Guest Post by PlanetNL
Electrification – Is it Good Business or Political Sleight-of-Hand?

blog has detailed time and again how electricity costs are set to roughly
double once the Muskrat Falls project goes into operation and the potential
social harms that will inevitably occur.  Rate mitigation tactics are promised by thePremier and his Administration but they are bound to be as delayed and poorly
delivered as is the Muskrat Falls project itself.  This post examines the Government’s pursuit of
converting oil-fired buildings to electric heating.  Growth of electricity is supposed to provide
relief to existing ratepayers while getting off oil and lowering emissions is
an added bonus – who could argue?  Those
who look at the big picture, that’s who.

Electrification Plan

its polished document outlining how it intends to mitigate Muskrat’s coming
$725.9M annual cost to ratepayers, Government included a $15M target for new
electricity revenue gained from converting oil-fired buildings to electric
heat.  Useful publicly available
information on what Government is up to in this regard is very scarce. 

than scant details from media reports, a mere single summary sheet (presumably
part of a Briefing Note) with some figures regarding 28 buildings across the
island was found for this analysis.  As
the vast majority of Government buildings are already fully electric, the sheet
is assumed to be the complete list of buildings that passed initial screening
other than the massive Memorial University campus heating plant.

list of 28 buildings consists mainly of grade schools and post-secondary colleges.  Half are on the Avalon.  These buildings consume a combined 2.2
million liters of diesel heating fuel annually and their switch to electricity
will add 20 GWh to total island electricity usage (0.3% increase overall).  Some projects are already underway and most
are planned to be complete by the end of next year.  Electrical contractors are no doubt happy
with the work. 

Minister of Natural Resources, Siobhan Coady

and Benefits of Electrification

difference in the cost of oil vs electricity for heat and hot water in
commercial buildings usually favours oil although it’s higher operating and
maintenance costs likely offset any useful savings.  There is likely to be no operating cost advantage
to Government in making these conversions. 
Either way, Government will spend about $2M on fuel or electricity.  Government should be wary of rate mitigation
failure though: if electricity rates double, staying with oil could save
$2M/year.  There is certainly no
business case to invest in electrification for expected cost savings – the
capital cost has to be written off.

their document, Government claims they will replace oil-fired systems when they
are at end of life.  Such a claim would
infer there is no net capital cost to electrification as the money would be
spent one way or the other.  Yet it
appears Government is rushing to change out 28 working oil-fired heating
systems over just 2 years: the suggestion that all are in need of replacement
anyway seems disingenuous.

total capital budget for these 28 conversions is identified at $20M.  50% is funded by the federal government under
a program that expires in two years – this is the key reason Government is
rushing into many of these conversions a bit early. 

basic rules of thumb for project economics, the annual cost hit for
depreciation and cost of capital for the Province’s $10M share of the cost of this
set of conversions is going to be end up around $1M/year.  As the existing oil fired systems would
require eventual repair and replacement, halving the cost to $0.5M/year is a
reasonable estimate.

sum up to this stage, Government will incur new annual costs of $0.5M which
isn’t much, however, there is a risk of escalating to $2.5M if electricity
prices double – not to mention the cost hit on the majority of Government
buildings that are already fully electric heated.  This is the taxpayer-exposed liability.

main selling point of this effort for Government is the slight increase to
in-province electricity sales which has more value to ratepayers than if that
20 GWh of energy were exported at low spot-market rates.   The added value benefit to ratepayers from
the 28 electrification projects is assumed about $1.5M/year. 

bottom-line view must be this: the $0.5M annual liability for the project costs
is to be looked at alongside the benefits to ratepayers of $1.5M.  When the two are married together, the across
the board benefit is $1M. This type of social transfer is interesting but it’s
a small drop in the bucket against Muskrat’s coming $725.9M hit and while every
drop counts, let’s not imagine this is going to materially change anything. 

$1.5M is also well short of the intended $15M target.  Yes, MUN is yet to be included in the figure and
it happens to be 5 times larger in terms of oil consumed than the entire set of
buildings listed above.  Simple
extrapolation suggests a total maximum ratepayer benefit of $9M. If there are
any other buildings to be done besides MUN and the list of 28, the Government
needs to be a bit more forthcoming on their plans.

Also by PlanetNL
PlanetNL25: Nalcor CEO – Economic Skills Are Non-Essential to the Position


Price of Rushing Forward – Increased Ratepayer Costs

above benefit is only delivered in the post-Muskrat period when hydro power has
replaced Holyrood’s expensive oil-fired energy. 
As the public is aware, there are big problems with the Labrador Island
Link transmission line that may require years before Muskrat energy is reliably
delivered for a full winter.  Meanwhile
the Muskrat Falls generating Station is several years late finishing
construction and just entering early commissioning, so there is a long way to go
before “clean” energy to the island becomes a reality.

addition, the issue of system reliability without Holyrood in steady winter
operation is yet to be properly assessed. 
This key promise of the entire Muskrat project from day one has a very
high probability of turning out to be patently untrue.  It’s possible either Holyrood must run
continuously every winter as a generating standby source of spinning reserve
power or it must be replaced in full by fast-start diesel-fired combustion
turbines of approximately the same capacity. 

choice will see ratepayers hit with a bill likely well in excess of $100M annually
or perhaps double that.  Had this plausible
fact been properly kept on the table, it’s incredulous to think Muskrat would have
been promoted and sanctioned.  It’s
scandalous that this large crucial detail was deliberately misrepresented from
project planning.  The Public Utilities Board
is to commence hearings soon on system reliability and this issue will no doubt
be closely examined but when it will be fully understood and resolved may take
years, not months, to conclude.

therefore totally irrational that Government is pushing forward with
electrification while the very inefficient Holyrood plant remains the principal
supply of winter energy demand.  This fact
isn’t the least bit new either.  Government
has trumped the regulator for decades now by enforcing an outdated inefficient
consumer rate model that buries the fact that Holyrood costs way more to
operate than the revenue of the power it produces.  With a better rate-design that does not
subsidize generating plants, Muskrat would never have been needed and Holyrood
would have been used a lot less as well.

electricity cost doesn’t reflect the cost of production we have a horribly
distorted situation where for every liter of fuel an oil-heated customer burns for winter heat, Holyrood burns three liters to supply an electric-heat
customer with the same amount of heating energy to power their ubiquitous electric
resistance heaters.    The hidden subsidy
of Holyrood power has led to excessive implementation of resistance heating and
higher average power rates than could have been possible.

electrification of the 28 public buildings therefore might save 2.2 million
liters of fuel from being burned by furnances to heat those buildings but it will result
in over 6 million liters of extra fuel being burned at Holyrood.  The entire cost of that Holyrood fuel hit,
about $4M, will be absorbed by NL Hydro and will become a 100% ratepayer cost inevitably
contributing to a rate increase for all power customers.  Government clearly did not look at this as an
issue in attempting to move forward with these conversions.

the analysis from the above section where the post-Muskrat benefit to
ratepayers of these electrification projects was anticipated to be $1.5M, we
now see that pre-Muskrat, ratepayers will actually pay about $2.5M per year in
increased costs.  Add in the Government’s
project cost of $0.5M/year and these conversions will have a combined cost to
ratepayers and taxpayers of $3M annually.  Government has fashioned itself a bargain
shifting 80% of the cost and risk to ratepayers.

goals are also going the wrong way too. 
Carbon emissions will triple in proportion with the higher fuel usage at
Holyrood.  Other non-carbon pollutants
are likely to go up more than 10 times as Holyrood heavy oil is far less clean
than light refined diesel heating oil.

in MUN’s central heating plant fuel consumption and ratepayers will be on the
hook for about $24M extra fuel being burned at Holyrood.  Thankfully the scale of the MUN project
demands a larger study and hopefully that buys time to see the picture more
clearly over the next couple of years.

is Everything

a clear and certain timeline for Muskrat and the LIL going into service, and with Holyrood removed from service, Government and ratepayers – mainly
ratepayers – are going to book substantial losses on this electrification plan
in the short to medium term at least.   These
electrification projects have no fundamental economic benefit to begin with and
will trigger increased fuel costs at Holyrood large enough to completely outweigh
the rather feeble and made-up future benefits of electrification.  On a smaller scale, this is like Muskrat all
over again. Can we just burn that playbook please?

has no evidence to be certain that clean electricity will be delivered to the
island in abundance by 2021 as is necessary to validate their electrification
plan.  As the PUB’s expert consultant,
Liberty Consulting, has pointed out repeatedly in the past year, all indications
are to the contrary: it will likely take years beyond that to achieve clean
energy status. 

electrification plan should have only proceeded when the case for achieving
clean energy was assured.  Conversion projects
not yet started should be put on hold and the MUN study should likewise be
dependent on not starting any work until clean energy status is 100% achieved.  With several years likely to
lapse, all studies will need to be reopened and reworked as many key
criteria are sure to significantly change, especially the question of rates. The new rate design using high rates to mitigate electric heating and high
time-of-use peak pricing could yet prove to be the order of the day.  The design of new heating systems under those
conditions may be fundamentally electric but they would be radically different
and more efficient.

rushing forward now on their simple electrification conversions, the Government
is blatantly lying and cheating the ratepayers of this province.  If they can’t see the big picture on this
relatively small endeavour, then how can there be any trust in them to do right
within the bigger issues of rate mitigation that lie ahead.  It’s hard to believe they could make things
worse but they are making an exceptionally strong case for themselves.


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


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


  1. Excellent and timely analyses.

    When will the peoples' NDP and PC opposition members use their power to force government to make better, well thought out, rational (evidence-based) decisions (ones that mesh coherently with a properly developed and 21st century energy paradigm/strategy).

    • Given the vulnerable isthmus line, the question should be, what natural supply exists on the Avalon, to produce reasoned demand for electrical energy? Solar and wind. There is ample intelligence living in this small community, one would think, to develop the Sustainable Development Plan.

    • Maurice none of them have struck on the new paradigm. A combination well placed wind turbines backed up with battery or hydro can quickly and cheaply be put in place. The newest turbines are 7 MW each! and can be anchored or now floating in deeper water.

      It seems the simplest solution that alters the paradigm, costs the least is not in the equation.

      Why not have NL the north American capital of offshore wind? "Britain is quickly becoming the global center of knowledge for offshore wind: blade technology, testing labs, tower factories, gearbox factories, generators, erecting ships, cable-laying vessels, port facilities. Many thousands of high-end jobs will be created — and ultimately, an export industry as well."


    • GE as pulled out of a nosedive in part from its wind division;


      ": it has a capacity of 12 megawatts (MW), a height of 260 meters and a blade length of 107 meters. GE Renewable Energy has described it as the "world's most powerful offshore wind turbine."

      In a statement Tuesday, GE said the turbine had recently produced 262 megawatt hours of energy across a 24 hour period, enough to power 30,000 households in the area."

    • After a few months hibernation and his coal burners running low, Bruno is back with his usual nonsense: mega Nfld offshore wind generation backed by very expensive batteries and on such a scale to supply our needs and export it, another MFs boondoggle vision.
      And he promotes this as least cost, a vision like Danny Williams.

      When challenged before by me, he admits that CDM is by far least cost power source, (many measures @ 1-3 cent kwh costs)and first is to accept that customer efficiency is indeed a power source. Recall that even Bruno said he was installing a minisplit, so he bent to the inevitable: that 300% efficiency for space heating a gift few can refuse for long.
      Bruno does say wind backed by battery OR hydro, so indeed backed by hydro is more cost effective, he just got it reversed.
      And he says wind turbines that are well placed. That is true , but Nfld has so many onshore good locations not needing offshore which is about 30% or more extra cost, for corrosion resistance etc.
      And transmitting long distance means significant transmission losses, a disadvantage for MFs , (losing near 10 % to Soldiers Pond and over 15 % if to NS, where Bruno lives).
      Bruno lacks technical knowledge, and Maurice is doubtful to agree with him, having considerable technical skill, and some engineering studies from MUN,I think so.
      If Bruno bends a little and agrees that my statements are factual then we might might be buddies, praise the Lord, keep me sane.. I might even take a puff or two of his mind bending dope.
      Winston Adams

  2. Nicely documented Des. There is absolutely no way the government will be able to get us out of the mess NFLD is currently dealing with regarding Muskrat. Ultimately, you will be seeing a mass exodus of people leaving this place with the people remaining left to pick up the pieces which they wont be able to do financially. Then when the creditors come calling for their missed payments, the arse will inevitably come flying out of er'. All we can do now is sit back and watch all this implode, and no doubt it's coming. Just a matter of time.

  3. Great Blog as usual. It appears the Goverments electiifacation plan. Is not going to help us at all. The Holyrood generating station is going to be needed for years to come. And needs upgrades right now. What a mess we are in.

  4. Passing of an Accounting Fraud Icon;


    Some "slight of hand" dealings in the Power Utilities sector, one might say. Are we near some form of Auditor General activity on Muskrat and NALCOR shenanigans ? Mitigation by the Feds in behalf of the Taxpayer/Ratepayer, should bring some consideration of, Where did all that Cash Flow go? Eh Wot?

  5. Great read!

    Clarifies the mistake of the Provincial Government trying to do premature electric conversions on Government buildings, including MUN, before we actually have a proper dependable power supply, instead of depending on Holyrood for back up.

    Something tells me Holyrood will not be decommissioned any time in the near future?

    In all likelihood we will have to spend even more money on Holyrood to safeguard our power supply as a Province.

    So much for the fallacy of Muskrat Falls being the least cost option yet again!

    "The tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"

    Our unofficial mission statement for NALCOR.

  6. In addition, the issue of system reliability without Holyrood in steady winter operation is yet to be properly assessed. This key promise of the entire Muskrat project from day one has a very high probability of turning out to be patently untrue. It’s possible either Holyrood must run continuously every winter as a generating standby source of spinning reserve power or it must be replaced in full by fast-start diesel-fired combustion turbines of approximately the same capacity.


    The requirement for fast start generation via Gas turbine is in the Hydro reliability plan submitted on the PUB website.

    • Its not an option. Having the 10 minute fast start generation is a requirement of NERC to allow transmission on the national GRID. There is a requirement to replace the “NIL” with so much slow start and so much fast start generation.
      you want to export 300, you need to be able to replace it when the NIL trips.
      There will always be a requirement to add to the Island system. the refurb and construction of new plants does not stop after MF. unless you want economic growth to stop and blackouts to occur

    • The fallacy of always adding to the supply ignores the principle of greater energy efficiency for or by customers to avoid or delay new supply infrastructure. Perhaps you are not aware of that concept going back to the 1970s but much used for the past 30 years in progressive jurisdictions, meaning not in NL. The measures are many, but not much found in Take Charge, promoted by scallywags.
      Winston Adams

    • Anon 18:39, you seem to be a knowledgable Hydro/Nalcor insider so you can answer this question. You clearly show that new CTs are a necessity to the system. The question is whether these new 300-500MW of required CTs were priced into the project at the time of Muskrat sanction? This would have been at least 10% of the 6.2 billion I'd guess. Or was the CT construction left out of the Muskrat project for Hydro to deal with in the future as a separate project?

    • Anon @ 11;30
      It is obvious it shold have been costed as part of MFs but deliberately left out. And too, the recent released list of 40 risk factors as to reliability would show the need for such backup. So either the risks were known and ignored, or the risks not proberly assessed, so engineering incompetence……take your choice.
      This another point needing PENG2 opinion, as he don't much fault engineering failure by Nalcor.
      Winston Adams

    • Apparently no time soon?

      Ball and company have refused to cut our spending as a Province he has actually INCREASED our spending year over year!

      No layoff clauses with ALL of our Public Sector Unions?

      Then to add insult to injury they are actually agreeing to modest wage increases to these very same unions!

      Then, just when you think that Bond Markets have fired a few "warning" shots towards our financial powers to be in this Province?

      Bring out the P3 construction projects, Hospitals including a new Waterford Hospital, Extended Care Facilities, Provincial Prison etc.

      And we haven't even made a SINGLE payment on our 57 year term for a $13+
      Billion Dollar Muskrat Falls project!

      I don't know about you?

      But as I sit on the sidelines all I feel is that we have had successive Governments with both parties and all of them have their heads completely buried up their own arses!

      Not to mention a significant chunk of the general population of the Province who also see no reason to be concerned?

      It's like watching a "slow motion" train wreck!

    • And they're all getting together next week at MUN to discuss the fiscal cliff (talk about it, eat muffins, polish off the coffee, nod off, go home and do absolutely nothing about it, again). You cant make this dung up folks.

    • Don't worry.Wade Locke(remember him?) says they are going to look at the situation in a positive light,finding ways to move forward without laying blame or getting caught up in grim details.So there you have it from the esteemed doctor,who is getting tired of being blamed.

    • Audience max of 50, and time allocated for questions is 15 minutes.
      MUN PR stunt? Wade to the Rescue with soft solutions. Meanwhile his least cost power option cost just keeps ticking and ticking upward,and as of yet no power at maximum cost.
      Bruno dubbed PENG2 as PENGZERO. Is Wade EconomistZERO? Should he be banished from MUN, instead of still presented a a leading light??

    No more record breaking snow storms. No need to worry. Boris Johnson is personally taking the bull by the horns, as to COP 26 in Scotland this Nov, and will have all 196 countries on board for serious targets for GHG reductions, if not our civilization crashes he says. Sound like Greta talking. She is up again for a consideration of a Nobel Peace Prize. The Digger and Andy Wells have written in support of her getting this.
    Boris soundn like Ball being in charge of advancing the well being of Labrador residents and aboriginal affairs dept.
    Boris's first act was to fire his Minister who was critical that Britain was way behind on preparation for this international conference, and high official had not even met since October.
    Boris wants London's financial sector to be a leader in the green energy technologies. Others say watch Boris's actions not his words.
    If Boris is serious, what happens to Ball's plan to double oil production here?
    This 2020 conference they say is the last chance to change direction internationally or be doomed.
    Coastal Florida is expected to have a sea level rise as much as 8 ft by the end of this century. Now the rise is 8 mm per year, so 1 inch every 3 years. and showing an increasing trend.
    More and higher intense weather is expected for Nfld going forward, and the media here has stories of needing to adapt, but nothing on reducing GHGs or reduction of offshore production or exploration.
    Are we locally in tune with Boris's words, or his non action?
    We just got off easy. Drastic would be a large rainfall after the record snow fall. The military would need pumps besides plastic snow shovels.
    Where is the EMERGENCY PLAN for next time?
    Winston Adams

    • Robert @ 11:17:

      I thought there was a media story several weeks ago that the rate mitigation announcement was being delayed until late February or mid-March.

      No matter anyway – rate mitigation is only smoke/mirrors anyway. Unless a new source of revenue is found it is only taking money from 1 government provided service to another. If the government(Fed or Prov) finds 'new' money or 'saves' money without affecting services – then the question is why wasn't this done before?


    • Anony @ 14:38:

      Confused as what that has to do with my comment?

      I never mentioned the Inquiry report – just that there was a media report indicating the Government announcement on rate mitigation was going to be delayed…. Also, I never mentioned the PUB report on rate mitigation anyway.


  8. Would the North Spur have survived the 4.3 quake near Postville if it was closer to MFs?
    This picked up by sensors at Corner brook and Shefferville PQ.
    Recall Nalcor had reommendations from experts to have sensors at MFs to monitor earthquakes, but Nalcor ignored that recommendation.
    I once started to give a summary of that here on UG ( as Bruno was present at those presentations) but I never finished the summary here.
    What intensity was the vibration at MFs? Don't know because no proper recording sensors. Ignorance is bliss they say. And Nalcor in a state of bliss.
    Earthquakes are rare in Labrador, so this one a surprise or not?

    Winston Adams

  9. Ah I remember the time well. 12 years ago now. When I wrote to the powers that be and recommended they check out the unharnessed wind and solar to power the island for approximately (then) 1 billion. And the reply from the Greatest Brain Trust ever was "We don't have batteries big enough."

    • You remember the time but not your name?
      Sounds like the Bruno Brain Trust: wind/solar/batteries.
      Nalcor assessed wind and batteries in 2012 at about 17 billion cost? 600MW of wind each on east and west coast. A silly idea, known to be not cost effective.
      Wind supply was assessed by Hatch that had restraints that gave an intended result of little benefit. That flawed study has gone unchallenged, so we still have only 2 % wind, and on a cold wind winter day burn lots of fuel at Holyrood, much could be offset by wind energy. NS has been adding significant wind.
      Is Locke now promoting any particular supply source, as to economics, or CDM uptake, as to the PUB reliability studies? Or will soon promote Gull Island as another least cost?
      Winston Adams

    • Engineering Economy criteria suggests that when considering most capital Investment Projects with "uncertainty" characteristics, it would be prudent to defer the Project, and apply annual expenditures in the order of 10% of the capital investment, per year, and remain economically equivalent. Seems the erudite M. Locke did not fully understand such economic theory. Question; What measures could NALCOR have taken annually, at say $1B/year to keep the system on the Avalon working, and saving a bundle of cash, pride and probable Bankruptcy? CDM, and conservation could have gone a long way. That Hydro Engineers seem to have too soon forgotten their training, and job experience is tragic. Can we not reconcieve the "Sons of Martha" oath?

    • So Robert, given we know MFs should have been initially about 8 billion not 6.2, then 10 % of that, 800 million a year for other measures, what could have been done, over several years, is what Locke, and Nalcor did not consider. Is this your point?
      Now we are seeing a slow modest spending on our grid and infrastructure for upgrades( to counter the past neglect),and Liberty now too wanting costs for Holyrood for reliable operation until 2023, and another cost figure for indefinite operations due to MFs unreliability,(which Nalcor says they cannot give that cost figure until Jan 2021) and we see that 400 MW of grid restraints exist to get more island power to get to the Avalon,( and the issue of costs to overcome that), and costs for more island hydro supply as identified, and Synapse recommendations of benefits of CDM……..all these alternative measures, and whether adding wind and gas turbines to replace old Holyrood units, and at 800 million a year expenditure on average, what could have or can or must be done going forward, incrementally as appropriate ?
      Is Locke capable of such thought and analysis? Are engineers with our power systems companies were or are now prevented from such analysis?
      Winston Adams

    • Come to think of it, the PUB hearing to address power reliability is supposed to address these issues, yet not a single comment or submission was received by the PUB! What does this say? The deadline was Jan 17. No one has opinions or expertise, neither engineers or economists or MUN experts, or conservation people, or concerned citizens or companies…..NO ONE.
      What does PENG2 think of that?
      Winston Adams

    • Robert, the 10% spend rule you cited is a toxic one, every bit as poisonous as the project you want to avoid. Adding 800M to annual cost would be same as Muskrat and more than double power rates. It's a very faulty or misguided proposition in this case is it not?

    • I used 800 as 10% of MFs, but I have repeatedly said the lowest cost option would not cost more than 2 billion, so 10 % of that would be 200 million a year.
      Note Stan used 1 billion for new GTs and Bay de Espoir new 154 MW add.
      CDM @ 40-50 Million a year. I believe Synapse used 35 Million a year?
      So , ignore the 800 million a year. Small hydro adds was about 500 Million? Wind is by wind promoter contract.
      Much could be done for 200 M a year, 10 years is 2 billion.
      Winston Adams

    • Robert, the problem is the arbitrary logic you cite automatically leads to approval of cost increases and rate increases. The real question, pre 2010 should have been: How can we replace Holyrood with something that is cheaper and better. Arbitrary logic was used 200 times over to create Muskrat and it won't solve the problem either.

    • MF was predetermined and heavily influenced by DW as a legacy project and his hatred for QC and cost was irrelevant.It was a "cash cow" for those bending over backwards to please the exalted one, plain and simple.

  10. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if Gordon McIntosh worked for the Department of Natural Resources when Kathy Dunderdale was Minister?

    Obviously he worked somewhere in the NL Public Service for a few years?

    If he in fact worked under Dunderdale, my naturally inquisitive mind would like to know exactly what role(s) he may have played with both NALCOR and Muskrat Falls?

    A loyal soldier being rewarded is the first thing that comes to my mind?

    Things that make you go hmmm…….

    • Alot is being made of this being a 'sole-sourcing' of a consultant (yes, a consultant, not an employee) – but I guess best comparison is to the recruitment of EM / GB / PH etc of the the Nalcor exec and LCP development team and was that an open competition.

      McIntosh is a consultant, not a hire, and the $350k is about an hourly rate of $175hr (if invoiced hours are 2000/yr). Either way, $350k to a consultant is pretty close to be equal to $225k/yr for an employee when considering total financial liability (inclusive of vacation, pension, severance, other benefits etc).

      Is $350k/yr a reasonable amount for this type of experience he has – I have no idea, but his estimated hourly billing rate(say $175/hr @ 2000hrs/yr to $350/hr @ 1000hrs/yr) doesn't seem very high when considering lawyers, Engineers, accountants etc…. The housing allowance as I read is paid based on a reimbursable basis for what is spent (ie only in the amount of receipts provided) – pretty normal for expenses.


    • Have to agree. No big noise made when those you mentioned were sole soursed along with dozens of others. As a matter of fact Danny was being praised for being able to find and hire such world class consultants. And no one dare say one word or they would be singled out and sued for the mere thinking of such thoughts. Oh my, how short their memories and how times have changed.

  11. Winston, I would be interested to hear from your own perspective, how energy conservation measures could have, and still could help manage the demand load, given the constraints on the Avalon power supply system.

    How do you see related demand management measures to further reduce the load factors, and probability of brown outs, etc.?

    Keep it simple, for the benefit of non-technical audience. Any associated ball park costing would add real life perspective.

    Thank you for this.

    • Since UG started there has been no piece putting customer (end-user) Energy Efficiency and Conservation as the key (but not the only) power source as the least cost option for the island of Nfld.
      Lowest cost would be robust CDM, added island hydro, added wind, island hydro transmission restraints to the Avalon solved, and replacement of old thermal units at Holyrood with new effective thermal for backup and emergency use, (to use minimum fuel to obtain 98 % green energy).
      Much of the costs of the necessary measures are offset by lower energy use, by 300 % efficient electric space heating for both residential and commercial and institutional, and other efficiency measures.
      Ideally this should have been the choice instead of Muskrat falls. In that power from MFs will likely not be reliable, this approach needs to be revisited and analysis updated. In fact we are slowly moving in that directions with rapid residential conversions for 300% efficient space heat to replace 100% efficient resistance heat. Such an approach will eventually see MUN and all buildings off oil and power for EVs by smoothing the winter peak load. Carbon taxes should also be used to contribute to these costs.
      Such an approach is mandatory to help solve the climate change problem and reduce GHGs
      Recent studies by Synapse and Nfld Hydro Reliability provides significant data to aid analysis. Nova Scotia's successful CDM and wind additions is a fine example for data. My 2012 analysis is largely still appropriate for input.
      Planet NL has done some much good work on UG, including the present piece. I do not know any of these authors. My research results on energy savinga nd peak load potential for 300% heating systems is available, and the results from here on the Avalon.
      Such analysis can be real steaming pies given our space heating loads are so great that it was the primary cause of our energy problem and if you solve the heating problem, it is key to solving our island energy problem, coupled with with the other measures.
      Our power companies and govn should be taking the lead in this approach, but does not.
      Anon @ 19;53 would like to see me stfu. Can PlanetNL undertake such an effort to help anon @ 19:57 stfu?
      Winston Adams

  12. Robert , hope to do that sometime, and update my 2012 analysis. I considered filing as an intervener at the PUB, but knew I could not follow through due to family health priorities: just back from Houston cancer hospital, wife yesterday back on the infusion toxic chemo regiment bottle, emails back and forth with health people here as well as from Houston for best advice, fly to Haifax this Monday for consultation on procedure unable to be done in Nfld, surgery again (4th major surgery)somewhere following thatchemo rounds. but she is doing well, key is to avoid complications that lurk. and there has been some doosies.
    So MFs and power grid is often priority #2, and also a stress release from as diversion. I comment more often on UG to counter heath related stress, that may not make much sense, but Mfs is economic, and serious, but not life and death.
    Last nite on Trump's show, both Trump and after the Democrats brought up stage 4 cancer in their speeches! Trump in favor of private care, others in favor or govn health care. I am caught between both. The trump show was somewhat entertaining, I was not at all expecting cancer talk, but cancer bankrupts many in the USA, and here we often get second rate care.

    Circumstances may yet dictate better CDM, and residents going in that direction, and Planet NL alluded to it. The powers that be avoids it as a tool. Maurice says a shift in thinking and analysis needed, not expecting much from the PUB hearings. Same crowd pulling the same leavers. Wanting to increase peak load with no reliable MFs power available, as the Planet NL piece stated clearly, as unsound economics at this time.

  13. Time to write on what use to be the greatest democracy on earth, while King Trump or King Hump is spouting his great words of wisdom, like a 10 year old bully boy. The impeached, once impeached always impeached, but acquitted by the Senators. As a matter of fact the Senators has made him their king. Yes he is above the law, and can do as he dam well pleases. He told everyone that before he was impeached, and will continue to do it. After he is elected in the next election, he will fix the system so that he will be proclaimed king for life. So that he can join the other dicitators and kings of the world. King of SA, King Putin, and you know who the other kings for life are. Yes, he has charmed the weak minded of the USA, and the like minded, of birds of a feather flock together. They were all scared of him. The world will never be the same again. Then we have the other side, those who want to keep the USA a democracy. Because the Demagoguery, like the Hump, gets elected and changes that democracy into a diticatorship. So he is well on his way. Meanwhile, little Nancy extends a hand of friendship, and the King turns his blind eye. In return she shreds his "manifesto of untruths" right in front of all the senators, and millions on tv. A lot more guts that all the 52 senators put together. She calls it, not the state of the Union, but the state of the Humps mind. Now they all take the special oath, for the impeachment. Only one out of the 53 honours it. The USA has all forms of religious people, but of the senators only one, Romney is true to his oath before God, to place his country before his party, and his morals to truth before the scorn of his fellow senators and King Hump. So that is the state of the once greatest democracy on earth, or the "state of the Union" as they use to call it says Joe blow.

  14. All I know is this latest move by Dwight Ball and company having Carla Foote "resign" her position at the Rooms and then step into an ADM position with "The Office of Engagement".

    Is proof positive that we are being governed by a number of people who are in fact brain dead.

    Dwight Ball being one of them!

    Please can someone rescue us from our own politicians?

    • Her 550k is likely 24 months pay in place of notice, normal

      Real issue is the salary she was getting in the first place – at least now the province rids itself of this leach after two more years of salary.

      She is a product of Big ED. She was hired in a 50k a year job and look where ED put her……………. into a VP role. All the while he was firing GREAT EXPERIENCED HYDRO engineers ………..

    • How else could he hoodwink the province without first installing yes “men” to push the propaganda? Drink the kool aid and check your morals at the door because I’ve got a job for you. this cash cow was ripe to be milked and slaughtered, covered under the blue pc vail.

  15. TMX, a Western kind of Boondoggle; The numbers now around Stan's Finish Strong $13B, but of course no bitumen flowing on the one, and no power flow on the other.

    Is Seamus storm stayed you say on Signal Hill?

  16. Ball says MFs is complete, except for commissioning and a few snags with synchronized condensers and GE software. Overlook that they are synchronous condensers, and another time he just called them condensers.
    A few years ago Bruno confused synchronous condensers with converters (part of the DC to AC hardware, but I let it pass, as Bruno lumps all this with the word technobabble).
    But for Ball , it is obvious he don't have a clue. With a smile and a shrug he implies these are small details. His PR people didn't even get him to use the right words.
    Why is it that no electrical or mechanical engineer from Nfld Hydro or Nalcor is permitted to speak to this issue before the cameras? Even Stan now shies away.
    Ok, MFs is complete says Ball but no power. And these little snags, and other of 40 risks, means long delays, and perhaps never reliable power from MFs.
    Ball who had the chance of halting MFs when he came to power, now is starting to squirm. No mitigation plan and no reliable power assured.
    The ordinary public is now catching on, even the media, that these little snags are not no little. Like building the Newfie Bullet railway for narrow gauge and expecting it too be fast and stable.
    Of course if some one with knowledge spoke on it, the gig would be up. This MFs is far from complete. This little thing called commissioning, shows the proof is in the pudding, if Stan can go out strong, just for reliability, certainly not on cost.
    The game now is to delay and delay and delay as to transparency. The media now seem it may be out for blood , having heard lots of bullshit from Ball , as they heard from Ed martin.
    Dawn Dalley is gone. Did she help compile the Hit List? Has Nalcor got a scoop on Leblanc's report and acting in advance of it's release?
    Winston Adams

    • Winston,

      Your last sentence says it all!

      They may have not gotten any advance notice?

      But I would say that reality is starting to set in for maybe some of these people.

      They know full well by now that there is not going to be anything positive regarding NALCOR when Justice LeBlanc releases his report, let alone a pat on the back for a job well done!

      There were a significant number of people who participated in this game that Ed Martin et al had concocted to even attempt to justify Muskrat Falls.

      As we see with our latest revelations to add insult to injury that even after spending $13+ Billion Dollars on Muskrat Falls we STILL don't have a reliable power supply!

      The proverbial icing on the cake is in fact we are most likely have to keep and quite possibly "upgrade" Holyrood as a back up for a defective Muskrat Falls!

      Let's see?

      1) We were told Muskrat Falls was the least cost option.

      2) We were told it would eliminate Holyrood and our dependence on burning fossil fuels, and the related costs and environmental considerations.

      3) We were told that Muskrat Falls would give us a state of the art reliable power system because we were no longer isolated from the rest of the mainland grid.

      As far as I can see NALCOR are pretty well striking out on all counts!

      The only one thing that was accomplished is that we are connected to the mainland grid via Nova Scotia.

      But at what cost?

      We still don't have any power to fulfill our contract with NS Emera?

      Then when we finally send them power they are the only ones who will actually know and have a fixed price for their electricity.

      What did Newfoundland and Labrador get out of this?

      Absolutely nothing!

      Other than a $13 Billion Dollar debt?

      Mind numbing!

  17. Off topic, but a laugh: A young man says to his mother , Why is it that the greatest songs are always so sad. The mother doesn't agree and says what about "That pretty girl just farted".
    You can listen to the song on You Tube, came out in 2015, only about 10,000 plays so far, and about 7 to 1 thumbs up.
    Found that from a piece saying that negative emotions last much longer than positive ones, and perhaps explains the lasting power of the UG blog. The negativity of the LeBlanc Inquiry at one point was described as a gong show, such was the BS of Ed Martin and others, should last for decades but will there be lessons learned? Or like the pretty girl that farted, just blow over?
    Winston Adams

  18. when are they going to tell the public they fkd up and need to re-wedge two brand new generators?!?

    unforeseen risk hey Dwight?? like to see the fluff the spin doctors put on that doozie. yeah first power is slightly delayed. again. pretty sure this site could mothball for a year and still maintain its non schedule targets. LOL.

    • It sounds like this is still the boondoggle of all boondoggles. And after reading Marshalls comments on the Liberty and Boards desire to reintegrate Power Supply with Hydro, as a taxpayer I still have questions.

      1) Why did we hire a “ceo” paid “ceo salary” to ‘great muskrat falls project complete’? This seems to be what Gil Bennett is paid to do. What does Stan do for the Corporation? He’s said repeatedly he’s here to fix MF. Not run a bloated Corporation. So why is he pretending to care and fighting reintegration? All his comments show this ‘leader’ does not want to lead. Does not want to lead change and does not want to improve. This is the garbage and laziness that was heard from special Ed Martin the 6 million dollar man. Clearly we did rebuild him.

      What does he do exactly? He is a technical translator between Gil and Dwight? A communications officer being paid ceo salary? All we have seen in terms of leadership is that he can bark at media and inquiry lawyers with a mouth full of marbles and make such tailspin he makes Mr Smallwood look like a professor of economics.
      Marshalls role, leadership and purpose has stalled, like a WWII vintage Italian tank with one speed forward and 5 speeds reverse.

      2) Why is he not correcting missteps by John MacIsaac who already fell on a sword for this bloat? Why fire people if you continue their work and mission afterwards? Other poor leadership and continued stall tactics what benefit have the people gained. Meet the new boss, he’s the same as the old boss. Except married to a Liberal senator thats a clear qualification as you must bleed the right colour red.

      This non regulated nonsense. Other than sparing a few execs and high level salaries, whats the point? because they like how CFLCo avoids tendering laws and pubkic oversight? Hydro Quebec pays the bills last time I checked. There is professional oversight. Saying that CFLCo and power supply has to help complete the project is ridiculous. There is a Lower Churchill company existing since the days of Frank Moores whose sole purpose is to oversee that resource. They must run under the same philosophy as Parks Canada making up reasons ad hoc to build a ticket booth. Throw as much BS at something, its bound to stick.

      Finally, since 2016 we’ve talked about belt tightening while continuing to charge the credit cards. Like climate change, you can only avoid the problem so long. Eventually all debts must be paid. best keep things above board and transparent. Stop wasting our time, telling lies and milking the public cow for personal interests and commercial interests.
      Will the real leaders please stand up!

    • When Ball became premier he failed to conduct a thorough review of the need, affordability and risks associated with Danny's Muskrat fiasco (and the Anon 11:42 comment above generally outlines the underlying rationale for my early and oft-expressed view that appointing Marshall was little more than a change of horses).

      On taking power the Liberals had the opportunity (and the duty) to conduct a comprehensive review of Muskrat — and failed to do so.

      Ball chose to "finish strong(?)", to bulldoze straight ahead with the PC/Nalcor ill-conceived, 19th century Muskrat extension cord solution to a non-existent NL problem (the only beneficiaries being Nova Scotia and the federal government), and Stan would merely replace Ed in the drivers seat.

      NL ratepayers would be and are the patsies.

      PC or Liberal — same difference.

    • A Corporation has added 7 rotating machines, 1100km transmission line and 2 convertor stations. How does that translate to a CEO, any CEO, growing said organization from 12 vp and senior officers, to 42 leaders? How does CF go from 0 VP in 2007 to 3 in 2018? How did revenues grow in that time to support the added bloat? They have a vp for every 100Mw of recall power? Lol.
      Bull arm ran before those people changed their hats. no requirement to add there. but they did. because its a busy growing site.
      There hired an army of oil field permit paper pushers. Half of which still work there plus add another company of execs to boot under a anything but Nalcor banner so dwight can love oil with loving nalcor.
      Does this Corporation even have revenue? or is it like Tesla just blowing thru money for a laugh as long as people keep handing it over to the wizard of Oz?
      LOL. the banks are good for it.

  19. So, incase anyone needs a reminder – the following sitting MHAs voted for MF in 2011 (and are currently reelected as of February 2020):
    Tom Osbourne – sat as a PC then, now a Liberal
    Kevin Parsons
    David Brazil
    Paul Lane – sat as a PC then, has since been a Liberal and now Independent

    For those keeping score, here are some other current MHAs that are directly tied to supporting MF:
    Barry Petten (was employed as an ADM by the Dunderdale government in 2011)
    Helen Ottenhiemer (spouse of John who voted for MF in 2011)
    Pleman Forsey (brother of Clayton who voted for MF in 2011, also lobbied fro MF in the Terra Nova area pre-2011)
    Lela Evans (won her seat as a PC in the 2019 general election, previously worked at MF and supported/lobbied for MF on the Labrador coast prior to 2011)

    Another interesting note:
    Glenn Littlejohn (lost as a PC in the 2015 general election, was confirmed by the Ches PC party and ran again in 2019 but lost – he sat in the Dunderdale government and voted for MF in 2011)

    I figured it might be worth the reminder since the rate mitigation report is now out – think about these people as the media reports on this over the coming days…. To be 100% fair – I am sure the list is not all inclusive and there are probably others we could add.


    • PENG2, I just quickly reviewed parts of the Mitigatin report released late yesterday evening.
      On a personal note, I consider you to have high expertise in your field as a geotechnical engineer, and a pretty good knowledge of other fields of engineering,and ability to to a deeper dive to have informed opinions in those fields.
      Early on you wanted to engage in technical debates, which was good to hear, as MFs is very technical and we see more and more of technical problems and risks.
      Recently we have seen a lot of technical reports, key to our future direction : Synapse,then Nlfd Hydro Power Reliability, and PUB hearing on these subjects. I have often commented on the importance of them. And you just cite the new PUB report on Mitigation that has reviewed those other reports and some other submissions.
      Yet you have been almost completely silent as to comments on all these reports. I have invited you to comment, but see little from you. That you are not an electrical engineer nor an expert in CDM or peak load management is not an excuse to comment and engage.
      Yet you repeatedly cite the politics and those still around that were in favor of MFs, and so little on these studies on policies on how we move forward for our energy plan.
      It's as if on these technical issues you are under a cone of silence, as are so many of the past scallyways, many still around and directing policy. Tell me is ain't so.
      What gives, PENG2? Where is your debate on technical issues? You have high ability but performing poorly on this blog, I suggest.
      Winston Adams

    • WA @ 11:03:

      In reality, my technical views haven't changed – I have seen little released lately that makes me think.

      When it comes to the mitigation report etc – I have always said that there is no way to separate the rate payer vs tax payer rate mitigation is a political pile of B$. I have also quoted a number of $500/yr for every man/woman/child in NL if our population stays at 500k – just to amortize the capital of MF.

      Recently I have commented on CF, the snow events and MF – so I am not sure where you are coming from saying I am being silent.


    • Silent on technical issues on these reports. Our way forward for power supply, reliability, peak load shaving, Holyrood options for reliability and backup. Dozens of such items. Even the risk of premature electricification, and PlanetNL piece , the pUB report confirms the risk of premature electricification, as to risk of needing more thermal assets.
      So much technical issues. Proof of demand reductions with heatpumps etc, still excuses for not knowing, they say. The public way ahead of uptake of what Synapse and this report suggests would happen. The Industrial sector opposing residential incentives for CDM, and too the Consumer Advocate, on foolish grounds ( low income people can't afford them). Take Charge boasting of meeting CDM targets past 10 years, when targets are so low we are worst in all of Canada.
      Our plan for going forward,…….and too how it fits climate change policy, and GHG reduction.

    • Robert Homes:
      Our winter peak is about 1800 MW. We can easily know our our electric space heat load> just subtract the load for the first week of August, which is about 600MW. This means 1200WM of winter peak electric heat load.
      With 300 % efficient HPs, even new air source ones can achieve this at -15C, this is a COP of 3, which reduces the heat load by 2/3.
      If all buildings used this it means 800 MW peak winter load reduction potential (impossible to achieve this much in practice)
      If 60 % is achieved it is 480 MW reduction , equal to Holyrood supply to the grid. Recently 18 % of houses now using HPs, but perhaps most are partial coverage
      The mitigation report uses a "high" level achievement from CDM at 140 MW peak reduction, I think. So not aiming high, and a low figure of about 40 MW reduction. The fox is in charge of the hen house. This discussion in the report starting about page 47 ( but does not state the 800 MW potential). 800 MW potential reduction on space heating is more than MFs at full output can deliver to Soldier's Pond (824 minus about 70 MW transmission loss).

      The 800 MW potential does not include reductions for domestic water heating via HPs (which is the next biggest load, but much smaller than space heat).
      Of course such conversions for space heat are not cheap, unless you compare to MFs. Conversions are very cost effective, and now 18 % of houses have full of partial HP heating.
      Winston Adams

    • So, it would appear, Winston, a first step would be for Government funded load shedding; Starting with high building dependence on electric heating, re-engineering away towards more efficient hydronic, renewable based source; geothermal, solar hot water? Urban Plan consolidating building clusters, District Energy so to speak. Prince Phillip Dr. complexes, ready set go?

    • For large buildings, yes, geothermal hydronic. Ground temp here is about 43 F,year round, great temperature, (air source HPs is nominal rated for 47F but excellent performance to -5 F or lower).
      With snow, fog, cloudy , sleet etc , the Avalon, I Think, is not good for solar hot water,as to cost effective, but PV panels to help drive minisplits may have role for small PV arrays for cost effective.
      I put CDM as # one, but a long term project for all buildings, so island hydro adds and wind adds while also ramping up CDM, and this combined permits EV charging adds to the load and electricification form oil.
      Much depends on if MFs operates at all, and if reliable, if not then the alternative needs analysis now, (should have been done a decade ago) with intend to have minimum thermal generation,for emergency back up, not long term Holyrood thermal.
      Efficiency Canada input to the Mitigation says use every CDM opportunity.
      Building clusters and district heat yes where possible. Now in Ont buildings of 50 apartment units, geothermal heat by a third party, you pay a monthly fee for heat and hot water, as if a power bill or gas bill, butit is geothermal electric, 300% efficient.
      Locally planning here is about as advanced as for a snow dump> no organization, bring in the Army with plastic shovels, lock down for essential needs, no food or heat for elderly or those with power loss.
      Maybe Ches will propose a energy plan? Doubtful, as Tories promote oil and gas as the future. Our NDP….no better it seems.
      PENG2? Largely silent, leaning toward go slow, very slow, on sustainable energy.

    • Robert, this is laughable> I about as far east as you can get, at the town of Logy Bay, you way out west in BC, and we discuss the Green Nlfd Energy Plan, 2 old retired Nfld engineers, and all the young smart ones between you and I are silent. What gives? Yet they all know a major shift is needed, and urgent.Money talks, and the fossil fuel industry is pulling the strings of the puppets.

  20. There are many concerning aspects to the PUB report. First of all it is using a rate which was quoted by Nalcor some 2 years ago. Secondly it assumes demand will be flat. In fact increasing rates will lower or reduce demand, exasperating the issue. Lastly it is the notion of widespread electrification. We have a capacicty problem in this province, not a energy problem. So why are we adding more peak demand, when the reliability is not assessed?

  21. Things were bad and ugly from the start under fake information. That came out during the inquiry.
    Now ed marshall is giving us fake news reports and updates out of MF hiding the fact its still bad. Including avoiding severance payouts at least one per month. I guess the cheques are clearing.
    bottom line, there is no mandated change. fear over 15 percent unemployment, continued outmigration and a dewindling ratebase, they want nothing but smoke and mirrors to keep people panicking about recession. deeper recession. low employment low wages, this is bogged in for long haul.
    however, there will be federal money. question is will corporate changes and pub increased oversight be tied to said bailout. they’re waiting for some direction and a solution before they pump more money into this ponzi scheme.

  22. This will crush NL.

    This will crush this basket case of a province completely.

    These rotten fuckers… Martin, Dunderdale, Harrington… the whole bloody lot of those fucking culprits… should be arrested and frog-marched right into court.

    Especially Dunderdale, because she owns the MRF debacle, and colossal stupidity and willful ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

    • I would not disagree, anon, but there was a lot of ignorance all the way round. Who of the public or the main media took issue when she said lots of TVs would create the load for MFs? True, she had world class experts of Nalcor to guide her on this,Dawn Dalley probably feeding her the words, given to her by Gil Bennett maybe. But where was the ordinary common sense of the public who could have read the watts consumption on these new TVs, and add up the megawatts? A little arithmetic would have went a long way.
      Winston Adams

    • The only chickens coming home to roost are the fairy tails spun by NL nativists. If the Feds ordered Quebec to allow transmission corridor, would they have likewise "ordered" Quebec to pay for it? The difference between then and now was that even Joey wouldn't blow up the provincial economy for a legacy project; that took our own little Trump, Danny Williams

    • What we must now consider is this; What will NL give up to Federal "offer" to mitigate the cash flow requirements in order to pay the Bankers? Think about it; Terms of Confederation? Politically, Pearson refused to "order Quebec to allow Joey a transmission corridor". Now that younger Trudeau dares to send in the RCMP to "force" the Western pipeline through Indigenous Lands, will he be consistent, and similarly apply the same principle through Quebec? Hard bargaining indeed, when Freehand comes to "push". I'm guessing that the Muskrat, and the whole Grand River prize is on the table.

    • Dwight will give away anything and everything up to the kitchen sink. He is such a weak leader, that the Feds, NS, NB and Quebec will all be eating our lunch. Kiss it all good-bye. And again, Joey wouldn't have pushed for a power corridor if it cost NL money, only an idiot like Danny would.

    • How many times do one needs to explain something to a newfie for him to understand ? Apparently, this is a lost cause and he will never learn…

      Nobody had the technology to build that 735Kv line BUT HQ.
      Nobody had any interest buying that much power BUT HQ.
      Nobody could front that much cash to get UC done BUT HQ.

      For HQ to put a single dollar on UC, it had to be lower cost than their own project.

      The UC has always be a Win – Win contract :
      A gigantic and exceptional power plant built for free and risk free for CFLCo
      The benefits of such a plant for HQ for the time required to payback the debt and compensate for not doing its own plants instead.

      As of now, benefit has been shared about 50 – 50, 50 as an asset for CFLCo and 50 as cash for HQ.

      But hey, newfies are known world wide to be unable of any kind of common sense… There must be a reason for that and Muskrat Falls is but the latest evidence about it.

  23. Here are some numbers to help with the household electric budget:

    The reference case is a 4 bedroom home, circa 2003 in St. John's, R20 insulation in 2×6 stud walls, poorly installed Kento windows, no exterior insulation outside the sheathing, baseboard heat. The following upgrades were performed: Drain water heat recovery, R90 attic insulation, air sealing with a foam gun, 4 heat pump heads. Daytime heat is 23C. Nighttime is 18C.

    Prior to upgrades, annual consumption averaged 36,000 kWh per hear. Currently, annual is 23,000 kWh/year and dropping as more refinements are made.

    Domestic hot water averages 2.7 kWh/day. Load is primarily 20 min/day of hot showers. Mitigation factors are 1) low flow shower head cut flow in half, 2) washing laundry in cold water, and 3) heat recovery that recovers about 40%. Without heat recovery, you could expect 5 kWh/day. In any case, this is less than 5% of the annual total. At a minimum, people should use low flow shower heads and wash clothing in cold water. Heat recovery should be mandatory for new construction.

    The heat pump in January averages 50 kWh/day to heat the entire house. Everything else averages 20 kWh/day (about 600 kWh base load per month). Even with a heat pump, heating is still the dominate load.

    To achieve the heat pump savings I needed four heads. One in the basement, one in the living room, one in the dining/kitchen area and one in the master bedroom. Other rooms have their doors open and are a few degrees cooler. Two rooms, a bathroom and a small office had fan heaters that only come on to boost the temperature when occupied.

    You have to be careful with heated garages. It is easy for a drafty garage door to keep a 2000 W baseboard heater on all the time. If on continuously, you will burn exactly 45 kWh a day which is enough for a heat pump to heat the whole house. Very few programmable thermostats will allow less than 5C. What you really want is freeze protection, and the ability to warm it up quickly for the rare time you are working in there during the winter.

    HRV usage is not needed in many cases. Get a real time Radon detector (some libraries outside Newfoundland have them to borrow) to rule out dangerous levels of radioactivity in the basement. If levels are high, install sub slab depressurization or run the HRV all the time. If your level are under control (say 60 Bq) then get a CO2 meter and see if you get above 1000 ppm in Carbon Dioxide. If you seldom get this (stuffy classroom levels), then don't bother with the HRV at all.

    Windows on new homes in this part of the world are not installed correctly. You can improve this by removing the siding and using Dupont flashing tape on the sides and top. You can also use 3M flashing tape to seal the plywood seams. You will probably find rotten plywood too — be prepared for a mess. New windows should be low-e, argon filled, triple glazed. Ideally, we would have no windows on the north face of homes.

    Consider vacuuming out the attic insulation. Then you can air seal dozens of large holes with a foam gun, and reinstall as much insulation as can fit.

    Here are some individual numbers that were measured with accurate energy meters over long periods of time, numbers are kWh/day:

    2 Upright frost free deep freeze
    2.2 Plasma TV, sound bar, PVR 4 hrs a day
    4.5 LED lighting
    1 Oven (home made bread, meals cooked from scratch)
    0.7 Dryer (outside when sunny)
    1.8 large kitchen fridge, side by side with ice maker
    0.7 Mini fridge
    0.5 HRV 4 hours per day
    0.25 Radon Fan

    As you can see, heating is the only thing that really matters. You need ductless heating with multiple heads and to go lengths to ensure the baseboard heat supplements it only when and when necessary.

    • All very well if you own a home, which requires an income level in excess of $60K to finance. What about those families with prospects of half that? Consider a 2 bedroom apartment in a 1970s low energy efficient building. What are the parameters for new tech re-engineering, off grid and renewable options? Preferred building clusters, District Heating?

    • Robert,
      We could have had a municipal incinerator in Robin Hood Bay that produced electricity and hot water for district heating. That would require some city planning though.

      The solution for a 2 bedroom apartment is new exterior insulation om the building, new windows and ductless heat pump heads in main living area. Landlords however don't care so it won't happen. No tenant is going to upgrade a landlord's property.

      One solution is for the City to organize the construction of affordable apartment buildings with utilities included. That would put enormous pressure on existing slum landlords because their units would soon be vacant.

      We also have a problem with the homeless. I hear there of lines of people waiting for shopping malls to open after spending the night in the car, people hiding in the bowels of the arts and culture center or under the stair ways of government buildings, living under overpasses. Many children eat breakfast via school programs because there is no food at home. I hear stories from social workers and security guards who cry while telling them.

    • Anon 11:53 Good observations. I suggest we all should read; "Small Cities, Big Issues, Re-conceiving Community in a Neoliberal Era", Walmsley, Kading, AU Press. Part II, Building Community lays out criteria which would directly benefit St. Johns, and other small cities in Canada. The Toryisms of Trickle Down will not get us onwards. That includes the Ball Liberals, who appear to be Tories in drag. By the way, a municipal incinerator district heat, (CHP), is not the preferred technology. Solar Hot water, best. Think Kent's Pond area, Quida Vida, Munday Pond, Leary's Brook, ground water sourcing

  24. Winston, Engineers of our vintage, were required to serve under the "tell it like it is" mantra. It seemed to serve Society well at the time, and through our career lives. Virtue was and is truth in real life terms. Churchill, in times of war said "truth is such a precious commodity it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies". We all seem to be in a state of perpetual war, with the threat to humanity warlord in the White House, running amok. Engineers of virtue are accountable.

  25. The electrification of oil heating buildings is often a bad idea. Consider:

    1) Fortis will not allow huge loads on single phase systems. You generally need 600 volt three phase service. Fortis expects to be paid for running new lines. Often a single phase feeds the buildings and it can be quite a way (blocks or even miles) to the nearest three phase line.

    2) New electrical switch gear and step down transformer in the building is required. This can easily cost $100,000.

    3) If the system is oil fired hot water, then a separate service can be installed to feed a electric single boiler. This is probably the only cheap way to do electric heat. If you install electric baseboard in all rooms, add a DDC system (computer to control everything including thermostats and remote relays), a new service entrance, new distribution wiring to sub panels, deal with asbestos mitigation etc. then easy to spend 2 million on a larger building.

    4) These new systems are adding load that wasn't planned for when the wires were run. Sometimes there are community capacity issues. Given the Muskrat falls unreliability and age of Holyrood thermal, we should not be adding load for the sake of using more electricity.

    Air-to-Water heating or geothermal would be better than baseboard, but the problem is again that is extremely expensive to retrofit. It would be easier to ring the buildings with multisplits (8 heads per outdoor unit), or have one per room like many motels do.

    Part of the driving force behind this is some partial funding from the Federal Government as part of the low carbon energy fund. From their perspective, CO2 is evil and anything we can do to generate less is good. Therefore, spending millions to demolish perfectly functional oil heating systems is worth it no matter what it costs. Since MF power is "green" (aside from North Spur, mercury, embodied energy in the concrete and the crippling debt) there is no reason to reduce clean energy consumption.

    If I had any power, I would only upgrade public buildings that were likely to be needed 20 years from now. They would get exterior insulation, air sealing, new windows and if practical, ductless heat pumps. In some cases, the ductless units could be pre-heat coils for the fresh air. I would upgrade the burners on oil systems to improve efficiency and update the control systems.

    There is no real planning in Government. Decisions are always political, the decision makers are often unqualified political animals and the people actually implementing these decisions have no input in to the decision making process.

  26. Nalcor and Hydro will not take action to clean up their own house. They can’t make a business decision period, let alone one that will upset a colleague. They live by a mantra thats how its done and how its always been done. Translation: We have no idea how or why we do things.

    A Corporation built on nepotism and misogyny. enitre families work together and cover mistakes and decisions. Women paid less for equal work. Built in policies in this company to keep women back. most of them quit that dont work for HR. As a Crown Corp it basically has zero direction from government, rubber stamp direction.

    The only way to bring change is to drive change with real direction. real leadership that forces order and doesnt take no or laziness for an answer.

    feelings need to be hurt. severance paid. real life and real business decisions need to be made. inaction is delaying the correction. its solidifying failure.


    VPs and Directors that fail need to leave. Good bye. too bad so sad sorry not sorry

    • Ball "fixed" the Carla Foote problem (grossly unqualified crony, daughter of politician, getting a high paying job without competition).

      Dwight Ball fixed it by appointing Carla to another job, as assistant deputy minister, (without competition) with a slightly smaller high salary.

      No crown corporation nor government agency will fix itself. The whole system is beyond repair and needs to be destroyed. A federal commission of government may be the ticket to tear down the corrupt mess.

      ADMs are supposed to be good – they usually run the departments under them. The department she now oversees with her two year diploma – Public Engagement aka Ministry of Truth only has a dozen people. That entire department could be eliminated.

      Nalcor just let go a PR person with a half millon dollar present in lieu of notice. Why not give notice instead? If notice doesn't make a difference in the payout, why mention it at all? Why do these corrupt contracts that grossly abuse the public purse exist?

      They exist because we are ruled by mafia families.

    • I suppose if the 5 or 6 elites I named a few months ago, if I called them mafia families it would be considered offensive, and not permissible, so I called them elites and no one contradicted me that they were elites. Many say elites are running and ruining the province, but never name the elites.
      I guess you can be an elite and not be mafia.
      Should the elite power brokers not be named and in some case shamed?
      Winston Adams

  27. Some background first;

    Heating is one of our largest expenses. The physics are simple: Heat loss depends on the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the insulation in the walls and surface area. If outdoor is -10 and indoor is +20, then you have 30 degrees of difference. If you multiply that by the insulation value and wall area, you get watts. This must come from your heater.

    There is also the loss from ventilation, but this can be minimized by energy recovery ventilators.

    A typical wall has R20 insulation in it, so the total insulation value is the drywall + insulation + sheathing + siding minus what goes directly through the studs. The end result is vastly better than windows, which are generally horrible. South windows get enough sun to justify their existence, north windows are terrible. East/West breaks about even energy wise.

    Back to the problem: Many people in Newfoundland are low income, retired or renting. There is nothing they can do to their homes to reduce the energy bill other than suffering in the cold. Landlords aren't going to do anything unless renters move out. If you have occupancy, why would you spend money on a heat pump?

    Potential solution: The City or non-profit organization starts building apartments. For example, a two story row of two bedroom apartments, oriented south, with a northern corridor. It could have a lounge area and a sun room common area at its edges. The construction goal is to be able to rent them at $1000/month utilities included. All units identical, no elevators to save on the service contracts, lower level wheel chair accessible, tile floors and a nice modern layout.

    Would people care if those on income support where moved in? Would they all socialize and become friends? Could the organization fight against all the business interests that were harmed (e.g. wealthy landlords)?

    The actual engineering/architecture is easy. The problem is always money. Decent people don't have the funds, and this with enormous riches tend to be sociopaths. I have no doubt that if I was to build such as place, it would be full in no time.

    A for some of the more practical aspects: crown land is everywhere — perhaps the org would have to be a municipality with a plan in order to get free land. Electricity could be metered with an allotment sufficient for a temperature set at 23 C per unit, and excess could be billed. Same for water usage. Units could be single floor — slightly less efficient but no having to move the elderly because of the lack of elevators. Reinforced drywall and tile floors could make the dwellings indestructible. Siding could be practical, but homely, metal siding. This would be offset with landscaping. From there it is endless — they could negotiate internet connectivity and redistribute (wireless) so that basic connectivity was in the rent.

    This kind of thing is impossible until people band together and start doing things. The possibilities are endless, the engineering and technical skills are here, we just need to organize.

    Anyone watch It's A Wonderful Life? We are in the alternate reality where George Bailey never existed. Instead we have Danny running the place.

  28. There was a lot of time and money invested in reports and inquiries for the sake of trying to demonstrate to other provinces that we need federal money. More efforts put into preparing for a grand solution instead of spending those months and years actually making changes in direction to try and avoid a great problem. Four years of increased spending in government and crown corps does not shown urgency. They showed urgency in creating a paper trail of support to help them beg
    Handout Newfoundland. Good to see we’ve progressed so far since Confederation.

    • Not sure how well it will play out for the other nine provinces when the province with the highest per capita income gets a top-up from Feds to help pay down our boondoggle. $200 million for next 50 years comes in at $10 billion. That could add up to a new subway line in TO, fast train between Montreal and Quebec City, NB electricity bills for a long time, fixing up a little pollution problem with pulp mill in NS, hell it could pay for a satellite launch site in Saskatchewan. But instead it will go to helping a bunch of "world class" bumpkins that blew all the offshore money. I don't think Trudeau is that dumb. We'se gonna be plucked like a piece of Mary Brown's chicken.

  29. VOCM and CBC saying the big Mitigation Plan from the Feds is happening at the Signal Hill Campus tomorrow at 2, with media briefing at 1.
    Recall, is this not the EMERA Innovation Building, that they purchased the name for 7 million, part of the MFs involvement and with MUN?
    Is there a conspiracy with Media and Govn not to use the name EMERA and call it the Signal Hill Campus, perhaps ashamed of the EMERA name here?
    So tomporrow at this very time I am supposed to be at Halifax, with a cancer expert for a Plan of Care for troublesome new tumors in my wife's abdomen, in the lining, a very big deal, and now waiting over 2 month for this consultation. I am be out of bed at 2 am leave here at 3 for a flight at 5.
    I just tell my wife I may have to cancel that and be here for this announcement happening at this very same time of the consultation in Halifax.
    She laughs, saying "do you want me to shot my shoe at you"?
    You would think Ball would have consulted with me, to postpone this Mitigation for one more day, when I'd be back? Seems tumor mitigation must take priority, or I'll be in the doghouse.
    I hope for good news tomorrow on all types of mitigation. I see from CBC that Ches and Coffin has no Plans how to mitigate, the 200-400 million shortfall.
    Are both Coffin and Ches clueless how to mitigate? What do you get when you put Ches with a Coffin? A lost cause? Is there a saint for that ?
    Winston Adams

    • Can Coffin, an economist do arithmetic? She say with a 200 million shortfall the power bill will have to increase "to a slightly higher rate than 13. 5 cents /kwh "
      Nfld Hydro says ,if I recall correctly, that for every 66 million in revenue needed it adds 1 cent to rates. That equates to a rate for 3 cents more, so 16.5 cents instead of 13.5 . Is that a slightly higher rate or a much higher rate for the average Joe?
      Ches says a 75 % rate increase would flatten our economy, as most people are at the edge of their budgets now. Coffin says people are going to have to cut back on their groceries , or their leisure goods , or their cars. We see anon today above on UG cutting back on his power bill by 36%! And is cutting on leisure goods a big deal? And is our cars not too big and too inefficient, many with pickup trucks for leisure use. There may be a silver lining in the sky tomorrow, the sky may not fall. Time will tell.

    • Now consider:
      Anon above who upgrades his house had a bill of $5050 a year, and cut it by 36 %.
      If rates go up by 75 % as Ches says, that $5050 would be $8837 a year, if he didn't do his upgrades.
      But with his upgrades that $8837 is only $ 5656 per year, a mere $656 more, a net increase of 12 % not 75 % as others will suffer who did not do upgrades.
      Since anon, is using 18C nite time set back, he is driving his minisplits into overdrive and an inefficient mode for a couple of hours each morning. If he used only 1 degree setback his units will run more efficiently and likely save THAT 12 % SO THAT A 75 % RATE INCREASE ONLY INCREASED HIS POWER BILL zero percent.
      Now that is power bill mitigation, negating power rate increases via customer EFFICIENCY. Is the arithmetic correct?
      Winston Adams

    • So does this rate mitigation plan also include a buy-back for the multitudes who needlessly blew thousand$ upon thousand$ of dollar$ installing mini-split heat pumps and similar exotic contraptions out of an irrational fear that their electricity rates would double?