Monday, 2 October 2017

NALCOR MEDDLING A THREAT TO MUSKRAT INQUIRY

If this were a different time, we would wonder why the Premier chose a Liberal Party fundraiser to announce that he will now call a Judicial Inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project - the very people the $12.7 billion "boondoggle" will least affect.

If this were a different time, we would wonder why he chose to disclose one of the most important initiatives of his Administration to this group of peddlers, contractors and compradors that hung on Danny Williams’ coattails. 
If this were a different time, we might ask the Premier to share his moment of conversion and what inspired him to do an about face.  
However, while those things niggle at our sensibilities, none constitutes the real issue. The larger object of our focus, now, must be getting the right inquiry.   


But first it is right to acknowledge the Anonymous Engineer whose statement, eight months ago on this Blog read: “I could not put up with falsifying information any more”. The former Nalcor engineer was speaking in reference to Nalcor’s fiddling with the project estimates and the budget. He cracked open the wall of deceit which the crown corporation had kept hidden until then. 
The Telegram’s James MacLeod should be recognized, too, for his story regarding Nalcor’s excessive use of hundreds of high-priced “embedded contractors” and the secrecy afforded their huge pay packets by Nalcor, which added fuel to the fire — winning the Premier’s attention.
That said, I can think of four conditions precedent that will help make the Inquiry an important and effective process; one that history will confirm as fair, having been conducted thoroughly and with the employment of due process.
First, the Premier must give his assurance he will not involve senior officials of Nalcor in the drafting of the Inquiry’s mandate.

That will not be easy. The Inquiry represents a threat to many who believe that they are impervious. They will not relinquish those protections easily.

Second, the Inquiry must be conducted under the Public Inquiries Act.
It is this Statute that enables a Judge or other Commissioner to issue subpoenas and to have witnesses examined under Oath. 
Third, the Inquiry must be given the widest possible mandate.
On the one hand, its specificity must be precise enough that the presiding Judge does not get to omit consideration of critical issues.

On the other, the Inquiry’s mandate must not be restricted in a way that allows the proceedings to be disrupted with legal claims that matters raised are outside the Inquiry’s mandate.
In short, if the Premier’s intentions are honourable, he will ensure that the Terms of Reference are all-encompassing.
The Inquiry should be permitted to immediately secure documents filed on Nalcor’s and the Government’s computers (or elsewhere) so that they are not lost… or wilfully destroyed.
The timeline of the investigation is important, too. 
It must start at the very beginning — with the involvement of SNC Lavalin in 2006, when the Company was given the task of front-end engineering and the financial strategy to secure its development, SNC having later secured the EPCM contract.
It must be permitted to conduct a Forensic Audit, the Judge having sole authority to define the scope of the Audit.

The Inquiry will have a good many issues to assess. 
In this respect, the public should bear in mind that every single assumption — without exception — underpinning the Muskrat Falls project has been debunked. 

The level of falsity has extended well beyond the project budget and cost estimates. The issues run from the excessive value given to export power, to the forecasts that presaged growth in electricity demand on the island that were wrong from the get-go. Then there is Nalcor’s unbridled prediction about the price of oil.
Those issues, and how they were contrived, are individually important. But they also relate to how Nalcor falsely concluded that the “inter-connected” option had an advantage over the “isolated island” option by $2.4 billion.

The Inquiry will need to assess whether the giveaways to Nova Scotia were warranted, and why Nalcor proceeded with construction when the Nova Scotia UARB had not signed off on the deal which Nalcor and Emera had negotiated — leading to a supplemental agreement and more giveaways.

Then there is the North Spur stability problem, methylmercury, and Nalcor’s charade — one that continues — over the Water Management Agreement (essential to coordinate production from two or more hydro dams on the same river) which the Quebec Superior Court effectively struck down.

Add to those matters the status of the Holyrood Generating Station, whose certain decommissioning was heralded by Nalcor — and certain Premiers — as justification for the province to proceed even without the Federal Loan Guarantee. Now, at the urging of the Liberty Group, even Holyrood must be maintained as a safeguard against the failure of any part of the 1100 km LIL transmission line — which won’t come for free.
Unwrap any issue upon which the Muskrat Falls project was predicated, and the public will discover a parcel of deceit adding gravitas to the job of the Inquiry.

Hopefully a Judge will perform one other service. He or she might want to relieve the compressed air that has kept aloft the patently untrue — even ludicrous — claim that we were lucky to have been visited by Nalcor’s group of “world class experts”.
While the Judge will want to assess issues related to the falsification of the estimates, no one should doubt that a large part of the current $12.7 billion price tag is due to an unsuitable, incompetent project management team — few of whom can claim experience in hydro project construction.

Apart from any decision to which he might have brought unwarranted influence, the public is due an explanation as to why so many of the assertions made by former Nalcor CEO Ed Martin did not reflect the truth about the financial state of the project and its schedule.
Equally, the public needs to know the origins of the SNC Assessment Report, how it disappeared and reappeared. We need to hear from a Judge the extent to which Nalcor was reckless, having ignored a litany of major risks to the cost and schedule enumerated in the Report’s 24 pages. 

In addition to the deception and any corruption that presaged sanction, the public has a right to know if Nalcor officials conspired in an unsuccessful attempt to influence the outcome of the 2015 General Election.
As anyone can tell, unfettered scope must be the watchwords for how we assess the mandate the Premier delivers to the Inquiry Judge… which leads to the fourth condition precedent.

It goes without saying that an Inquiry involving so many issues, each having enormous complexity, must be given adequate funding and resources. The job will require forensic accountants, qualified engineers and lawyers, and other professionals.
Some people will quibble about the Inquiry’s cost. Everyone should be reminded that, when the final bill for Muskrat comes in, they will begin to see what it means for our economy, as well as the personal cost it represents — for everyone.

They will want to know how this debacle could have ever gotten started, and how they were duped into giving the project their unwitting support.
If corruption is found to have underlain the sanction decision, they will expect the guilty to be brought to justice.

Because the consequences of Muskrat will be so huge, I expect that many will want to use the Inquiry as the basis for a new dialogue on how we must change fundamental aspects of governance in this province.
For now, we should remain sceptical about the Inquiry, and particularly the construction of its mandate. The Premier — not the public — must take responsibility for our doubts as to his sincerity and the fullness of his intentions.

He can still make us believers.
And if he is true to the economic and the moral imperative this Judicial Inquiry represents, then history, too, will reward him for his effort.    

49 comments:

  1. The table has been set, will honourable people come forward and do justice for the propel of this province , or will it be dominated by scroundlers, half wits, and those who would like to sink the inquiry, bring it to disrepute and yes shit on the table. The ocean ranger inquiry was a land mark in our history, although for a different reason, in public inquiries, presided over by a competent and renounced nl judge, will we muster another presider of that stature and integrity to do the people's justice.

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  2. This is a comprehensive list of the essential questions that must be answered to get to the bottom of the MF debacle. Congratulations on this assessment of the questions that must be answered.

    The problem of course is that this would require the NL government to turn on a dime and become instantly virtuous and investigate everything they have to date ignored or been complicitous with in the rate/taxpayer deception.

    Is this a reasonable assumption especially given the politically muddied inquiries recently? You place hope on Dwight Ball becoming a visionary leader acting in the taxpayers interest. Sorry but Dwight made the announcement at a partisan event, not to the media, where many of these questions could have been asked. Does that not worry you about the underlying purpose of this "inquiry"?

    This wish list just runs so counter the actions of this and previous governments that the wish to fully investigate MF seems not to be in the playbook. How will the concerns outlined here translate into Dwight's secret advise on drafting the terms of reference?

    Now is not the time to be hopeful or complacent. Now is the time to demand that the Nalcor secrecy be smashed. A forensic audit is essential as a first step to frame the issues. Trust in flawed leaders must be replaced with transparency if any meaningful answers are to emerge from what to date is partisan buffoonery.

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  3. First of all let me say this inquiry will be a waste of money because of the following:
    1 There will not be any criminal charges laid.
    2 The inquiry will not have the power to force people such as
    Williams, Dunderdale, Kennedy and Marshal to answer questions.
    3 Ed martin will not answer to this inquiry and neither will Stan
    Marshall.
    4 There will not be a forensic audit to determine where all the money went.
    5 None of the money will be paid back.
    6 Such things as contracts and contract workers will hide behind the
    confidentiality laws-laws that will not be changed to once and for
    all prevent this type of secrecy from preventing governments
    releasing information to ensure a much needed democratic, free and
    open process will be in place for the future projects.
    7 The province is already on the hook for the $12.7 Billion owed due
    to this project so nothing is going to change that.
    8 In order for to prevent this Boondoggle from repeating itself in
    the future the system of government has to change and that isn’t
    going to happen while we have three parties with vested interests
    in more projects, more spending and more high priced construction
    jobs to elect them in the future.

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    Replies
    1. This person gets it, no one will be held to account for this god forsaken mess.

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    2. Agreed, but they should be, as well as publicly shamed and taunted. I truly hope they cant sleep at night and karma rears her ugly head. :(

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    3. Yes, I agree, when someone does a crime, hit and run, thief, hold up, murder, bankrupt a province, " let them go free", not worth the while to bring about justice to the incident, who cares, cost to much, too big a mess, can't recover any money, the hell with it. And we will call it the New Justice system.

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    4. I would have to agree with Anom at 09:50. Nothing will ever come out of an inquiry. Just look at the business community past February when Danny Williams gave his speech. Not a word of dissent or criticism.

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    5. What I find particularly galling is the fact that contract employees can hide behind confidentiality laws but yet we had the likes of Richard Alexander, one of the biggest cheerleaders of this Boondoggle, fighting tooth and nail to have the salaries of all civil servants publish like a public shaming exercise.

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    6. Anony @ 19:00:

      I will offer you a few details as to why I would also argue confidentially wrt to the 'embedded contractors' salaries, I will also try to clarify a few items as there is some confusion in the media and I will explain that this is probably the 1 time MF management has done that has been cost effective.

      1) about 5-10% of the persons driving Nalcor LCP trucks are actual permanent staff at Nalcor; I don't have a tally but 450-500 could be about right
      2) all embedded contractors are sourced through recruiting agencies, even the so-call 1-person corporations; the listing of recruiting agencies and their usage has been posted on Nalcor LCP website for several years
      3) review Nalcor Atippa releases #377 and #420---the number of contractors by position, recruiting agency and some valuable info on base rates is already posted. These 2 request date back over 1 year ago, so there is good info available.

      For wage payments to the contractor, the recruiting company invoices a base rate---out of this the recruiting company deducts applicable taxes/CPP/EI etc and a profit margin, the remaining amount is what the contractor see as his hourly wage. The vast majority of these contractors work on average 2500-2800hrs/yr in a shift schedule based on 10hrs/day(eg a 21-7 shift is 2750hrs/yr).

      Considering Engineers, the min-max day rate range is $432-$1599 as per #320, or a max of $160/hr---this is what the recruiting company invoices, the Engineer at $1599/day would have a hourly wage of about $120/hr. That same Engineer (assuming 25yrs experience or so) according to the PEGNL salary report would have a salary of about $150k, or about $75/hr assuming a 2080hr work year(assume office work) as a consultant etc. and would likely be booked out at about $200/hr in private practice.

      So, there are 2 reasons for the extra $50/hr paid to a contractor, a complete lack of benefits (as a corporation I pay my own RRSP, health, and for an accountant to do my taxes), and the MF project is short term work---I would be willing to reduce my wage demand if I had a permanent position at Nalcor and go under the Hay scale for sure.

      In the end, I would offer the contractor makes more personally but has more responsibility with his charged money and also costs less to Nalcor LCP than if these positions were farmed from various consulting companies. Granted, there are some Engineers farmed from consultants and their charge rate is unbelievable for what they offer---most of the charge rate is going to the companies profits.

      Now the why Nalcor LCP didn’t hire directly is liability, salary and cost---if Nalcor LCP came to me and offered the Hay scale for 4-5yrs of work, it wouldn’t make sense since I wouldn’t be able to avail of pension plans etc. For the liability I am not sure for 5-7yrs work it would make sense for Nalcor to take on professional positions like these, I wont comment on other positions as I don't have the knowledge to comment.

      Whether or not it is right, I wont comment; but Hibernia, Hebron, Long Harbour, Voisey’s, IOCC all use this model to a great extent for expansion/construction needs.

      Why it is confidential is there could be a AMEC/Stantec invoiced rate being released and my employment contract with my recruiting company does specify that my remuneration is confidential---not uncommon for professional positions.

      PENG2

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    7. Yes peng2, make it sound so complicated, professional, high quality, like a tic tac toe operation that is highly operational, efficient, and works like a well oiled machine to the average joe. But if that were so why is it some three years behind schedule, and more than double the cost, and all the time leading to the bankruptcy of a small, poor province. Seems more like the Yukon gold rush of a 100 years ago, get all you can by any means possible, while the gettins good, and the devil take the hind most. And you are are not working for Exxon mobile, val, stat oil, and the other multi national conglamorates of the world, that have their methods of operation, compared to them, muskrat is more like a mom and pop shop operation, because it is public money you are using, competing for the same dollar, as the person on a fixed income, minimum wage person, and dollars for health care and the elderly.... Get a grip by'...

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    8. And who signs the timesheet? a senior staff employee? or just another personal services contractor? This "Cost Plus" arrangement certainly has contributed to project over-run, as the schedule has slipped substantially. The overall project scope really has not changed that much, but the professional services component, (You get what you pay for idea), seems to have substantially gone way out of line with productivity, quality, etc. Where there is deviation from competitive bidding, one has to be vigilant where the public purse is involved. Keeping it all "secretive because of contract language stuff", is a problem. Cold light of day is needed.

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    9. Robert:

      My invoice for professional services is approved by 2 levels within Nalcor LCP and 1 level of HR/accounting within Nalcor corporate (others are similar, I approve for those under me and then more sigs above me). Similar to any invoices I approve for subcontractor work---at the end there is a Nalcor corporate sig on the invoice prior to payment, granted I do approve the payment on a project level.


      Anony @ 20:48:

      Not sure what is complicated.... If you got a question or if I left out something let me know. Behind schedule and over cost is a different issue with different causation---that is lack of proper engineering, lack of ability by construction contractors and a project that should have never been sanctioned because it was a poor choice.

      In all my postings, I never said it was well orchestrated---just that in this case of 'embedded contractors' it was cheaper. please review my previous comments for my view points and cite correctly.

      PENG2

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    10. Really can't debate the finer details with you peng2 as you work with it daily and as I said I am just the average joe. So as you suggested guess my beef is mainly with NALCOR and the government. But to me there should always be a distinction between big oil companies with their private money and projects funded by public money. We the people cannot compete with those big companies. Guess that's where NALCOR went astray, thinking they were in the big league, using our money. Now in this province there are no mega projects left, so those contractors that want to work for big money will have to go elsewhere, unless they want to do heating remos on the average home owner in converting to alternate or cheaper heating, like heat pumps. But know the attitude is get all we can before muskrat is shut down, or completed, including recruiting agencies. And the saddest part is if completed we still have a white elephant, and saddled with 15$ billion to repay.

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    11. And while Hebron engineers operated with pay packets through agencies, most all for the past year or more have big roll backs in their contracts , never heard this happening with Nalcor pay packets through agencies, and some Nalcor people getting bonuses........pray tell, why!
      PF

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    12. Sorry Peng2 but you are one of the ones hiding behind these laws. It is quite simple. The hourly rate, per diem or what ever rate paid to a contract person for work done is up for public scrutiny on a public funded project. The argument about Hebron or other private companies doesn't hold water since that contract wouldn't be part of the published data--if you don't want that to be made public then I guess you can't work on public projects.

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    13. Peng2, You and your recruiting agent, often the same person, it would appear can agree to whatever you choose. You can agree the moon is made of blue cheese. That does not make it correct or justifiable legally or morally.

      This is the largest capital project in NL's history. It is late and way over budget. It has been marred by grievous engineering failures. There is absolute secrecy on the spur engineering from Nalcor despite world experts stating they used the wrong methodology in assessing risk of failure.

      Despite this you feel your confidentiality agreement with your agent (or yourself) trumps the public right to know where their money is going? Really? Give yourself a shake and do what is expected in democracy. A little transparency please.

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    14. Single people incorporating, does so usually for income splitting reasons, can pay part to a spouse or close relative, and keeps income taxes lower and so benefits by keeping more in the family, (called sprinkling)as opposed to getting a high pay cheque and higher taxes. Doctors and dentists are doing this big time and engineers doing likewise. It is unfair to the average worker and is what the feds are trying to correct for fairness, and this method penalizes the average person..........loopholes.........that they want to keep secret. And the owners of these hiring agencies add on their big margin, so costs go up, but they make a windfall. And accounting firms who promote these schemes are defenders of it, as good for their business.
      As Trump bragged, he is very smart not to pay tax, he has the best accounting firms who know the tax code better than the tax department. So everyone wants to be smart like that........nothing wrong with it says Stan Marshall...........but hey.keep the details secret!
      PF

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    15. Anony @ 15:29:
      I am not sure why people say the rates are secret---they are already posted as a response to an ATIPPA request, all that is missing is attaching PENG2's name to a specific charge rate and what his recruiting company is taking as a cut.

      Anony @ 11:13:
      For those working Nalcor LCP, there have been some claw backs---raises haven't been offered in my 5yrs here, I do believe Nalcor corporate is continuing raises and know they grant bonuses.

      Anony @ 13:28:
      I don't think I am hiding behind anything---I entered a personal services contract in accordance with the rules/laws. The reason I need to keep my charge rate separate is for competitive reasons with the other engineering companies I compete with. I do have other clients and bid other work, publishing my rate table would effectively shut me down and put 5-6 other 'regular workers' out of a job.

      Bruno:
      The list of recruiting agencies is already on Nalcors website, if you are implying someone is working at MF and not sourced via a recruiting agency you are incorrect, I don't know of any of those recruiters working at MF. If you read the ATIPPA release you can see that my base rate is between $43/hr and $160/hr, the piece of info you don't have access to is where I am too in that range, though I am not sure why it would matter.


      I stand by my original comment that it is likely a cheaper option for Nalcor to source technical labour this way---particularly for specialists. My current base rate charged to Nalcor via my recruiter is less that I was charged out at working for a large engineering company 15yrs ago, and its due to Nalcor not having to pay the fig that large corporations charge for their indirects.

      PENG2

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    16. Here is a quote from CBC's interview with Stan Marshall-CEO of Nalcor:
      "He acknowledged that hiring people that way provides no particular benefit to Nalcor. But there are potential tax and other advantages to those on the other side of such arrangements."

      PENG2: It seems that you are at odds with the CEO of Nalcor. The arrangement only benefits the receiving end of the contract and NOT the Public owned energy company. Trying to justify secrecy by some obscure theory of needing to keep your rate competitive is a down right fallacy and this is being done for tax purposes and Tax purposes only and I might add this is just the type of arrogance that is displayed daily from the business community in NL. They want to burn both ends of the stick with all the benefits of a government project but none of the scrutiny that is normal in a
      most democracy.

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    17. I know a tradesman that worked at MF site and said he never saw such a mismanaged large project before, lots of Nalcor white hats, things proceeding on a trail and error basis, and he was recently called back for there again and refused to go.
      Doubt if the upper Churchill was managed that way. Seems a endless money pit PENG2.........and for what end if the demand drops over the cliff and the province near bankrupt. I see those towers just outside St johns, and I think.....boy, doubt they will stand up to our harsh weather. And if they do, not enough power demand to justify it. A hard spot, even for you, knowing the project was a dud.
      New, add to that, new housing starts in much of Nfld dropped off 75 percent over the last two years, and with some old houses closing........demand for power must drop even before prices rise.

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    18. Anony @ 19:03:
      You are correct---Marshall is wrong when you look at that quote in isolation. But, he also said that it was common to source specialized resources in this manner within short term project work; also he said confidentiality was justified.
      Google search 'why source contracted labour', there are several renown articles that explain the benefits of this arrangement for short term work. also, read the related article in The Telegram for more background on Marshall's comments.
      Going forward, don't take 1 sentence of a 15min interview without placing it in context.

      Anony @ 19:06:
      I agree. I have a code of ethics and brought my skill set here to try and fix issues, impossible to practice responsibly and ethically

      PENG2

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    19. Anony @ 19:03:
      check out:
      https://nalcorenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/HAY-Listing.pdf

      It shows the pay scales for various Nalcor/Hydro positions, granted its 2015. If you take the highest Engineering Manager listed, his hourly wage is about $85/hr exclusive of benefits based on the 37.5hr work week.

      Compare this to the highest paid contracted engineer at MF whose recruiting company got $160/hr, there isn't much difference and probably like I said cheaper to Nalcor for the contractor.

      PENG2

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    20. PEG2, You ramble without answering the questions. Why are ALL the contractors wages notpublic on this public project that has had regulatory scrutiny short circuited by design?

      What puts you above scrutiny for your work or wages? How dare you?

      Delete
  4. Winston, you and Russell need to have a conversation;

    http://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/columnists/2017/10/2/russell-wangersky--time-for-a-conversation-about-conservation.html

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  5. As Hiliary would say, there is no such thing as "alternative facts"

    https://thetyee.ca/Presents/2017/10/02/Site-C-Piling-Facts/

    We have but a short window in BC to get this right.

    It's already too late on Muskrat. The protected contracts with the overpaid privileged "professionals" will continue to start up and beyond.

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    Replies
    1. This is a very good call to arms Robert. The public, I'm sure will respond. Will the BCUC act on the evidence and bust the SNC swindle?

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    2. Time will tell. The lobby to continue is strong. Just like Muskrat.

      I do not expect much from the Ball inquiry. Williams and Dunderdale were not re-elected, or slipped out of office. Ball too will vacate, and another regime will perpetuate. Citizens must demand more and better of their governments.

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  6. The answer to UG's first three questions is political timing/desperation. Ball chose to do it now in an attempt to save his leadership and the Liberals hold on power. The results of this inquiry should be coming out shortly before the next general election. Happy that it is proceeding however I suspect it is just a political move to discredit the PCs and save his political butt and not to find real answers, hold anyone accountable, or to get recommendations and enact changes that would prevent it from happening again.

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  7. No one will be coming out clean on this one. The PC's started and cheerlead the boondoggle and the Liberals continued it, when it should have been stopped. It is now a politically benign no win situation for all responsible for its delivery. And the NDP is 'no damn possibility' for election.

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  8. This is more than a 15$ billion political football, this is the very existence of a solvent province. Always said we as a people are too political to govern ourselves, most will tie their aligance toa political party before their province. So we get what we deserve.




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  9. This Inquiry is a "must" to determine the motive of the individuls responsible for such a financial disaster. In fact there was never a business case for this Project. Giving free Power to Nova Scotia was a clear sign that there was indeed no market for such expensive power.Plus underhanded legislation passed forcing the captive rate payers to "take or pay' at any rate MF may cost to generate and transmit is abuse of democracy. I do hope, that this inquiry recommend repealing of this non sense act.
    Madan Rana

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  10. This is interesting. A better and cheaper way to drill Geothermal well holes. Just think about how inexpensive this form of heating will be by the time Muskrat Falls is on the grid
    https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/geothermal/lightning-shatters-rock-unleashing-massive-potential-for-20171002

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    Replies
    1. Yes, in the same issue, Mount Pearl or MUN could be converted to geothermal;

      https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/geothermal/first-fully-geothermal-community-in-us-located-20170920

      I bet NALCOR is feeling the "heat"

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    2. It is unreal how we have been duped.

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    3. The technology in this article would revolutionize the heating and cooling industry here in NL. Wonder if it can be bought to start a business?

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    4. I do believe that this will revolutionize the drilling industry-especially in a place like Nl where we have mining and a dire need for a very efficient Geo Thermal system.

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  11. Question # 1 for DW - Did you fail as NLs leader by limiting the terms of reference for the PUB? Why did you change the law to have Nalcor lose its utility title and did you fail in your fiduciary duty by only appointing 5/13 Nalcor Board of Directors and hiring Ed and Gill, neither of whom have any hydro experience. Why did you retire after signing the MOU with Emera and was Dunderdale left uncontested so your project would go through regardless? Did you and your Party intentionally mislead the public with ludicrously low balled estimates of $6.2B as of DG2 and a time frame of 2017?

    60% of the power demand is from residents so when Nalcor projected oil was going to remain over $100/bbl for 57 years straight was price elasticity calculated into the demand forecast? 7600 GWH to 10500 GWH is quite the leap in demand from 2010 to 2041, most homes have already converted to electric baseboard heating by the 90s.

    Did the demand forecast use 1960-1990, the greatest growth in electricity as a plug number to expropriate future demand? 1995-2005 would've been a far fairer and realistic time period to base future energy needs off of.

    Hope NL media members and Wade Locke also have to take the stand to justify their stances on MF. Both failed in their duty to protect the public from financial ruin and never questioned the information Gov was giving them on MF.

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  12. It`s been a rough day.
    I awake hearing about the shooting in Las Vegas, but paid little attention initially ( so read UG and comments).
    By days end, I imagined July 1,1916, like this Vegas event, but 5 times or more worse.......machine guns, all over in 30 minutes, Our BOYS with single shot rifles and not a single shot fired at Germans......a slaughter, but our BOYS still heralded for obeying orders and a NOBLE march......... even had to march slowly, couldn`t even run.
    This today sidetracked any update on the Puerto Rico situation with 95 percent power still out.
    Las Vegas event; due to Amendment 2 of the Constitution , the right to bare arms, citizens with machine guns. Trump loves Amendment 2
    Then there was Roberts Holmes mention of Russells piece at the Telegram: Time for a conversation about conservation. Russell actually used the words `energy efficient`, and `price elasticity`.
    MUN being energy efficient is like Wade Locke being a world class economist. This Honeywell contract is the showcase event for Efficiency Week..........but MUN is not much different from the American bases built in the 1940s.........central plant.......oil fired........but hot water instead of steam.......hardly a LEEDS standard. But still.......his point being that efficiency more than pays for itself.
    I rate Russell`s piece a D, a mere pass. Probably should be a fail, a E for effort, but, hey , I like Russell`s writing more than dislike it. Russell can do much better.......He needs to brush up on the subject, if conservation here is going to take off like a forest fire, making their own winds and weather........
    We celebrate this week 25 years of failure by our government and power companies (and main media)...........25 YEARS OF FAILURE and and Russell says its time for a conversation!
    The right time was 10 year ago, so that the self generated `winds and weather` from customer efficiency and conservation would have smothered Muskrat. It is late Russell, after 12.7 Billion or more on the boondoggle.
    So the Conservation and Efficiency is still like a underground fire that smolders for decades, waiting for oxygen to break out.
    Russell speaks softly on this topic.........he needs to huff and puff.......ask why we have no Efficiency NL corporation with teeth like Nova Scotia (Russell`s home province, I believe).
    Then there is the `Mud Lake Independent report` released today. What a piece of crap. Either I am losing it, or we have more of the same.......the Nalcor piper calling the tune, as they have always done.
    Other MUN staff who feel Nalcor is at fault, will likely see this report for what it is ........BS. A failing grade, A `F`
    At least Russell gets a pass........and look forward to his getting an A ........., on future pieces, eventually.
    A rough day!
    Winston Adams


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  13. Seems Robert Way, with PHD, is not in agreement with finding no fault with Nalcor on the MUD lake flood, according to the Telegram story. PF

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  14. As electric heating energy use was the big issue for promoting the need for Muskrat, and the high cost a detriment as to Muskrat due to elasticity issue ( related to savings for alternatives to baseboard heaters), here is my monitoring update, a 6 months period. This is a minisplit heatpump that uses electricity but very much more efficient than baseboard heaters, As even Russell at the Telegram realizes. This external component is attic mounted, a best practice for many reasons.
    For April to Sept, the kwh are:318,230, 162, 87, 66, 82 = 945 kwh for 6 months. Using 10 cents per kwh this is $94.50, HST not included.

    It sees likely that a full year will not exceed 300.00. Previous, less acturate monitoring, showed a yearly consumption of 268.00 tax not included. The present monitoring records the energy being used very 6 second intervals and also totals the use, hourly, daily , monthly. The temperature is maintained and no night set back is used. The temperature at 23C when colder outdoors, and 21C when warmer.
    Attic temperature has gone to 100F,on hot days, but drops about 5F when running, and unit can operate up to attic of 115F, so air conditioning also functions fine for our climate. AC was needed only about 15 days total for both months of July and Aug, about 4 hours per day, for this house, near the coast.

    This is for 1000 sq ft, includes both heat and air conditioning.
    This unit was installed in 2010. Newer quality units would consume about 20 percent less energy than this one.
    August is the lowest energy use. Sept is lower than July......as ground temperature is warmer, reaching a maximum of about 62F on Sept 2.
    Some heat is needed all 12 months, although not much for July, Aug and Sept. Yet for April to Sept, it is expected it will be about 30 percent of the yearly heat energy needed.
    Winston Adams

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    Replies
    1. Winston, when living in more humid summers in NL, NS and Toronto, we relied on dehumidification, not AC, to achieve some comfort relief. From your experience, what would be the relative electrical costs; AC:Dehumidifier?

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    2. Winston, This story from Bloomberg heralds the dawn of the PV battery storage age. Bloomberg is a business media outlet. the cost for both storage and PV continue to tumble.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-04/dawn-of-solar-age-declared-as-pv-beats-all-other-forms-of-power

      Makes one cringe at the thought of MF power at 60 cents KwH, does it not?

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    3. Bruno, Sask has the highest potential for solar energy based generation. Guess what? The Tories there are still throwing away $$ and jobs on carbon capture at the Boundary Dam site. Can't trust those guys.

      I always thought Nalco engineers read the news, and would supplement Holyrood with obvious choices in RE. Not too bright!

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    4. Robert, the minisplits have a AC or dehumidification mode. AC starts at about 600 watts of energy use and tapers back, the dehumidification is about 300 watts or less and fairly constant. AC brings down the room temperature quicker, and then cycles at reduce energy use than at start up.
      If humidity is very high and the house is not very air tight then dehumidifiaction on longer is probably best, and this produces some AC benefit.
      My unit is rated at 1575w input for heating, and for Ac has not gone above 750 watts, and only for a short time and goes lower.
      Some have questioned attic mounted compressor .....but works fine, but in warmer climates could need a intake modification, if attic is above 115F.
      AC this summer about 10.00 cost,for 1000 sq ft near the coast, for a R2000 4000 sq ft, about 40.00 total over 3 months, for AC for Mount Pearl location,
      Russell mentioned LEDs and minisplits in his piece........LEDs save when outdoors, but indoors is peanuts , .........so chase the big energy wasters : with insulation, good windows, heatpumps, air leakage.....one has to look at the numbers and cost effectiveness, and grid peak demand potential. I tried to communicate with Russell for at least 5 years on energy efficiency issues.......but he is slow to promote the concept.
      I repeat my offer here that he (or Ashley) visit my setup and monitoring.........he declined the offer previously, and Ashley, promised but never follows through.
      As Tom Petty (who passed yesterday) sings: I won`t back down........meaning that I think their (the Telegram`s)poor investigative journalism has ENABLED the boondoggle fiasco.
      If so, will they be testify at the Inquiry!
      Winston.

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    5. Robert, sadly politicians like like large, wasteful projects that generate lots of cash for dispensation as government largesse (to understate the issue). Modular PV rollout does not meet the interests of a four year election cycle.

      The notion of a utility providing a cost effective service has become lost.

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    6. Good stuff, Winston. Can you run dehumidification independent of AC? And would this not provide comfort to your space? I assume you have air distribution throughout your house.

      Maybe you and others can get together with equipment suppliers and do a weekend energy solutions seminar. This would create interest at the local level and promote alternate energy in a time of great need.

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    7. Dehumidification occurs when the indoor head is chilling the air, so a small amount of AC occurs, which is usually fine to do both on a warm humid day.
      If dehumidification on a not so warm day, the space may get a bit too cool.....happens occasionally and then needs to terminate the dehumidifation for a while. This happened a few times last summer , but not his summer. Regular dehumidifiers cools but then puts out heat also, so actually adds heat........these are not very efficient.
      I requested Nfld Power to promote best practices with installers and housing or apartment building contractors.........but no way.......to me it is clear they do not mind bad practices that keep their energy sales high.
      They will not even provide a list like Efficiency NS does of cold climate models that would be also great for Nfld. So homeowners and many contractors are not well informed.
      Home Depot here carry models that are low grade, low price, that are likely ok for North Carolina climate.......but how is the consumer to know if this is good for maximum energy saving or operation to minus 15 C.
      Dumb and dumber..... by design.......it is not accidental by the power companies.......they promote dumb measures and a very few good ones, to cover their ass, so to speak.
      I pity the poor choice made by some residents. How can the power companies avoid informing customers when NS promoted these big time starting in 2008, and New Brunswick, specificially for peak demand reduction, starting a few years ago.
      Nfld Power actually stated that ALL such units would shut down in cold weather, so to say they offer no demand reduction. Outrageous that the PUB let them off on that. They called it a conservative assumption. I would call a conservative assumption if you assume 5 percent may shut down.ANd the media ignoring tose proceedings.
      Those assumptions, like many MF assumptions, are false, but they get their way. Yet consumers are catching on.....from learning from those who are achieving excellent results......heck, even Russell at the Telly installed them in his house about 9 months ago.
      But he us low key,because, I assume, as Take Charge still advertises there and promotes what is good for their shareholders......keep power sales up, keep the public ill informed. Simple as that. So Enablers of the boondoggle fiasco.
      Any change by the Telly is because they have little choice......as the public is waking up, despite the power companies and main media to keep them in the dark, literally and figuritively..........if not keep too many in the poor house, for too many low income residents.
      No shame on their part. Change at a snails pace, to say they are doing something.
      Russell calls minisplits new technology....Sanyo claims to have made the first one about 1983, the first one installed in Montreal about 1991, 20,000 a year going into Nova Scotia in the year 2011........
      New Technology! Russell, come on, man.......new to who, I ask........an excuse for Russell keeping silent on this prior to Muskrat sanction......when it counted. Before wasting 12.7 billion.
      I rant.........a bit of Rick Mercer approach! We needed Muskrat for electric heat you might recall.......the type Sir William Coaker put in his bungalow in 1917........a century ago....called resistance electric heaters. My oh my....Oh Lordie........it would make your blood boil, as John Efford used to say.
      But today I study the Mud Lake Flood report.....a con job largely ...... but not finished yet to say for certain...but they parrot the Nalcor statement;not their fault.
      Winston

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  15. I would appreciate if any other technical person from MUN or elsewhere who disagree with the Mud Lake Flood Report,(some 300 pages) if they would comment on this blog and leave a contact info.
    Winston Adams

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  16. Based on the favored cost option discussion of some years back (Holyrood vs. Muskrat Falls) and present MF cost estimates we could have built 4 Holyrood type generating stations.Everyone seems to have forgotten Ed Martin's television interview in the fall of 2015 when he brushed aside cost overrun criticism by stating that all of the major contracts totaling approx $6.5 billion had been let and public fears of cost overruns should be put to rest. The Inquiry should seek this transcript. I have encountered hundreds of MF transmission contractor and Nalcor trucks on the TCh over the past several years and find it puzzling that there is always only one occupant (the driver)in virtually all of them!

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