the water rights for less than half MF rated capacity. When this plays out in the courts MF will produce no more than Nalcor has committed to Emera for free!

    Congratulations to the Supreme Leader on his legacy!

  7. There is a paste below of an internal job description for Manager Electric Industry at the Department of Natural Resources.

    One applicant for the position had a master in electrical engineering, decades of business experience and was screened out (not interviewed) because he/she didn't have writing "briefing notes" in previous job descriptions. Given that a briefing note is just something complicated reduced down to something simple enough that a minister with Grade 11 education might understand, AND there is a format template available for it – it was a very weak excuse to exclude someone – I would have expected a more creative excuse or at least a pretend interview. How difficult do you think it is to write a note like seen above in the article?

    My point here is that good professionals within government are intentionally kept away from the decision making processes. The last thing politicians want is for someone to draft a dangerous note that destroys their plausibly deniability. Another applicant for an analysis position in the same department was told by human resources after the interview that they were the preferred candidate only to have the job given to someone else at the direction of someone higher up.

    I believe this is why there were no government reviews of Nalcor’s estimates. Government Management is purely political. People that might cause trouble by as a by-product of being ethical / knowledgeable are kept at bay. Those that do speak the unspeakable are reprimanded and fired if they persist. Management (Mgr / Director / ADM) are not part of a bargaining unit (unlike professors) so they can easily be terminated at the pleasure of the minister.

    Internal posting below:

    Context: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for the stewardship and development of the province's natural resources. Through the Mines and Energy Branches, the department offers a variety of supports and services, including energy, and mining initiatives, as well as programs and services offered to industry and the public. Responsibilities of the department include the development, implementation and monitoring of resource policy; resource management; resource exploration and assessment; and the promotion and facilitation of resource development. Newfoundland and Labrador is a prime location for the exploration and development of a wide range of natural resources, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to ensuring that these resources are developed to maximize benefits for the citizens of the province.

    Duties
    Reporting to the Director, Electricity and Alternative Energy Division, this senior level position supervises two employees and is responsible for the work of the section including: leading analysis and development of recommendations and implementation of decisions related to the structural, regulatory and legislative aspects of the electricity industry including external market access, system reliability, open access, cost, rate setting, governance and oversight; supervising the collection and analysis of industry data to support policy and program development in the electricity industry; building and maintaining relationships with Nacor Energy, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Newfoundland Power, Emera, the Board of Commissioners or Public Utilities, the Consumer Advocate, and other key industry stakeholders; leading research of other jurisdictions’ legislation, regulation, policies, programs, market strucutures, trends and economics; participating on intergovernmental committees and working groups, providing input into the divisional budget, development and implementation of the strategic and annual business plans, policy development and day to day operations of the department.

    Anyone else have similar experiences?

    • From what I've herd about what goes on, your better off exporting your skills to another province/country where they are actually appreciated, rather than getting caught up in the morale-corroding cesspool of incompetence and political cronyism rife throughout the management-level ranks within the NL public service… that outfit can barely make payroll anyways, and it'll only get worse when the Williams/Dunderdale MRF fiasco comes online.

    • Nalcor required a person of stature like the late Cyril Abery to head the Crown Corp (former intergovernmental affairs DM, NL Hydro Chair) that told it like it was, yesman Ed Martin stars in Diaries of a Wimpy Chief Executive and was a plum patronage appointment. Ed Martins CV is pretty thin for such an important job and his hydro/utility experience none existent. Did the inquiry ask why Ed Martin was made Hydro Chair on top of Nalcor CEO? Far too many hats for such a professionally limited individual, cubic meters poured V hours he was a deceptive one.

      Danny forming Nalcor and appointing Ed Martin CEO was the biggest mistake of his political career, but it was intentional to see his pet project started no matter the cost.

      What better way to pass a project then to have an alarmingly unqualified and inexperienced CEO and Board of Directors, removing the PUB and ignoring the joint review panel?

  8. Just as Joey Smallwood's ignominious legacy will forever be associated with the giveaway of the Upper Churchill, and Brian Peckford's ignominious legacy will forever be associated with $20 million of taxpayers' dollars squandered on a pickle palace,…. so will Danny Williams' ignominious legacy will forever be associated with an ill-conceived $13 billion boondoggle in the frozen wilderness of Labrador.

    I suggest taking a page from the political cronies and sycophants who decided to christen the court building in Corner Brook the "Danny Williams Halls of Justice" or whatever the hell it is they call it, and christening the MRF facility the "Danny Williams Memorial Generating Station", and the "Kathy Dunderdale Memorial Reservoir" so as to ensure that the financial disaster that these two individuals precipitated upon the NL people is forever explicitly associated with them by name, and that NLers will never forget over the coming years as to the whys and wherefores of their increasingly wretched plight.

    On a final note, at least Joey and Brian didn't risk the solvency of an entire province.

    • Let's have an informal contest to name these things and then use these labels consistently. Then various anonymous individuals can add extra signs to road sign posts, tag photos on social media, add reviews on Google, use them in songs etc. If we are all consistent in using these names, they will become the defacto name. "Danny Williams Memorial Generating Station" is good. We need this plywood sign added to posts on the Trans Labrador Highway pointing the way. Maybe the turnoff to the plant should be called Boondoggle way. Take care not to damage the Transportation and Works signage. We could also make it look like the tourist signs that businesses pay for and invent a new icon. It could blend right in and look official. Great fun.

    • And no question about it, that the transmission line with the popped conductor that the "world-class" quality control experts at Nalcor only discovered after hundreds of miles of lines were already strung… no question about it, that the transmission line should dedicated as "The Dr. Wade Locke Memorial Transmission Line" so that EVERYONE, including the voodoo economist and $600,000 Nalcor mouthpiece himself… will remember to include the cost of it in the final tally for that god-damned Williams/Dunderdale boondoggle.

      From the CBC NL article…

      Locke also made an embarrassing mistake during his presentation by failing to include the transmission costs for Muskrat Falls power.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/muskrat-wade-locke-1.4855773

      Bloody-well ridiculous.

      How bloody-well ridiculous…

  9. UG's point 1, paragraph 3…..Williams says oil revenues will offset Muskrat costs and not to worry (insures it actually, even though he holds no influence anymore). Uhh?? if thats the case and todays oil revenues are just being used in general coffers to "keep the lights on" and we're still borrowing $4million/day with that oil money in play. How much will the daily loan be without that oil money? 40million/day? What a mess- move if you can.

  10. Following the impressive Bruneau presentation on Friday past; There may be a compelling commercial opportunity to delve into the bringing onshore of surplus natural gas to the Avalon. Husky and others, along with Fortis may very well be assessing the feasibility of setting up a natural gas fired generation plant, ( or purchasing the Holyrood plant at 50c on the dollar), running an under sea pipeline to Bay Bulls.

    Any indications of air traffic through Torbay, bringing in some heavy hitters to help shore up the cross-examination of M. Bruneau?

  11. Yes, Dr. Locke, decisions made were based on the best information available at THE TIME mentality, is on the stand tomorrow morning. And we needed the power, and the least cost option, we will find out all about that tomorrow. DW said on the stand that power rates were going up anyway, without muskrat. How much?? Did someone not say a couple weeks ago, that our power rates have gone up 1 cent in the past decade? So without muskrat how much would they have increased in the next decade? From the ongoing discussions, it seems our increased power useage in the past decade has been rather modest, or maybe a decline, even with vale smelter being added in the past couple of years. And of course it goes without saying, vale should be paying its own way, such a major international company, and not depending on the rate payers to subsidize them. Then we have the give away of our cheap on island power, paid for, reliable, and going to Nova Scotia, very soon. All in exchange for a 13,000,000,000$ boondoggle. And some defend all this. Guess we will have another defender on tomorrow. I had to throw up while writing this says Joe blow.

    • Jim Feehan will be going on the stand presumably after Locke and he just might mention the oh so obvious path not taken of using price signals that would reflect the cost of Holyrood power. There were probably many ways to administer surcharges to recover Holyrood costs during winter heating season. If people had to pay an extra few cents per kilowatt-hour in the wintertime (meanwhile non-winter rates would have been cheaper than they were), you'd have seen a steady natural progression away from electric heating. Winston wouldn't need to promote a billion dollar CDM plan (no offense!) – just use the rate structure to make it happen.

      Price signals are an easy economic tool that are normally employed in other jurisdictions but the gutless politicians and utility executives here wouldn't do it here. Locke should definitely be questioned on this to ensure he addresses it.

    • You say Winston wouldn`t need to promote a billion dollar CDM plan (no offence).
      Yes, I think offence intended.
      To see what I had proposed in 2012, I googled the Telegram , who published my pieces in 2012 but I couldn`t find them. I then went to Vision 2041 which prevously had one there but linksonly to the Telegram for the other 2 , but not these links indicate they are missing from the Telegram. I googled again and found all 3 under the PUB. The key one was titled `Energy Efficiency by the Numbers`. I again tried Google to find this from the Telegram but could not. Has all 3 been pulled from the Telegram files.
      But the piece shows this: add o.9 cents per kwh to fund a 52 million a year Efficiency Plan for customers. This allows rebates of 40 % on minisplits for heating, and to the rate of conversions of 13,000 houses per year and permits a 40 MW reduction ramp down on the grid each year. Interesting NS is achieving this 40 MW per year.
      So as to a billion dollar a year capital cost, or money borrowed for this is completely false. Is is funded by ratepayers at a small surcharge of less than a cent per kwh, and 40 % rebate then given, that then reduces heating costs by over 50 %.
      This is the way many jurisdictions do this. 10 years at 40 MW a year is 400 MW reduction, and this is only one of several EE options, but the most beneficial. Rebates assist especially low income people, whereas high winter price signals is different, but Nfld like to be different.
      Winston Adams

    • May have misinterpreted your comment well above about your 1.7 billion concept for renewable energy and CDM. My point is price signals would have gotten results. Agree with your info on how CDM programs are self-financed. Proper pricing and a proper CDM program should have been the baseline against which any capital intensive generation projects were compared.

    • And as for price signal concept, those who can afford it would convert, but most not aware of the benefit of Cold Climate models, so their conversions capture say 75 % of their potential energy savings, but not reducing the grid peak load during cold weather and cold snaps. The result is that substantial thermal assets are still necessary, adding to utility cost and customer rates.
      Winston

  12. Wade's testimony this morning … He came across as rather simple in thinking as if his work was just a hobby, riddled with errors. He now regrets being involved at all. This despite receiving hundreds of thousands in government contracts. He didn't know what confirmation bias was. He said there was no market for gas so therefore gas was not an option — didn't seem to understand Bruneau's work at all.

    I think his opinion has weight because of his position as head of the economics department. MUN should take some blame here.

    • Feehan's testimony is far more coherent. Quite the contrast with Wade Locke. It was good that he takes peer review seriously. I've published peer reviewed material and it certainly forces you to be coherent and careful, and even then, you can get hammered and have to revise and rethink. Wade's presentation would never have survived publication in a peer reviewed journal.

      Does James Feehan also get hundreds of thousands in government consulting contracts?

    • Saw it on and off. Locke didn't come off strong except in reciting an email from Vardy. After that he was on the defensive. Learmonth and the CA had good questioning.

      I had to turn away during the Feehan session with Learmonth. Up to that point everything seemed very persuasive that Nalcor did a weak assessment. When I got back to it, the webcast was over. Did anyone cross-examine Feehan – that I wanted to see.

  13. I guess as an average citizen one can only form an opinion of what a person says and how that person says it. I don't have a horse in the race, (nor am I an expert) except to do the right thing that is in the best interest of the citizens, and in this case provide reliable, and as low cost stainable power as possible. Since I had not seen Dr. Locke's presentation of 2012 on muskrat, I was viewing a part of it when the webcast for today kicked in. There was a stark contrast in his presentation in 2012 as compared to his evidence on the stand. In his presentation., he came across as he was convince of what he was saying and portraying a character of assertiveness, as he punchcard his fist to emphasize every word he said. And, yes to be honest, what he said and how he said it appeared to me to be a mouthpiece for nalcor. When I started watching the webcast, he appeared to be a mere shadow of his former self. He seemed to be rather uncertain and timid at times. I could hardly believe it was the same person speaking on the same topic. Maybe this was part of the public flogging that he mentioned. How many others will appear similarly ask average Joe.

  14. Well folks we just got this gem of an explanation of Muskrat Falls by our very own Muskrat Falls cheerleader Dr. Wade Locke, Department Head, MUN School of Economics!

    This guy actually got paid for this!

    Apparently we all must have misheard him numerous times?

    He NEVER said it was the lowest cost option!

    I’m still shaking my head!

    This whole thing has the makings of an Abbott and Costello comedy!

    I will agree with him on one thing!

    He went on to further explain that he wished he had listened to his wife?

    She didn’t want him to speak about Muskrat Falls!

    Yes sir!

    There are about 528,000 of us that also wish you had listened to your wife!

    • And Wade, he looks for sympathy, hurt by negative comments aimed at him in the past, even someone saying he should be flogged. Tommy Williams, like brother Dan, wanted Wade to provide him names, but he did not.
      Now UG had one piece about public flogging, not to be taken literally, but that was not about Locke if I recall. Now I may have
      be critical of Locke, and if I didn't call for a flogging I should have.
      He feels hurt he says. How hurt will 528,000 of us be due to this fiasco? Should not Locke have been dismissed from his job at MUN , wkith cause , before now? But if Wade goes down, others need to go with him. Hat hurt has he done to MUN's reputation?
      He stated he was finished with Muskrat analysis, sort of. Then he said he was doing a study as to elasticity effects? Did I hear right? He won't comment until he gets it all completed, for setting rates I guess for optimum revenue.
      So the guy who helped promote the economic case for Muskrat will now calculate how to pay the maintenance costs to keep her going. Ball trusts him to do that!
      We continue on the road to destruction.
      PF

    • Those who 'should' be taken to task are not and probably will not because of the ripple effect. If one goes down, others will, and the first one to topple will inevitably feel the wrath of he/those calling the shots. This is a close knit community here who subscribe to "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" BUT "if you cross me you'll regret it BIG TIME".
      How many have been threatened bu lawsuits –hmm!!

    • Just look at the moonshine list in this previous Gnarley posting: http://unclegnarley.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-moonshine-list.html

      Wade has made enough moonlighting to government to retire very comfortably. Perhaps his poor me attitude is just an act to appear pitiful and minimize the public wrath. Sort of like a possum playing dead.

      I believe his numerous government consulting contracts are a direct result of the result of 1) his important sounding position at MUN that lends credibility to the public and 2) his willingness to tell the client whatever they want to hear.

  15. No, do not agree with that, that is not the kind of advice you give your students. Stay away from public policy and do not get involved, just get your tenure. That is shortsighted and shirking your civic duty. Better advice is do not get involved in big fincincial govt. or nalcor type contracts, just to lend your name and position to its credit ability, and to fill your pockets. Otherwise, you will have elected members and premiers using your name as being creditable in supporting the project, and they wil feel as if they own you, you have been bought lock, stock and barrel. Cheers, average Joe.

  16. Anyone notice that Tom, Danny's brother, tried to get Feehan to say Ziff , Navigant etc were the main experts. His plan was to get that admission so to have Leblanc then have to call them to discredit Feehan and Vardy and Bruneau. But those consultants have their reports as part of the record, so Tom wanted to tie up the Inquiry endlessly and also to discredit those we know to have real expertise here. But Leblanc wisely was not having that, and put Tommie in his place.
    Now Danny's twisted vision brought us this fiasco, and his brother front and foremost here to keep the Williams reputation in tact. A family affair, trying to pull all stings available. And we the public paying Tom big bucks for this third rate performance.
    Also Tom citing the CDM Conservation measures to Feehan done in the past well before Muskrat; peanuts as compared to NS. Should have been a shame to even quote the figures. Make no wonder they were't memorable for Feehan. NS does 10 times more to help customers with their programs. And NL 2nd worse in all of Canada for Conservation measures. Grasping for straws, Tom was, to go there. Yes Take charge does recommend putting plastic over your windows rather than tripple glace glass. Yes they recommend programmable thermostats that spikes the morning fuel burn at Holyrood. Yes they deceive with LED light that then cause you to burn more for baseboard heat. Tommie, he's a hard case, to try that trick with Feehan. Tom , a real scallywag, as to that nonense. Tom needs a good shit knockin, as Danny once prescribed for Andy Wells. Andy can be seen sitting in the back , chewing at the bit. Maybe that's why Tom said it was dangerous coming in to the building, risky he said, if memory serves. He was making the case for accepting risks in defence of Muskrat. Yes, just like entering that building. Was there a thousand protesters outside? Or does Tommie smoke weed? Just wondering.
    Winston

    • Good points Winston, as Robert said, the parallel inquiry. Keep the judge on his toes, and give credit where credit is due. Feehan is no fool, a real professional, and his research and interest in hydro goes back to the sixties. Probably forgot more than a lot of them ever knew. And don't forget to put on 3 sweaters, that's what scallywags said. Cheers, Joe blow.

  17. Winston:

    "Quote" Yes Take Charge does recommend putting plastic over your windows
    rather than tripple glace glass"

    As one who is replacing "plastic" with tripple glaze windows, could you elaborate on the above quote? Thanks

    • My understanding of Winston's comment is this:

      Take Charge: "In the fall, inspect windows for air leakage. Weatherize drafty windows by purchasing and installing window insulation film. Save on window insulation film during our Instant Rebate campaigns. . If you are installing new windows, be sure to ask for ENERGY STAR®."

      What they don't have are rebates on things of value, like heat pumps, switching fuel sources to wood pellets or propane, upgrading furnace burners to burn less oil, quality windows such as triple glazed argon filled low-e, drain water heat recovery.

      Almost all the suggestions and rebates are for things or procedures that result in trivial demand reduction.

      When the Federal Government had their EcoEnergy refit program, you could substantial rebates on heat pumps, solar collectors, drain water heat recovery, low flush toilets, insulation and reducing air leakage. A blower door test and audit was required, but many thousands of dollars per home were available.

    • As to windows: NL Take Charge conservation plan is very small, and I had calculated, for our power grid, all measures together saves about 4.00 per year per average house on your power bill.
      If a electric heated house has a bill of say 3500 a year, efficient heating alone will reduce the bill for that house about 1000.00
      At 4.00 per year savings, from Take Charge measures on average, this is about equal to putting plastic over one 4ft by 4 ft window on all houses as to watts saved to save that 4 dollars in one year. So the scallywags promote that.

      Double pane glass is about R2, so if a wall is R30 and a ceiling R60, then a window loses heat per sq ft 15 times more through the window compared to the wall and 30 times more than through the ceiling.
      If triple glass with argon, say R5 or better, it reduces heat loss through the lass by more than half. With large glass area this is a lot of reduction, and also eliminates condensation on the glass at colder temperatures.
      Winston

  18. I note that in his testimony today Mr. Vardy says that in order to compare apples and apples, both options before the PUB needed to be compared using the same way (e.g. cost of service).

    Below is part of my 12 February 2012 written submission to the PUB:–

    QUOTE

    It is respectfully submitted therefore that:

    • the Board require Nalcor to apply a cost of service assumption/methodology to its analyses of both options and provide both the Board and the public a clear, accurate and thorough year-over-year breakdown of
    costs (including graphs) over the entire 57-year (or 50-year, as appropriate) Reference Question time period…

    UNQUOTE

  19. Now that Tommie Williams would like to see Dave Vardy tarred and feathered, but would settle for Des Sullivan , UG readers should go back to the July 4 th 2016 piece to again read IN PRAISE OF PUBLIC FLOGGINGS. This resulted in the most drama today at the Inquiry, with Tom falsely accusing Dave Vardy of being the author of that piece.
    That piece is so more relevant to the public now then in 2016. Tommie has done the MFCCC and the public a big favour by making it an issue. Tom has egg on his face, as he later acknowledged to Leblanc his mistake. His aim obviously was to tarnish Vardy reputation.
    Winston

  20. Expert..Expertise. – having a high level,of skill or KNOWLEDGE in a particular field. I think the field is specifically the province and our power needs. The 2 gentemen on the stand today exhibited a high level of KNOWLEDGE in the given field. They had a combined experience and expertise of around 100 years in the province, services, government and power needs of the province. If you want to talk about the big picture they had the experience to see it totally, and not just running down some rabbit hole in search of muskrats. Imagine if expertise like that was guiding our government at the time of muskrat sanction. They not only have expertise and experience but also wisdom and good common scenes. Muskrat would never have seen the light of day. But rather controlled, develop as necessary for our power needs. I suspect by now we would have built a few more wind farms, one or two small hydro projects or add on to extisting hydro facilities. An aggressive CDM program, and probably not borrowing many pennies, since nalcor has already spent upwards of 3$ billion of provincial cash in muskrat. But others with their expertise, experience and wisdom has managed to place us 13$ billion and counting in debt, and no power to show for it yet. Hope the learned judge has similar wisdom and knowledge in his findings. Now Winston, could write a lot on the possy chase for UG, or hobby or was it nutty. Think that was who TW main target was, but he escaped him on the stand and was under the protection of not only the judge but also security at the back of the room. Then he was last seen hobbling down Crosbie Road with the private possy in hot persuit, except they were headed in the wrong direction, as UG had done a switch-a-rue on the opposite sidewalk, leaving the foot possy to gallop off in all directions, but told reporters they would continue the chase another day. So no public flogging yet, reports Joe blow.

    • Well Joe, who cannot see the resemblance in the facial features between Tommie and brother Dan? Mostly the mouth, but not like twins say.
      There was something about Tommie's puffed cheeks that Dannie doesn't have. Those cheeks catches your eye after a while, a prominent feature. As if he had a paper towel stuffed in each cheek, that was my thought. And then, as Tommie continued his verbal attack, almost spitting, on poor quiet, reserved, controlled young looking,78 year old handsome Dave Vardy, it popped right to me: The Godfather movie : Marlon Brando, how he stuffed his cheeks for effect, and for his voice also.
      So there was the Nfld Godfather, almost kicking and slashing, about to call all MFCCC members communists. Do you carry membership cards? How many in your club? Only 236? How many showed up at your last meeting? You , Penny and Sullivan the founding fathers? Is there membership fees? Is Steve Bruneau a member? You can say you don't know, but I know, he is one. Do you have a secret tatoo? A secret handshake?
      Finally Leblanc had enough. Most lawyers there keep their mouth shut, never a question to ask, and must know better to say nothing and leave doubt, then open your mouth and prove oneself an idiot. Tommie lacked that good sense, and the good judge gave him some rope, until he pronounced he did not care to hear of these personal love or hate relationships in his courtroom. Tommie figured that a little implied dirt is the key to covering up the boondoggle scandal, so distract, avoid and bury matters of evidence and facts that might show corruption, incompetence, or cronyism as to all the false assumptions buried in now 3 million documents.
      As to Ron, Tommie demanded the most private information. Do you talk to Andy Wells? Do you visit him at his home? Is his phone number on memory dial? Is it proper that you speak to him at all, when head of the PUB? You called him for a dinner date, an actual date? twice a year? Is that proper? You both prefer Cashmere toilet paper? And so it went, to the amusement, no doubt, for Leblanc and most viewers. Now Tommie figured if he could not impress the audience with his feigned legal genius, then best try to baffle them with bullshit. After the chastisement of the patient judge, Tommie was like a scowled puppy.
      I guess Tommie never had the smarts to be a rouge scholar like brother Dan. Leblanc even mentioned that Dan praised his Inquiry efforts so far.
      Easy to see how Danny talked Nflder into the boondoggle, when he could easily charm the learned judge. The judge may learn more yet, and show us The Way Forward. We need to get our money's worth.
      Winston

    • Yes, Winston, I thought he was going somewhere with all that stuff about dinner and Cashmere toilet paper, etc, lol, but was just going around in circles. Yes, when growing up, I remember a man like that, especially when a new guy dropped by, he would be given the 5th. Just to find who he was, and his life story. We used to call him Nosey. But he wasn't getting paid for it, like lawyers do. But if you are just getting paid for time on your feet, or words uttered, best take advantage of it when you get a chance. Yes, Danny said he welcomed the inquiry, but he should have thanked UG etc. for actually making it a reality, because without their calling for it, there is a good chance of it not happening. How many post did he say there was, six hundred and something. Must have read them all several times, as I didn't know how many there were, but think I read most of them, well those in the last couple of years. Anyway I am just rambling now, and not getting paid either. Cheers, Joe blow.

  21. One must get the importance of setting public policy but it is a difficult concept to implement. It would appear that with regards to Energy, NL has been on the wrong track for some time. Since the National Energy days in the 80's, those in power were driven by the Hydro guys towards large capital intensive, higher risk projects, and less towards proven conservation measures, based on emerging technologies, urban planning, district energy, lesser dependence on fossil fuel and the like. The future consequences of poor Energy policy in NL are dire. It is sad to see good efforts to change outcomes come to this.

  22. I am guessing that in a few short days of testimony we have really seen how Danny Williams operates.

    He has his brother Tommy to be his official “mouthpiece” at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry.

    Even at this late stage of the “game” Danny Williams is seeking to crush any person(s) that dare question the integrity of the Muskrat Falls project!

    By the way Tommy is questioning any of the naysayers, you would almost get the impression it was some kind of criminal trial!

    (I guess there is no harm in practicing for the real thing?)

    The one positive is I believe Justice LeBlanc is fully aware of what Williams and company are trying to do.

    Interesting times!

  23. There is an excellent article in today’s Telegram by Pam Frampton!

    It sums up the treatment of Muskrat Falls naysayers (Bottom Feeders) from the beginning of the Muskrat Falls Project up to and including the present day Inquiry!

    Kudos to Ms. Frampton!