What Should Follow Snowmageddon 2020

Quick
question, fellow snow shovellers: if the Feds have on their priority list a
tunnel across the Labrador Strait, why not a dome over the City of St. John’s?
OK, I get it. Funnies aren’t welcome when you’re tired and you have spent possibly
several days without power. Many people face the loss of a week’s pay too,
which worsens the financial circumstances of a good many. That said, 80 cm of
snow is no laughing matter.


It
is a testament to the character of people that they have endured, having used Snowmageddon
2020 as an opportunity to express the best of who they are, make new
friendships, and share their neighbourliness and their all-round civility, too.
Then, too, we acknowledge those who had to carry on in hospitals and other
institutions and on snow ploughs, maintaining essential services and working to
get the City back on its feet.

Photo Credit: Sue Bailey (Twitter)
All
that said, as a modern community, knowing as we ought to that events like last
week’s snowfall may reoccur all too soon, we should ask: is the best response
we can give nature’s wrath a shutdown of the City for eight days — schools, the
University and other academic institutions, businesses, and virtually every
other service integral to modern life?

When
St. John’s goes back to work on Saturday, should we just wait for the next snow
event and, in common parlance, just see what happens? I hope that we do
something more than send the Canadian Military on their way and thank them —
and Gander and Corner Brook — for their assistance.


I
can think of a few questions to which City Council ought to provide answers,
bearing in mind that Mount Pearl, Paradise and Conception Bay South all but
cancelled their state of emergency (SOE) after just 4 days, including the storm
days on Friday and Saturday. I am well aware that they are newer communities
with wider streets and have fewer of the issues found in this City’s Downtown.  But, except for the downtown core, the rest of
St. John’s substantially mirrors the organization and infrastructure of the
larger municipalities on the Avalon. Must, therefore, the entire City of St.
John’s be held shut because the downtown is buried under a blanket of snow? In
other words, is clearing the Downtown the sole reason that the rest of the City
is not functional? If not, why weren’t the other parts of the City operating?


That
Mount Pearl, CBS, Torbay (Jan. 19) and Paradise (Jan. 20) are open for business suggests that a very large
part of the City of St. John’s should be in sync with them. We’re not talking
Gander or Corner Brook; political jurisdiction aside, those other municipalities
are effectively extensions of St. John’s.  We have to assume, therefore, that if St.
John’s had been more forward-thinking during the days when the Metropolitan
Area Board governed Mount Pearl that it would have been shuttered, too. 



Is the
shuttering of the whole City a consequence of “all or nothing” legislation?
Does the City of St. John’s Act or some other piece of legislation need to be
revisited? Or is the problem as simple as St. John’s having inadequate snow
clearing equipment and personnel?



While buried deep this time, the City has
never earned a badge of honour clearing the Downtown. That includes the small-but-important
business district — largely three streets where life and limb often have to be
risked to get to a parking meter. Whether any reallocation of budgets to more
equipment and personnel occurs, the downtown requires more attention, anyway.


While
this Blog Post could spend more time commiserating with the losses suffered,
especially by independent businesses (Snowmageddon will be a rounding error on
the balance sheets of the Walmarts and the Costcos) and the many, many workers
who have lost wages, the fact is that most everyone — individuals, businesses
and government — emerges from this SOE worse off. 


While
Mount Pearl and the other municipalities on the Northeast Avalon were faster
with their snow clearing, the centre of commerce in this region is St. John’s.
If St. John’s doesn’t function, neither does Donovan’s Industrial Park, other
industrial parks and businesses. In addition, the closure of Provincial and
Federal Government offices suggests that a snow-blanketed St. John’s has a
disproportionate impact on provincial GDP in consequence of the number of
public servants occupying those offices and in other ways — some evident, some
not — on the productivity of the whole province. Some of that lost productivity
will not be regained.


In
short, an eight-day SOE in the Capital City is not just a City matter; it is a
provincial disaster. The City of St. John’s — and the Provincial Government —
have a duty to demonstrate that they will not be too self-satisfied when the
SOE is lifted.


I
suggest, first, that both levels of Government immediately commit to obtaining
a review of the snow clearing response in St. John’s during the emergency, by
an independent group competent and experienced in such matters. If the deficit
is all about a lack of equipment, someone had better do the math on the
relative cost of having more on hand. (Please don’t “do a Nalcor” and choose a
Consultant who will give you the answer you want and will even let you edit
their Report!) Public involvement in the exercise is essential.  


Secondly,
review any restrictions on the Mayor and Council, whether legislative or
regulatory, insofar as they may limit the “City-wide” effect of any SOE called.
The cost to individuals on both a human and financial level, to Governments and
the public generally, is too great not to have considered every reasonable option.  


Is
it necessary to endure a repeat of Snowmageddon 2020? I need convincing.

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.

TEN YEARS AFTER MUSKRAT FALLS SANCTION – We will have to think abandonment of the Labrador Island Link

Put simply, whether Muskrat Falls come online or not, it cannot be relied upon. Without admitting their gross negligence at the start, Hydro is essentially saying that that we should try to salvage Muskrat Falls at an undefined cost and for for however short the duration it might operate.

THE PROOF MUSKRAT FALLS IS NOVA SCOTIA’S PROJECT

The substance of Hydro’s mission is to satisfy the contracts with Emera to get large amounts of power flowing into Nova Scotia for the betterment of that province and its ratepayers.  The Island could easily live without the Muskrat Fals project and in fact, other than for the onerous Emera contracts, NL ratepayers would be best off if it was abandoned and left to rust.

FIRST YEAR OF OFFICIAL ENERGY DELIVERY NOT QUITE WHAT EMERA BARGAINED FOR

PlanetNL52: Happy Anniversary Emera on 1 Year of Official Energy Delivery Not Quite What Emera Bargained For Despite all the bad news related to Labrador Island...

88 COMMENTS

  1. UG:

    When reviewing the Emergency Services Act: https://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/e09-1.htm#7_

    There is nothing preventing:
    1) a Municipality from declaring an Emergency in part of its jurisdiction
    2) the minister from declaring an Emergency in part of a region
    3) municipalities from cooperating when declaring Emergencies and working to overcome the conditions requiring the Emergency

    Unfortunately, it is most probable that what should be an important discussion of using regional views when completing assessments and providing services is going to dive into an emotional rant on the 'A'-word, and in the end little in the way of effective governance will be accomplished.

    The effective management of the outcome from this Mother Nature event is a fail by all levels of government in the Avalon region – unfortunately some governments will claim success by being the best of a bad lot…..

    PENG2

    • PENG2:

      Here is the City of St John's act:
      https://www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/c17.htm#10_

      Section 34 is interesting, but also that the City (I assume Mt Pearl, corner Brook etc) are similar in that the municipality CANNOT go in defiance of the Province (likewise the Province cannot defy the Federal government) when setting rules, regs, acts etc.

      More or less, mishandling of the situation falls to the province by default (and possibly to the Federal Government)…

      PENG2

    • Heads should roll. Also agree with UG. Yes we need some form of investigation as mentioned. But as a starting point, should not the log of every piece of snow clearing equipment, especially snow blowers, be accessed and investigated for the 8 to 10 day duration since the storm? If the equipment, was under repair, damaged, no operator available etc. And how many hours did each piece of snow clearing equipment have it's nose in a snow bank, stuck or otherwise, in all of the Avalon municipality's, especially St. John's. Also, if any loaned equipment for any municipality, on the Avalon or otherwise, the log showing their hours of in operation. What appropriate private snow clearing was available and hired for snow clearing. And a similar report for the provincial government, or public works snow clearing equipment. An inventory, state of equipment and their performance is the minimum that is required. Also the number of qualified and experienced available and the number of hours worked and their time in the drivers seat of a piece of snow clearing equipment. And the number of qualified mechanics to repair equipment etc. The taxpayers should demand nothing less says Joe blow. This is not just an ordinary day in snow clearing life of a town or city, but an ertraordinary storm, which required extraordinary efforts by those at the front end, while the rest of us are confined to our houses and private driveways. When it is serious enough to de clear a State of Emergency, call in the military, (not sure why with their plastic shovels) and the region makes an entire population out of work and their normal activities, of schooling, learning, and people health and safety at risk, then we need more than a snow job done on the entire activity.

  2. Great and on point as always. Headline should be "City paralized by well known lack of equipment and mismanagement as always". All the people who were going to get paid regardless of having to work,wooping it up on Twitter and facebook…..essentially telling the mayor ….yes bye keep er going Danny…..no bid deal to drive to the liquor store in the pearl.

  3. February is not here yet. Lets hope the city does not flood with massive ice dams only to be buried under more snow.
    Ball will use this crisis as an opportunity for regional service districts as per 2014 pre election plans. More friggin taxes for sure. lovely.
    clearly some shared resources plan and coordinated response efforts will be a lesson learned for the next big one.
    maybe they can spend more defense dollars in this province instead of nova scotia and NB.
    also, the health services push into st johns is not adequate long term.

  4. And then those rabble-rousing NL nationalists griping about how better off that basket case of a province would be if it separated from Canada.

    What was it that blowhard instigator of the MRF debacle Williams said? "Masters of our own destiny…"?

    What a laugh… what a bunch of drream-world self-deceivers.

    Who will pay for their electrical bills?

    Who will shovel them out after a snowstorm?

    Just like a bunch of naive little children in need of adult supervision.

  5. Is there any gentle way to ask owners of smaller businesses why they don't have business interruption insurance? A low-cost rider on their comprehensive business insurance policies would go a long way toward covering the lost revenue they incurred during the government-imposed state of emergency. This kind of insurance isn't unusual or exotic — but I'm not seeing anybody mention it in news coverage or in statements from business owners.

    Source: not currently a business owner, but have previously owned and operated two businesses (one retail, one consulting services).

  6. Although the preplanning and pre-preparation for the storm was inadequate and as well the fleet of manpower and equipment underestimated and under-resourced for the credible storm that we had, I believe that the extended state of emergency and troop deployment was more a pan-Canadian geopolitical event involving prominent federal, provincial and municipal leaders. Who would have believed that John Crosbie would cause such a stir on his way out??

  7. We have had two hurricane hits in recent memory, and this was the first "snow hurricane" in memory. We will have more of them. We need a plan.

    We have no coherent urban planning and we certainly don't have enough snow moving equipment. At a minimum, we need another 10 street snow blowers that can be shared among municipalities. Snow melting machines don't make sense because it takes far too much fuel to melt snow. Dumping it in the harbor makes sense. The area where the tax center is now was a snow dumping area in the 1970s – perhaps we need areas like that again scattered throughout the city.

    We also need a better plan. Before a major storm, street parking should be diverted to parking garages at no cost to car owners. If we can only cut one lane, then we need hundreds of temporary mirrors on poles and one-way signs that can be planted. There could even be a one-way map of the city created for major storms.

    Much of the downtown predates automobiles and will always take longer to clear than newer and less dense areas.

    This is a symptom of a greater problem. Government is full of sycophants, cronies and inept people. It needs to be purged and replaced with competent management and professional staff that are capable of modelling storms and floods, that can implement a proper plant maintenance system, who consult with architects and urban planners – people that care, are intelligent, and serve the public good. These people are extinct or retired in core government and I expect the city is on the same track.

    • Very well stated. How will we educate, train, and employ our children, and successive generations, to bring the change you talk of? My own thoughts are encouraged by how a neighbourhood of community minded strangers, turn out to help each other, without the capability to jump in the car, to drive somewhere for a loaf of bread.

  8. So, is the fix already in? We were promised an announcement in January, regarding the rate mitigation. Time's up. How far will our Federal Government go, in "privatizing" the Boondoggle?
    What do Seamus and Foote already know, but seemly will not do, as Crosbie would have done; face the mob and tell it like it is.

  9. I only have one thing to say about our Snowmageddon.

    To all those people who not only decided NOT to stay home during the height of the SOE in St. John's?

    But in turn decided it was an "ideal" time to walk your dogs and kids, down a one lane plowed main artery!

    Didn't any of you find a little bit strange that you were being approached by various pieces of snow clearing equipment trying to navigate around you?

    And yes, there were a substantial number of you caught on dashcams?

    I sincerely hope you all received the appropriate legal Enforcement from the authorities, or at least one can hope?

    Truly, stupidity has NO boundaries!

    • I would say any man caught driving a Ford F-150 should have their manhood checked anyways?

      Possibly testing similar to what East German athletes had to endure to physically prove they were in fact a woman?

      Well, it's 2020 anyways, so I'm sure the Olympics will soon be genderless?

      Then we won't offend any of the up and coming generations?

      Who knows!

  10. So,here I am reporting on UG from Houston,Texas, and the saga of "Saving Gertie"as difficult as saving Private Ryan.Last time here Gil Bennett and others were in the Hot Seat.
    Had a good informative session with the oncologist this morning, and anothe rplanned with the surgeon tomorrow; all this for a second opinion as the best way forward. Who would guess my wife is even sick, as she is now gone shopping at the mall, accompanies by our daughter.
    Recall that to prepare for this trip I was desperately seeking a scan result and then blood test results to have for the review here at the Anderson Cancer Hospital. Our local cancer Team was refusing to fax me scan results, and with the state of emergency, I was not permitted to drive from Logy Bay to the Health Science, and also Records Dept was closed. But many could view and print this from their computer screens.
    Such was my predicament, that I called for Military assistance. This extreme measure after learning that another cancer patient in a worse situation, her sister from the USA called the Premier, then the military,then the surgeon in Halifax to get help for her sister who had been waiting 6 months for an operation, all in limbo and being postponed due to the storm is St John's. The poor woman should have been flown out in my opinion.
    Did the military help me? Yes and no. Once EH knew I was seeking militaty assistance, things happened quickly. For 2 full days I was being denied a 2 page report being faxed to me. Once I informed them I was seeking military help, within 10 minutes we get a call from the doctor with a verbal description of the report. At the same time an email coming through that the report would be faxed through very soon, which it was, shortly after.
    I never got through to the military, but that it was a possibility must have put the fear of God into Eastern Health. Imagine me being escorted into the hospital with a soldier on either side of me, armed with a yellow plastic shovel, demanding a copy of this CT scan report for this stage 4 colon cancer patient. Imagine if NTV or CBC or VOCM were present to record the event why this was necessary. This 30 year old technology of Fax machines or internet , all of which was working ok, but no one would use to help me.
    So, yes, the military helped me, indirectly. And many of those guys, with French accents, on a mission of mercy. What a difference from 1696! Those French guys, once our enemy , now our friends. But why was it necessary to seek military assistance for this at all?
    This morning the doctors here at Houston are pleased to have our latest scans and blood tests. This alone , taking not 30 seconds by EH, has saved me about 15,000 dollars if this scan and blood tests had to be repeated here. Yet, another scan, a PET never got done, being a big backlog at St Johns. Some 30 cancer patients inline for testing and long, long delays. A unit that cost us taxpayers 46 million, seeing less that optimum use and constant long delays, negatively impacting cancer patients. Yet no media on that story.
    Winston Adams

    • Can't blame the feds because they sent the troops to shovel out our doorsteps and they have that disaster relief fund and carbon taxes but don't forget that imposter, that we blame everything on these days and has been with since the beginning of time, climate change.

  11. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/electrification-muskrat-rate-1.5403872

    So, where exactly was our esteemed institution of MUN when Muskrat Falls was just a "wet dream" in Danny Williams' head?

    MUN, I think you are probably about 13 years too late on this one!

    Considering that Danny Williams et al, "created" the behemoth known as NALCOR in 2007, and as we have seen, it's been pretty well downhill ever since!

    Yup, It's just what we need with our $13+ Billion Dollar investment in unreliable hydro power?

    Another major electricity consumer located in the middle of St. John's no less!

    Where was all of this "knowledge and foresight" only a few short years ago?

    I don't have a big enough eyeroll emoji that I could insert here?

    • Must I shout from Houston via UG, as to the idiots now planning to convert MUN heating with what Coaker did in his bungalow in 1917? Electric resistance heat, what caused the need for Holyrood thermal plant,for the Avalon, and then Muskrat Falls to replace that plant, (and still not operating) and now to add more additional obsolete resistance type heat for government buildings.
      Was Terry Roberts given a Nalcor drafted document for this piece?
      He says 824 MW of Muskrat power to be delivered to Nfld and NS.
      So we now have the DC operating at absolute zero temperature for no resistance and no line losses?
      About 10% is line losses to Soldiers Pond(about 80 MW) and about 17 % loss if that same power was to feed NS, that for starters if fact checking.
      Such bullshit as Roberts says was told to the public for a decade to justify MF, and it continues still.
      Instead of 300% efficient HP technology for MUN and pulci building, long the modern method, we use technology over a century old and now being promoted as state of the art. Stunned as me arse, and too, applies to those who applaud such schemes, and this from the esteemed MUN crowd. How low can we go? Meanwhile the public, 12,000 in 2018 using 300% efficient electric HPs for their houses.
      Winston Adams

    • Don't shoot the messenger. Is he the messenger or the real macoy?? Never heard of him, but I never heard of Locke, before he was famous, and rolling in dough, and people were quoting him and holding him up as a world class head of a major department. Is Terry in the same category, or is he a budding young engineer or around the block so many times that he is now making circles. Maybe if I read the article I would know. Yes, cart before the horse. Switching mun to restistance heating before any power is flowing from muskrat and all the uncertainties. Understand they have been switching govt blogs. Is that our friend Terry in charge of that too. The average Joe needs to know says Joe blow.

    • Terry Roberts is the CBC reporter. Generally enjoyed his take and reporting as the Leblanc inquiry progressed, and he is no engineer to know much about transmission losses, but this somewhat now generally known, and yet he fully endorsing this MUN buildongs and many govn buildings conversion to inefficient resistance electric heat, and questions nothing about the scheme or the timing of implementation, with no reliance yet on MFs power.
      Is he a messenger or enabler of a policy not well thought out, such as happened with MFs. A CBC employee is he not?
      What is the public perception of this scheme, are they well informed as PENG2 might later suggest?
      Winston

    • How much extra is this conversion and electric heat going to cost us in the end? Does anyone in government know? Does anyone in government even care?

      Right now We are borrowing money that our grandchildren will have to pay back, is the money pit bottomless? Is there no end to bad ideas that are fast tracked and given green lights?

      Should we not proceed with caution and examine the conversion of a few buildings first? Or are we to insure that not only our grandchildren but our great grandchildren will have to pay our bills for us?

    • Anon 12:58; The Engineering Prof who teaches Cost Engrg at MUN, a very capable fellow, would run you some numbers, assumptions, etc. from a Building Economics text. You would be surprised at the result, say over a 20yr Building lifecycle. You could finance your kids through Med School on the energy savings for a building in the 10,000 sq meters range.

    • Hi Robert, you can mark me down as highly sceptical on this conversion of heating source from oil to electricity saving money.

      I heat my home with electric baseboard heaters and the quality and amount of heat doesn’t compare to hot water radiation heat.

      iI have been in St. Clare’s hospital in the old wing in the arthritis clinic and I always find it too hot there, and at times the staff have windows open in the winter to cool things off. I predict that won’t be a problem in any of the converted buildings. As well I predict that the thermostats will need to be locked or they will all be on 25 degrees to keep people happy.

      I would like to see it working and saving money in a couple of buildings before we commit to this approach. That seems like a prudent and common sense approach to me.

  12. Certainly, there seems good reason to be concerned.

    We do not yet have any power from Muskrat.

    And we have no reasonable assurance that there will be enough reliable power from Muskrat to even shut down Holyrood.

    Are we, once again, putting the cart before the horse?

    • Clearly,

      Ball and the transfer of power from the PCs to the Liberals was merely a change of horses — same vision (or lack thereof), same political/administrative structure (note, Danny/Dunderdale — Ball/Coady, etc), likely and largely same party establishment financial backers, etc., etc., etc..

      The goal? ——— "FINISH STRONG". What a pile of crap.

      Change?????? —– No change, NONE.

      Now it is Ball's/Coady's "time to shine" (??)

      VISION ????? —- THERE IS NO VISION.

    • Don't have the skills to do the economic analysis, but from a purely climate change point of view, instead of displacing diesel fuel at MUN/NL government bldgs, would it not make more sense to send any additional MF power (if any) to NS to displace coal?

      Also, even at 4 or 5 cents per KWh, that would be new dollars coming into this province (not our own recycled tax dollar).

      I am not saying that without the analyses that that would be better for this province, but is the analyses being done?

      Even if there is a slight loss to this province, depending on the numbers, NS/feds might be able to make up the difference.

      Any rational choices for this province need to be factored (form part of) into a new energy paradigm/strategy that reflects maximum energy efficiency, climate change/environmental as well as economic considerations.

      Where is that vision/strategy?

      Political and narrow focused considerations such as rate mitigation (without being part of a larger vision/strategy) is what got us into the Muskrat Madness — and there seems to be a continuation of such shortsightedness.

    • MUN is very high temperature hot water,over 300 F ( I stand to be corrected if not so) that would be steam if not under high pressure that keeps it as hot water. This hot water pumped to all or most of the buildings, even the new 300 million dollar one under construction.
      So unlikely to use baseboard inefficient electric resistance heat but electric resistance boilers, equally low efficient, to produce this very high temp water.
      They should tender for proposals for energy efficient upgrades, including high efficiency ground source HPs,which are very efficient low temperature hot water, and often paid for by energy savings.
      To add large electric loads to our grid and no assurance of reliable power from MFs is insane. We are now squeaking through this emergency storm without loss of our grid, with old clunker Holyrood. If we add large loads now without MFs having been tested as reliable: A recipe for major blackouts and load curtailment.
      Past time engineers spoke up on this nonsense approach, especially Nfld Power.
      What is PENG2 saying? Not much, under the cone of silence, I wonder?
      Winston Adams

  13. I see that ocean acidification is now affecting some types of young crap from forming their shells. Ocean ph has got more acid , going from 8.2 to 8.1, being a 26 % more acid that historical levels. Higher acid ocean is expected to see cod size only 1/4 of their size by the end of this century. We are on track to starve our grandchildren are we not? As a fishery resource based province, where is the balance of protecting our fisheries vs increased oil production and GHG emissions?
    Winston Adams
    Winston Adams

  14. Expect I'm the only fella in Texas today with long johns on. Just had to put my hood up walking, and now about to head for the airport for home. It was chilly on the plane coming down here too.
    How do I offset my GHG emissions on this flight?
    Winston

    • Winston,

      All you need to do is buy carbon offsets from a Liberal friendly "Eco" firm, aka. Trudeau Foundation supporter and you will be good to go!

      Minus the fact that you will have to use your own money instead of taxpayer funding?

      Other than that good to go!

  15. Why hasn't anyone in the media said one word about why there's still no Rate Mitigation Plan and the month of Jan. is almost over? Seems the Snow-Mega-Dawn has let Ball and his cronies away with their BS once again. Unreal. There's people wanting to know some details so they can plan to leave now, or leave later.

  16. Is it just me?

    My gut feeling is that this Coronavirus situation in China is far worse than what Chinese officials are saying?

    When you watch video (which was no doubt pre screened by Chinese officials) showing a city of Wuhan with 11 Million people and it appears to he deserted.

    Everything is shut down!

    (We had trouble here in our Province getting 100,000 people to stay home for 3 days, during our Snowmageddon?)

    Something tells me it is far bigger than 1,400 people infected as China is proclaiming?

    The only other explanation for me is that the Chinese government actually knows exactly how deadly this virus is?

    Why?

    Because they created it themselves in a research lab less than 20 kms from the city of Wuhan?

    The fish market story, who knows?

    Only time will tell?

    But I don't think we are going to like the answers we will eventually get on this outbreak?

    • I checked St. John's stores and found Walmarts are out of hand sanitizer and walmart.ca has vendors charging outrageous amounts (e.g. hundreds of dollars a bottle). I didn't see any at drug stores either. Same for surgical masks, dust masks and N95 respirators. Costco pharmacy has had people asking for boxes of masks – they don't sell them. I think there is bit of local panic in the university community, especially among the foreign graduate students.

      I believe there will be major supply chain disruptions because of the dependence on Chinese manufacturing. If the recent snow storm was a burden for local business, consumer panic (avoidance of public places) or quarantine will bankrupt them.

  17. Ball's Rate Mitigation: Missed the end of Jan date. Now an update next week. NTV reported that last nite, now VOCM and CBC this morning.
    Is not all the following: the the PUB hearings dealing with this as to CDM, options for backup power, reliability etc, and electricifiction (MUN and hundreds of other govn buildings), EV uptake or incentives or not etc, MFS reliability, all this needing to be weighed and considered and decisions made before we get a Mitigation Plan?
    Is this not a 2 year time frame just to get initial results as to MFs reliability? And to push for electricification or EVs (incentives) before then is a stupid idea, unless incentives for minisplits to lower the peak load, this going hand in hand?
    So yes, I expect no comprehensive Mitigation Plan for a long time. There will be meetings by govn and this will be a top priority says Ball, (top after still pushing for double the offshore oil production is top,ahead of Rate Mitigation, or that a part of rate mitigation,more oil revenue needed?)
    Did UG readers miss the news: One MFs turbine is now rotating! At rated speed? Free of vibrations?
    Was not the Corner Brook hospital promised for over a decade before a start?
    Rate Mitigation will take 50 years?

    Winston Adams

    • WA @ 09:18:

      I thought i read in December that the 'rate mitigation' announcement wasn't coming until later in February anyway – so, being delayed beyond the release of the PUB review is probably sensible anyway.

      Aside from that – no such thing as rate mitigation. The economy needs to be looked at a like a glass – there is only so much volume(ie cash) and unless there is an external source we will only be moving monies from 1 place to another. If the federal government offers cash – then it will be coming from another province (or most likely off equalization), so still not a winner.

      At the end of the day – MF has a set cost, and the tax payers of NL (and possibly Canada) will cover that cost. The break down doesn't really matter – is a $13b expenditure and claims of mitigation etc are only covering up the costs (sure, maybe not $0.25/kWhr, but income tax will go up to cover the loss, or there will be less services etc).

      Complete political pandering to those that are too naive to understand the bigger picture….

      PENG2

  18. MUN could lead the charge for electricification says the CBC piece by Terry Roberts Jan 28.
    His tweet says MUN has a miniHolyrood thermal generation station capable of producing 70 MW. That is not stated in his piece ,but says it is a oil fired heating plant using 11 million litres a year costing 8.5 million in fuel each year, and equal to taking 7000 vehicles off the road. This is not that significant is it, if using low efficient electric resistance heat of doubtful reliability or questionable capacity, and a risk of being fed by Holyrood thermal generation in winter.
    If MUN is too lead the charge, should MUN engineering expertise do the studies,like Bruneau and show some would class analysis, it that exists at MUN, and as to climate change and sustainability? Is inefficient electric heat the way to go? We trust to Coady like we trusted Dunderdale and that TVs would generate the load to pay for MFs?
    When will sound engineering replace politics?
    What does PENG2 think of this MUN and other govn buildings using electric resistance heat, surely a 20 th century not a 21 st century sound idea?
    Winston Adams

    • There are about 30 comments on Robert's CBC piece. About 80 % are against using inefficient electric resistance heat. I am impressed that so many now refer to efficient ground source heat pumps or air source, and COP of 3 for efficient heating,and questionable winter capacity form MFs etc, and other upgrading of MUM buildings needed (Robert Holmes has repeated about MUM buildings here for several years)
      Tom Adams is perhaps the most tuned in as to flaws with this push for increasing the peak load with resistance heat.
      In the past few that comment on CBC showed much technical insight.
      Still , no names that I recognize as engineers(except Robert Homes) so it appears a cone of silence still over engineers in this province of this electricification push not well thought out. After the MFs blunder, why no discussion in the media by engineers or other with technical expertise, ?
      Winston Adams

    • GOVN BLDG ELECTRICFICATION CONVERSION
      Here is some Figures from RObert's piece:
      1. MUN has 60 buildongs, and 70 MW capacity thermal generation oil fired boilers now heating these.
      2. 27 other govn buildings comprising colleges, schools of art and transportation depots.
      3. 273 other misc govn buildings.

      If MUN has 70 MW of heat capacity , then in total, if all buildings converted , it may add 150 MW or more to the grid? Maybe Synapse has the number already in their reports?

      In 2012, if I recall correctly , we had 65O MW of domestic residential electric heat, and 1100 MW of total electric heat. This giving a winter peak more than twice the summer peak, and at times needing 500 MW or more of thermal generation power at Holyrood for our heating needs.
      MFs, if operating reliabilily, can barely offset Holyrood ( after NS commititments), but now we add yet more inefficient resistance heat of 150 MW or more, and will promote EVs too?
      If existing 1100 MW of resistance heat were all converted to HPs at COP of 3 in winter, that permits a reduction of 725 MW of winter peak load. This requires a long term plan that might achieve 75 % of that about 540 MW reduction on the grid. This is an expensive program that could have been very cost effective vs MFs boondoggle costs.
      Such conversions must happen,( at a reasonable pace) or we will again face DARKNL and rotating outages.
      Adding Electric resistance heat now is like the Long Hr ERCO plant to take up the surplus, except we will have little if any surplus, and power with questionable reliability from MFs,and could require even more Gas turbine winter backup capacity added to existing Holyrood.
      Coady should go before the TV cameras and reporters armed with such questions for her to answer. Would she be like Dunderdale, and say the "world class experts" at Nalcor has this all figured out?
      Her rush now, says Roberts's piece is to tap 13 million form the Feds from programs that end in 2022! Great rationale?
      Sounds like the great idea of spending hundreds of millions on MFs before sanction to meet power availability by 2017, and we know how that worked out.
      Is there anyone in govn with a clue? Or anyone in the media to ask the right questions?
      Winston Adams

    • I take little credit, Winston. The question from a concerned citizen should be; Given the Energy Technology improvements in Building Economics, (since 1970's), why are Building Architects/Engineers not doing the basic work, to apply this knowledge to current project design? Who is empowered to prevent the necessary transition from Fossil fuels, and ill conceived, expensive Hydro?

  19. DEMAGOGUERY– is alive and well, and marches onwards and downwards, in what use to be the greatest democracy on earth. Marching from a democracy to a diticatorship. The USA was a Republic founded on getting rid of the rule by KINGS, but have decided that rule by the people must give way and return to rule by a King, as he looks skyward and proclaims he is the chosen one. The constitution gives him the right and power to do as he wishes, and the senate agrees with him, as well as almost half the population of the US of A. Little old Nancy and little shifty Schiff were not able to take him down, but they gave it a good try along with the free democratic thinkers in the country. The last demagoguery, Hittler, took all the armys, navys and air power and 4 years of death and destruction of the world to take him down. So let it be with the hump and the pomp in this nuclear era. Yes, I would say a greater risk to civilization, as we know it, than the impending climate change death and destruction. Civilization will renew itself and rule by kings will reappear again. The history of the earth repeats itself every few million years, THINKS Joe blow.

  20. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/rate-mitigation-update-next-week-1.5447067

    It's interesting to note that Dwight Ball and company are still "fixated" on this $200 Million Dollar "mitigation" from our mothership, Canada.

    Where the rest of the money will come from is in fact the $13+ Billion Dollar question?

    According to our esteemed leader it won't be ratepayers?

    I've always been amused at the subtle difference between ratepayers and taxpayers?

    Only a politician could "spin" that one?

    We shall see.

    • One would hope that the Premier, when announcing the expected "mitigation moneys", would have the decency to tell the people what the latest estimate to complete and fully commission the Muskrat. And tell "as it is" the prospect of "privatizing" the stranded asset. By the way, how should these moneys be invested into more meaningful enterprises?

    • I agree, I have no idea where they came up with this figure! In many respects it reminds me of the initial cost estimates that were floated to support this project. Perhaps they pulled the number out of a hat, or maybe its another April Fools joke. April is coming up and maybe Seamus will want to sign another agreement on April 1st.
      In my view meaningful rate mitigation will need to be in the range for $500 m annually. The working poor and middle class of this province cannot afford to pay anymore. If we had access to cheap natural gas from the offshore which is currently being burned of or re-injected into the hibernia fields it might be a different story. It would make a lot more sense to bring this energy ashore and use it generate electricity. We could give away any electrical energy to NS and Quebec, which by the way we are currently doing.

  21. BFA, it isn't just you. We have a global pandemic developing and we are not prepared. The virus spreads via sneezes and coughs. Droplets are breathed in, or they land on hard surfaces like hand rails and infect people later. You can be infectious and not even know it. Each person is spreading it to two or three other people so the growth is exponential.

    The only way to reduce spread if you have it is to wear a surgical mask and avoid people.

    The only way to prevent infection is to wear goggles to protect eyes, and a tight fitting respirator with a P95 or better cartridge. These are often used for painting or asbestos mitigation work.

    Given that supplies are already scarce, most of us won't have much to choose from. Some countries are issuing masks to all school children, others like Singapore, to the entire population. We will be lucky to have enough for health care workers. I doubt China will be exporting masks anytime soon. They need them all.

    My advice is this: You just survived the blizard — stock up on whatever you ran out of the last time. Keep in mind that with China shut down, there will be unexpected shortages of all sorts of things because of global supply chains and just time delivery of chemicals, screws, electronic components etc. You want to be able to stay home for two weeks comfortably and not worry about shopping.

    Also, be vigilant with hand washing. Don't touch eyes or mouth unnecessairly. If you get the flu now, you and your doctors will be paranoid that it might be corona virus.

    I am not aware of any plans at this stage for sanitizing malls like you would a cruise ship, distributing masks, setting buildings for fresh air (no re-circulation), lesson plans via e-mail if school is cancelled, setting up VPN connections for government workers to work from home, or determining where all the people with respiratory illness should go. A dedicated hospital perhaps? Do we have powered respirators for ambulance workers and first responders and receptionists at doctors offices?

    Anyone here want to follow the progression, best place currently is searching #nCoV2020 on twitter.com/search

    Stay healthy everyone and be careful! Our government is unfortunately just as clueless as the rest of them.

  22. https://torontosun.com/news/provincial/ontario-to-spend-1-6-billion-more-to-stabilize-hydro-rates?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1580482034

    Another interesting read.

    Ontario who are trying to "buy" their way out of a complete mismanagement of the power/hydro industry on an epic scale.

    One small consolation for Ontario is at least they have a significant population base to spread the "pain" around?

    It would give anybody, myself included, a migraine trying to fathom how us 500,000+ mere mortals are going to pay for all of this Muskrat Falls mess.

    I keep having flashbacks to Derrick Sturge's testimony of how nondescript his attitude was about the financial plan of ratepayers bearing the entire cost of Muskrat Falls.

    Obviously, he felt that way when it was originally costed at $6+ Billion Dollars, and watching his demeanour on the stand he seemed to be just as "matter of fact" now that it had escalated to $13+ Billion Dollars.

    Detached is the only word I could think of to describe this man?

    The scary part was he wasn't the only one who testified who seemed to dismiss all of us as residents of the Province as being some sort of bottomless cash cow?

    I know Justice LeBlanc raised his eyebrows over this type of reasoning a couple of times during the Inquiry testimony.

    • Maybe you should be focusing on what your MP Seamus, is up to. And in another 6 weeks or so LeBlanc's Report will confirm what we already know. "Governments lie to us all the time, (Celente)". Why do we get taken in? Look under the deceit. Is not a deal being made right under our noses, to keep the runaway NALCOR project ticking onward, while some friends of the Party in Power, scoops the "Asset"?

    • GE software and Synchronous condenser delays MAY have serious implications for costs etc?…….HELLOOOOOOO MR BRAZIL.
      But Stan has Plan B, remember for a strong finish. Why worry?
      And what of the 40 risk factors for reliability? Any concerns there?
      Volcanoes , not much, but many are very real. But push ahead with electrification, cross your fingers and whistle past the graveyard.
      Will Stan retire before the strong finish?
      Winston

    • I notice we haven't heard "finish strong" uttered by either Stan Marshall or Brendan Paddick anytime recently?

      Although I'm still waiting for the proposed Nalcor jersey design that Mr. Paddick suggested that we all should wear, in an effort to show our unending support for our "world class experts" at NALCOR?

      As a matter of fact it's been that long since Paddick uttered this nonsense, that I think I will have to change my online order from 2XL to 3XL?

      Especially considering that jersey sizes are notorious for being a full size too small.

      Sweet Jaysus, if we all get out of this with our sanity, and our wallets still intact it will be a miracle!

      Maybe we could start annual Chase the Ace Lotteries across the Province to start our own rate mitigation plan?

      At this point any idea is better than none!

    • Maurice the Bozo squad running the MF circus have no shame!

      Sooooo "they are working towards delivery of software in 2020"!!! They may or may NOT have the LIL software this year!

      When will the BOZO's running your government assert some level of control and stop the madness? Ever??

    • Our government officials are merely the puppets, while the hundred or so who control each party (largely the same people) are the puppet-masters, and to a large extent the premier, cabinet and caucus dance to the tune of the puppet-masters.

      Red or blue? — same difference.

    • Sooo…red or blue, over the fiscal cliff we go while the chumps are kept in the dark!

      It is the absolute secrecy that continues while the treasury is drained to beyond any reasonable burden on 500k aging population (never mind the constant shrinking due to outmigration) that I can't understand.

      As the WAPO logo proclaims "Democracy Dies In Darkness".

    • While I was critical of Terry Roberts recent piece on electricification at MUN, this piece is well written, and it appears he sought an interview with Stan Marshall, who may be in hiding!.
      Roberts writes that the GE software is critical for the safe and efficient operation of the (DC)link and MF integration into the provincial power grid. All true , but also for RELIABLE operation.
      Nalcor statement is about the delay of specialized "control and protection" software. My job, in the 1970s with Nfld Hydro was "control and protection" engineer. Then we didn't use software, but hardware. Now computers and computer programs do the job, if properly designed to control and protect the components and the grid from collapse, and to have RELIABLE power. From that viewpoint and experience I have questioned "electrical reliability" of this project from 2012, before sanction.
      The photo shows the " sprawling switchyard". I also designed 230 kw switchyard expansion in the 1970s. I shake my head at the size and complexity of Soldier Pond, so "sprawling" is a good description.
      Nalcor says the synchronous condensers are not needed to flow power over the LIL for testing. Are they needed for full testing, or is this a misleading statement?
      Good that Brazil and Roberts is seeking accountability and answers to the 13 billion lemon project as one commentator calls it.
      Straight Shooting Stan seems seems to be under the cone of silence. Even PENG2 is more silent than usual, is he not?
      Winston Adams

  23. NOT A PRETTY PICTURE:
    Only now reading what needs to be done for island upgrades if the LIL bipole goes down, and there is no Holyrood clunkers for back up. We know the bipole will go down at times ( assuming it operates reliable at all), and we know the plan was to decommission the clunkers after 2-3 years. So given those conditions with the LIL out what is needed?
    Options:Many of these
    Up to 2 more new 230 kv lines or 500 kv lines coming east from Bay de Espoir.
    Or up to 4 new 60 MW gas turbines at Holyrood.
    Or an additional DC link , 400 MW from Bay de Espoir to the Avalon. ( More software problems?)
    Other requirements for voltage support at Sunnyside.
    Corner Brook Mill Power generators (DeerLake) needed.
    300 Mw imort from NS needed.
    Many thermal upgrades on existing lines. I assume this means replacing the conductors with higher capacity ones.
    Adding a new large generator , 154 MW at Bay de Esppoir.
    Adding several small hydro power generator sites for supply

    Given these, consideration is for th eold clunkers to operate indefinately. Liberty wanted Hydro to advise the cost by Aug this year, but Hydro says impossible to do that cost before Jan 2021.

    Most of this to meets Avalon Loads. No plan for demand reduction on the Avalon.

    Cheaper to move everyone off the Avalon?
    Winston Adams

  24. Snowmaggeon:
    Ed Hollett has good write ups on the failure of how this was handled on his blog.

    Capt Wilfred Bartlett in a letter to the Telegram ; "Calling in the military? Now the joke's on us". Almost 4000 have read it online.

    A few quotes: Although 50,000 plus were sent home, our premier phoned Ottawa and asked for the military to come to St John's and bring their shovels.
    With all the road contractors on the Avalon, there are hundreds of trucks and loaders parked in their yards because of no work, and skilled workers at home doing nothing. Why weren't these professional people put to work?
    Ball and Breen got 10 days worth of publicity that money couldn't buy. Mayors of other towns that did a professional job getting their town back to normal in record time, got very little praise.
    By calling in the armed forces Premier Ball has created another Newfie joke. A lot of skyscrapers were built in New York by Nflders and Labradorians, yet we had to get the mainlanders in to shovel our snow. Oh. the shame of it all.

    Nfld has had many outstanding sea captains, and I wonder if Wilf is related to Bob Bartlett. He says Ball has proven once again he is no leader. Indeed, I recall the photo of a smiling Ball proudly standing by Capt Dildo. A man among men, our Premier, a man's man, leading from the front, for TV cameras.
    Mitigation of power rates priority # 1, $13 billion not to be paid by ratepayers nor taxpayers says our leader. What more could one ask?
    Winston Adams

    • Miraculously, the quoted cost of $12.7 Billion hasn't risen in about 4 years with 4 or 5 project disasters within that span of time. It's plain miraculous isn't it? Or is there some serious "cooking the books" going on?

    • Jim Gordon's reasonable guesstimate of $16B+, and PENG2's early estimate, in the same region, are all we need until the Auditor General's books catch up, if they ever do. Did you all catch on that the Military Deep State, and the recent CEOs at Davos, now have legislation, which prevents the public from accessing strict accounting reports of anything the Powers deem is not in the Public Interest? This includes the reporting of Corporate earnings, as well as Public spending. Crooks everywhere don't have to report!

    • Several years ago, cynics said 2020 and 20 Billion for Muskrat Falls. The 2020 part wasn't a bad guess — lets hope the 20 Billion part isn't.

      I assume that interest on the billions borrowed is being added to the principal, and who knows if GE will deliver working software.

      On the Andritz China website, it states Commissioning is scheduled for 2017. Obviously, turbines haven't been commissioned.The factory is in CHENGDU. They just had a 5.2 earthquake, and likely don't want to be outside because of the corona virus. I suspect if we need technical support, their engineers are other things on their minds.

  25. Churchill Falls Corps is 2/3 owned by nwfoundland hydro. they report 2/3 of revenue each year in financial statement. why does this nalcor power supply group run the churchill falls plant? get rid of the duplication and redundancy. 42 execs and senior managers is too many for apple and amazn. they actually have revenue that is not “government investment”.
    no revenue no spending. no spending. this is a zero profit company set up by the Act. stop spending public money like its your personal piggy bank. you aint rich. you a thief. sunshine list. public enemies list. crooks.
    steal from your elderly. steal from your weak. look the other way, turn your cheek. hydro place lot is filled with Audi and mercedes benz. thieves. fire them all. bankrupcy will look good on their license plates.