Monday, 14 August 2017

THE AG AND THE CONSUMER ADVOCATE DO THE PROVINCE A DISSERVICE

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is, it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”

Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Only within the upside-down world of Alice would much of what is occurring in this province make any sense. Still, the behaviours of such an inverted some would say perverted place, their origins in the Premier’s Office, ought not to extend to our few institutions.

But they do.

Politics in NL has been turned upside down.

An excessive level of stupidity, denial and self-interest far more than normal has infected our political process. That the Ball Liberals have prolonged the madness begun by the Tories does not make it any less mad. It has been allowed to run through the senior bureaucracy, too try as the government might to create the perception of normalcy.


When the political leadership is in crisis, the public should be able to rely on normally sensible people to contradict arrant politicians. No differently than in the mad world of America’s White House, where Trumpian politics has upped the ante on craziness beyond Alice in Wonderland proportions, NL is subject not just to the behaviours of the actors involved but also to real-world consequences.

At least the U.S. Senate and Congress, each constitutionally entitled to check the power of the President, is sufficiently (albeit just barely) unbound by partisanship to avoid being comprehensively tethered to Trump’s inanity.

In this province, we have few such checks and balances.

The legislative committee system doesn’t work. The Official Opposition doesn’t function undoubtedly fearful its recent history as the Government will become uncloaked by an Administration better able than Premier Ball to articulate its devastating legacy.

That essentially leaves us with the Office of the Auditor General (AG) which has the freest hand, the PUB and, because many of our woes relate to dreadful possibly corrupt decisions involving electricity, the Consumer Advocate.

Even though those institutions have limited legislative authority, none of them is under the direct thumb of the Premier. For this reason, they ought to display an essential integrity. They should want to keep their Offices safe from political taint from warp by the self-serving interests of the Executive Branch.

In times like we now experience, we don’t want our institutional heads to crawl down Lewis Carroll’s imagined or metaphorical rabbit hole, giving credibility to obfuscation and to outright deceit.

It is not enough even that they poke their heads out occasionally to confirm that they are still alive.

The AG and the Consumer Advocate, in particular, need to acknowledge the existential financial threats bearing down, and that they have the fortitude to act within the outer edges of their mandate. We expect them to be activist even if such activism involves nothing more than giving the government public counsel which, on occasion, may constitute harsh rebuke.

Yet, in this province, there is no such luck!

Indeed, the Premier finds institutional succour from some of those very same people.

Said the Premier on his refusal to call a Forensic Audit:

“I have heard from the AG, Justice, Nalcor CEO and board, as well the Consumer Advocate, that an inquiry/audit has the potential to interrupt operations.”

The Premier, having invoked the sources of his counsel, elicited no public statement to the contrary from the AG, the Minister of Justice, or the Nalcor Board of Directors. Stan Marshall and the Consumer Advocate are both on record as not favouring a Forensic Audit at the present time.

Of course, Nalcor’s counsel is irrelevant anyway as if the criminal suspect has the right to influence or to be a moderator over the police investigation their actions demand!

Strangely, from not one of the institutional heads the AG, the Consumer Advocate, or the Minister of Justice (who has an institutional role as the Attorney General) has there issued a single proof giving credence to the suggestion that a Forensic Audit would be disruptive, that it might slow down the MF project.

There is no public proof except the Premier’s bland assertions, that is. Neither the AG, the Consumer Advocate, nor the Minister of Justice has the engineering competence, without reference to a specialized technical authority, to independently make such a judgment.

Yet, unless the Premier is not telling the truth, they have only shared with him the nod of deference.

Seemingly they have offered no limitations on their counsel, no restrictions as to the form of investigation necessary, no restrictions on timing, no advice as to how the most likely senior miscreants might be corralled to prevent further offense, or even how the chief suspects might be contained for cross-examination at a later date.

Ostensibly, neither the AG nor the Consumer Advocate asked the Premier why he did not keep his word about conducting the Humber Valley Paving Inquiry, to which he long ago stated his commitment, or why they should believe him now.

The AG knows, or ought to know, the financial state of the province. The Consumer Advocate has echoed the Premier’s rhetoric about rate mitigation.

Both men know, or ought to know, that the province is fiscally incapable of maintaining power rates, post-Muskrat, at or near seventeen cents per kWh. The Government's till is empty. The Premier’s assertions are unrealistic, even unattainable. Worse than in the twisted world of Lewis Carroll, they are deceitful no more, no less.

Yet from the two there is only the eagerness to not be off-side with the Premier, permitting him free rein to give the public a completely false sense of expectation. 

There is further context to be found in Alice in Wonderland.
In Lewis Carroll's original novel, Alice asks, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cheshire Cat responds: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Of course, notwithstanding crisis, the Premier exhibits no idea that he is anywhere but lost.

Institutional leadership could help steer him to a sensible course. Alternatively, they could inform the public of the truth of their predicament and leave the rest to us.

But the two only know the language of institutional deference; of leadership all too willing to play along.

As in the world of Alice, wherein the normal rules of neither lexicon nor life apply, the politics of NL gets “curiouser and curiouser” indeed.

53 comments:

  1. Are other provinces this messed up? Is this a global disease? Our politicians are terrible, the AG and Citizens rep wont do anything, the PUB is neutered, MUN won't allow professors to speak freely, the senior public service are politically connected and largely incompetent and CUPE/NAPE just want to keep their jobs and won't speak up. Corporate media does very little to educate the public and often disables comments to stifle debate.

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    1. MUN profs are allowed to speak freely. The fact that so few have done so speaks volumes about the culture of fear that transcends our entire province, not just the university community.

      John Pippy

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    2. MUN profs are not free to speak against anything Nalcor without repercussions. Profs have had their tenure track threatened and have been aggressively harassed by their Deans. Within MUN you cannot criticize MUN itself or Nalcor. This message is not lost on other professors. Unless they become vocal as a group and get MUNFA to back them, they have little chance. I don't understand though why retired professors don't speak out on controversial issues since they have nothing to lose.

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    3. Tenured profs are under no risk. They can, and do, speak freely about anything. When they speak about matters that they are educated in, they can provide helpful commentary. No department head, dean, VP or even the president would or could interfere with that right. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not familiar with the way MUN actually works.

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    4. It is not the protection tenure provides that is the issue. It is the social ostracision that keeps the academics silent. Fealty to the emperor is paramount in a feudal state.

      It is time to strip away the veil of your trust in compromised institutions and you need to face the reality. It is not the dean but the emperor they fear.

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  2. Auditor General Terry Paddon was the deputy minister of finance during sanction of the project. Therefore, his professional conduct at that time would have to be scrutinized. Consumer Advocate Dennis Browne ran the election campaign tours of Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin and Dwight Ball, receiving his appointment as consumer advocate for his service. Given both men have something to lose reputation-wise if an inquiry or audit was to occur, you understand why they oppose it.

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    1. So, because of patronage appointments, the entire system of public institutions is compromised. That is really bad news.

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    2. The patronage appointments to key positions in the public service executive and the commissions and agencies that are supposed defend the public interest and not the political interest is a significant problem. The PUB, Consumer Advocate and Auditor General are supposed to be impartial and independent. Not the case in Newfoundland.

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  3. Agree, and is the total population of this province living in Alice and Wonderland?? Is so how can they be brought back to reality? What if two debt clock could be run on this site. The St. John's BOT has the provinces net debt clock running on their site can anyone set up a similar muskrat debt clock. Run both of them simultaneous on this site, as a beginning, and hope the brave media might tune in, take it seriously, and then run both clocks in one if the mainstream media main page, like cbc, or vocm, etc. would this bring the oeople out of the wilderness of Alice and to the land of reality. Would both clocks combined show a better reality of the provinces real debt. Instead if 15$ billion and increasing would it be showing 25$ Billion and increasing?

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  4. I will stand on my original assessment---an inquiry/audit would be ill timed now.

    I am not really sure if most understand the potential risk exposures if we execute an inquiry now are: there are plenty of remaining opportunities for the work to go over budget and lag schedule(some of which are internally known but not yet encountered), all of these need to be captured in the inquiry. If we were to proceed with an inquiry now, a lot of the exposure would not be discussed since it is only 'surmised'....

    My best advice, allow significant completion and then investigate---only then will we get a good assessment of how large this folly truly is/was....

    PENG2

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    1. I am an engineer and project manager and see no reason why a forensic audit should not start immediately. Investigators will need to scan through all e-mails, attachments and documents on corporate servers as well as interview many senior people. This is not going to affect construction activities. The folly is already truly large. Capturing the entire disaster implies it will be finished. The dam should be put on hold until we know what it will cost to complete and the North Spur issue solved.

      I believe that those who want to delay the audit are simply buying time. This serves to maximize financial gains of those profiting from the project, increases the chance the dam will be finished even if it shouldn't and gives many criminals time to get their money out of the country to where they will spend time in exile where they can't be served. I believe a great deal of criminality and corruption will be exposed.

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    2. So ... PENG2... You are OK with folks dying in the interim??

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    3. Peter/Anony:

      before disparaging my reputation, please review previous submissions I have made to this blog.

      Reasoning for my stance and my background have been well stated.

      PENG2

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    4. How can the reputation of someone identified as anonymous be damaged? Perhaps you plan on identifying yourself, beyond "PENG2"? That kind of courage is sorely needed in this province.

      John Pippy

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  5. An excellent statement/outline describing how our political and institutional leaders are failing their fellow citizens.

    As I understand it, Dennis Browne has been appointed pursuant to the Public Utilities Act, and is being paid to advocate for consumers.

    So that I might understand the limits of CA's mandate, months ago I asked both the Minister of Justice and Mr. Browne for a copy of the terms of his appointment ---- NO REPLY.

    I do not think that his duties (and our tax dollars) should be used so that the CA can provide non-evidence based (non-PUB related) policy advise to government.

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  6. Pam Frampton of the Telegram has asked the Premier,the AG, Minister Coady, Consumer Advocate to provide reasons how and why an Audit would delay construction. We the people, are no longer willing to accept what the politicians tell us. We need and demand intelligent reasons.

    David Lean

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    1. Right on David. I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. Ok PENG2 you have been called out, speak up like a man or squeak around your statement. Belly up to the bar, or hide your head in shame. Also agree with the anonymous engineer, you have also been called out by your peers, PENG2.

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    2. Should read right on Glen.....sorry

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  7. Sorry PENG2, you are very seriously wrong. No one can define what "significant" means. There is no evidence that an Audit will delay construction other than the Premier and his "yes persons" say so. Do you work for Nalcor or any other Government agencies that have led us into this quagmire.

    Glen Mead

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    1. A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims. This scares powerful people in the province and because of interconnections via family/patronage/business more than one person is going down for this travesty. There will be many cases of conflict of interest and abusing the public trust. Therefore, they are all working to delay an inquiry as long as possible. I also suspect PENG2 works for Nalcor or a contractor on the project. Even if upper management were lawyered up and scared senseless about their fates, perhaps taking stress leave, construction could continue. However, I believe construction should indeed be delayed. I want to see the transmission lines finished and the dam cancelled until we have a cost for completion and confidence that the North Spur won't kill people and strand the dam on dry ground. If this cost estimate is too high then we mothball it.

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  8. If this is allowed to continue and the power bills go up much higher than they are currently, my family won't be able to afford to live here. I had to leave NFLD back in the early 90's but was "lucky" enough to have an opportunity to return. If I have to leave again, I won't be back.

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  9. Are other provinces this messed up?

    Nope. The "known critics" predicted all of this, but were shouted down. This is the result.

    Our politicians are terrible,

    People get what they vote for.

    They were warned about Danny Williams and the PC's incompetence. They voted for the demagogue anyway.

    The people made this bed, they can lie in it.

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    1. Whoa, whoa, whoa. "The people made this bed, they can lie in it." Really?

      Unfortunately, our 2 largest parties are in bed with each other. They are a tightly knit political cesspool in it for self gain only. The public has no chance no matter who they vote for. As for MF, all three parties were in favour. No one listened to the naysayers, not even the media made any issue of what the naysayers were saying.

      We have a leader not smart enough to see he could've had an unprecedented popular standing and a second term if only he had put SOME effort into unravelling this fiasco. When you have Paul Davis standing up in the house asking for an Audit into something his party conceived, and no action from a floundering party with everything to gain, it smells foul.

      So are we the people to blame? Absolutely not. The blame can be shared by politicians of all colours. We have been put over the barrel by a system that has no accountability and very few checks and balances. Power and greed rule. The public has no say... just look at the Ball's actions, or inactions.

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    2. Whoa, whoa, whoa. "The people made this bed, they can lie in it." Really?

      REALLY.

      They - or you, if you're among them - are no better than Trump voters who are now feeling remorse.

      You are not a passive victim. If you supported the PCs, even with just one little vote, if you supported Muskrat Falls, if you helped shout down the "naysayers", then you are part of the problem.


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    3. I am of no stripe.

      I followed this project well before sanction. There was much to make the OPPOSITION, MEDIA, PUB, AG, CA and public wary. Much of which was brought to light but many contributors here. Unfortunately, this project via Bill 29 was rammed down our throats.

      But I don't blame this on anyone who voted PC for Danny or Cathy... they had everyone (but the naysayers), red and orange included, thinking this would be a 6 billion dollar project and good for our revenue stream. So should nan have known any better?

      Maybe the likes of Stan Marshall who stated he thought this was a bad project from the start should've campaigned on our behalf back in 2012. A 6 o'clock NTV news debate with Ed Martin would surely have put the public on notice. Maybe he's to blame. Maybe the Feds are to blame for a loan guarantee without any due diligence on their behalf. Surely they must have had professional people review this project before giving a loan approval. The public would would surely have thought this was being scrutinized. Would that have been a reasonable assumption??

      Maybe you are to blame for having the foresight but not doing more. Like creating an alternative party. Taking out an anti-MF ad in the Telegram when Danny first tabled the idea.

      If indeed you had the foresight to not vote the PC in 2003 because you knew this was going happen, go buy yourself a lottery ticket, and one for me too.

      For the record, I did NOT vote for Danny so there is no Trumpian remorse here. Just anger that we have little to no protection from a select few. But I certainly don't feel any anger to a populace who was ill-informed and deceived.

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    4. Yes dm a reasonable assumption that the Feds had done their due diligence before giving approval for the Loan guarantee, except politicians at the federal level can't be trusted to give the loan guarantee for the right reasons, as you know Harper was no friend of Danny our nl, so he saw the folly in the project but was only too happy to get the chance to sink us, which is what he did, and Cathy was only too happy to sign under any conditions. As for the second loan, under Trudeau, well guess they were using balls line, too late to stop now. Peng2 writes that the loan guarantee that the loan is null and void if the project is haulted, if that's how the loan guarantee is written, we can see that they wanted total control and we suffer the consequences. This was so stacked to fail that you couldn't make this shit up. Mind boggling.

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    5. A project was haulted a few years ago in Manitoba, BC has recently haulted a hydro project. Is it only in nl that a project can't be haulted. Ball and Coady should give us an explanation even when peng2 tells us it can't be haulted.

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  10. Obviously #SHUTMUSKRATDOWN https://goo.gl/9oRVAS "Muskrat Falls audit must wait? Tell us why...Premier Dwight Ball says he can’t call an immediate forensic audit into the $12.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project because it could cause further costly delays. He says he’s been told as much by the auditor general, the consumer advocate, the Department of Justice, and the board and CEO of Nalcor. What I say to all those people and entities is: tell us why. Someone’s say-so isn’t enough." pframpton@thetelegram.com @pam_frampton 12.8.17//goo.gl/NsxkgN Five Canadian Senators call for release of imprisoned Labrador Land Protectors and forensic audit Muskrat Falls Newfoundland and Labrador, [NL] Canada// https://goo.gl/7oZhyh Electronic Letter To: Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Justice and Public Safety NL, Canada 11.8.17 Ottawa Local: Make Muskrat Right Facebook Group// https://goo.gl/bJucWD 44 public items supporting Labrador, Labradorians, The Labrador Land Protectors, NunatuKavut, Nunatsiavut, and Innu Nation Campaigning against Nalcor Crown Corporation Hydro project, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador [NL] Canada//https://t.co/t08U2NevqX Video:Dr. Stig Bernander Quick Clay Expert calls on Nalcor to release North Spur plans for review Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada NTV News 31.10.14 //https://t.co/PpDhQKVvha Audio: Update on Labrador Land Protectors, Nalcor Energy Boondoggle, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Jacinda Beals including "Release" to "Home Arrest" of Jim G. Learning OKalaKatiget Society Web Radio Nain NL CA// https://t.co/AeFRbSGNm6 https://goo.gl/6TCuYB “North Spur: a natural dam containing sensitive and quick clays, normally avoided at all costs by dam designers, and built with no detailed review of the design by qualified geotechnical experts.” SNC design approved for construction has not been reviewed by senior geotechnical engineers with experience in soft sensitive clay, quick clay and Canadian Dam Safety Guidelines are not applicable to natural dams James L. Gordon, P. Eng. (Ret’d) Uncle Gnarley Blog Des Sullivan 10.8.17//https://t.co/ufG6k84rpP Risk Assessment Report Confirms Claim that the North Spur Damwall at Nalcor Energy Hydro project, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada is a Major Threat to Life Des Sullivan Uncle Gnarley blog 5.7.17// https://t.co/05CxcRwodU https://t.co/XguC8aJpKh Audio: Paul Lane Member of House of Assembly [MHA] Legislative Branch of Government Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada highlights Serious Safety Issues of North Spur Dam Wall Nalcor Energy, Muskrat Falls https://t.co/TVVIKg9qrD

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  11. Dwight Ball is a fool, Siobhan Coady is a self-egrandising waste of air. Here's the rub: even if the consumer advocate and auditor agreed with the idea of a forensic audit, those jokes in the Premier's office and Natural Resources would still say NO because there is something to hide here.

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  12. My last statement here, but a few things need to be understood about the current state of the work and the risk exposure (ie more $$$$ owed) to the people of NL when saying ‘Stop Muskrat now’:
    1. the government has spent approximately $10B, and is contractually committed to about $15B whether or not MF is completed(this assertion is based on contract language)---many of the contractors working major work scopes are cash +ve, effectively impossible to bring in alternate contractors to finish cheaper or to delay with hopes of completing cheaper later
    2. the federal loan guarantee is in jeopardy(read: void) if we halt/cease construction activities
    3. the costs related to mothballing (and subsequent recommissioning) the work would be bourne by NL if the decision was made to go that route
    4. Emera is due ~200MW, this obligation by the NL system is due this fall and ineffect for about 35yrs irregardless of MF completion
    5. halting/ceasing work puts at risk a number of penalties that can be leveraged against some suppliers/contractors for delays---some of these could be on the order of millions per day, a possible revenue stream to reduce overall cost to NL consumers
    6. most(ie nearly all) of the environmental impacts are already completed---not to minimalize the upcoming effects MM or potential downstream flooding but due to choices made in 2013 the decisions to accept these possible exposures are now set
    7. 2041 is not necessarily the quick/easy solution a lot think it to be---in my assessments, portions of the UCF infrastructure will be needing remediation over the coming 30-40yrs (granted a lot of upgrading is ongoing---will enough be done when the time comes?)

    Based on 1-7 above, I do professionally believe that the only responsible option is to complete the work as currently scoped.

    Additionally, because of upcoming risk exposure I don’t think an inquiry is prudent at this time---if we commission an inquiry today and new risk arises in 6months and then again in 12months, we cant just ‘rescope’ the inquiry daily because something new comes up… I propose a premature inquiry will let certain project advocates of the hook for the total responsibility of the folly they have made as some blunders wont be under the scope of the premature inquiry....

    I will restate that I have never been a supporter of this work in its current form(too many analysis of the Anglo-Saxon route have previously defined it as unwise, I have agreed with this assessment for years)---I offered my talents to try and stop the bloodletting a couple years ago when I realized how far off track the work was.

    For the record, my preferred project for NL power generation would have been standalone nuclear/LNG/small hydro/conservation etc---certainly not integrating insular NL with the NA grid....

    Stan Marshall is exactly correct----we never lost a dime on the UCF(just lost income/investment potential), the LCF cost us dearly with money out of pocket.... I fear that in my remaining 10-20yrs professional life I will never prosper in this province---this wasn't the case for senior engineers when UCF was completed....

    PENG2

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    1. Please enlighten; "Additionally, because of upcoming risk exposure..."Also "as currently scoped". Are you implying that scope changes leading to extending costs beyond $15B are in the works? Thank you for your candid remarks on your involvement in the project.

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    2. Just one quick comment, as I am no expert on muskrat or finically markets. Think maybe you raise more questions than you have answered, but thanks for your reply. You say we have spent 10$ billion and another 5$ billion to go. Through the loan guarantee we have some 8$ billion and think we put in around 2$ billion in cash. Where will we get the other 5$ billion, if the Feds don't guarantee it, and can't see the markets loaning us another 5 billion with our other 15$ net debt. Or indeed would we want a combined debt 30$ billion. Can a small province survive to pay that back through rate payers and tax payers.

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    3. Anyone who believes the upper CF deal did not cost us a dime is delusional. Some estimates put the cost of this giveaway at as much as a billion dollars per year since its completion in 1976. That's around 40 billion now and still counting.

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    4. Did we spend money to develop the Upper Churchill or just not buy the lottery ticket to get a percentage of the winnings? Not sure I remember tax/energy rates going up to compensate for that project....

      For muskrat we are spending tax payer money now as we speak....

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    5. Robert:

      My best guess is that we will spend between $13.75 and $14.5B in the end... From what I see, the $12.7B published estimate to completion doesn't account for rework in locations that Nalcor previously accepted as OK, nor any upcoming 'odd' work---there is no float in there.

      Also, yesterday the 1st draft tube was installed---I cant say how that process will play out for the balance...

      PENG2

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  13. Hi PENG2, You are missing the point of the Forensic Audit altogether. The purpose of the Audit is to establish - one - How did estimates, so completely wrong, get approved. Was it incompetence or fraud. Incompetence is not a crime, fraud is. - TWO- Were the costs falsified during construction, and the forecasts provided by Nalcor were understated. This was confirmed by the EY Interim report. The Audit is about the process of approval and project sanction and not about future changes in scope. These two points are what the Audit is all about.

    Glean Mead

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    1. Thanks for that Glean. You are probably right to limit the forensic audit to unravelling the incompetence / fraud issues and let it go to trial afterwards. Parallel to that we also need what Dave Vardy discussed in the telegram: Empowering the PUB.

      1. Review the unsustainable prospect of increasing ratepayer billings by $800 million (with continuous escalation thereafter for 50 years) against a scenario in which consumers will surely substitute other energy alternatives, leading to an overall reduction in demand and mothballing Muskrat Falls as “stranded” assets.

      2. Consider the true economic case for the project against low oil prices and low electricity purchase prices in export markets.

      3. Evaluate the reliability of power after interconnection, including the risks posed by the North Spur and other operational risks arising from poor design choice, quality control issues and an ineffective water management agreement.


      4. Review the cost of terminating the Muskrat Falls project, either in whole or in part, bearing in mind the unreliability of cost estimates, the risks pointed out in the SNC-Lavalin report of April 2013 and the potential for continued cost escalation.

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    2. Glean:

      I did not miss the point of an audit---I believe it would be ill-timed now. I also suggest that an audit is necessarily the right tool---this warrants an inquiry...

      I am not sure we could effectively catch all blunders with this project if we proceed now---I do believe the coming 12 months will uncover issue an inquiry needs to hear....

      To be sure, I have all my notes secured when this does come to pass.

      PENG2

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  14. As to whether MF will become a stranded asset, and if demand on the island will drop further, due to high power rates and the poor economy and other reasons......consider the power options as noted by a commentator on UG on Aug 7.
    His data was provided by Nfld Power at Take Charge questions and answers;
    These are costs of heat by various sources, efficiency coefficient(COP) and comparative costs in cents per kilowatt hour.

    Baseboard electric , COP 1.0 10.6 cents
    Oil 8.4 cents
    wood pellet 8.3 cents
    Gnd source heat pump COP 3.5 3.5 cents
    Ducted air source heat pump, COP 2.0 5.3 cents
    Ductless air source heat pump COP 2.5 4.2 cents

    For a typical house, I would suggest the following installed costs: Gnd source HP $25,000.00, ducted air source hp , $15,000.00, ductless air source hp $8000.00.
    All heat pumps run off electricity, but use much less and saves 50 to 70 percent on heating costs.
    Many are installing minisplits because they are cheaper than the other HP types, and minisplits more efficient than the ducted air source, and reduces grid peak load more.
    Minisplits are stated to have a COP of 2.5, which is fairly accurate. However best practices (of sizing, model type , and installation method) can increase this to about 3.5 (3.0 in the winter and 5.5 in the spring and summer, for about 3.5 overall).......so equal to the ground source.
    Using best practices, their operating cost also drop to about 3.0 cents per kwh, the same as the much more expensive ground source.

    So baseboard at 10.6 cents per kwh, minisplit 3.0 cents per kwh of heat
    Baseboard (assuming mitigated rates of 17 cents per kwh,) minisplits gives 4.7 cents per kwh for heat
    Baseboard at 23 cents per kwh, gives minisplits about 6.6 cents per kwh for heat.

    Nfld uses about 650MW for baseboard residential heat. If all convert to minisplits , it reduces peak peak demand by 433 MW. At present Holyrood uses on average 350 MW during winter Jan and Feb.
    While this is the most beneficial way for demand reduction, there are many others that can reduce the load further.
    The writing is on the wall......Nova Scotia having installed 100,000 of these systems, Nfld about 10,000 so far. And as Russell at the Telegram said 6 months ago, contractors ate going `all out`, installing these.(and rates then only 9.7 cents).......imagine if they were giving incentives as in other jurisdictions, instead of pumping more billions into Muskrat. Regardless, this process of conversions cannot be slowed and will quickly accelerate.
    Maybe we should have followed Nova Scotia example before MF sanction!
    Winston Adams




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  15. Boom and Bust.

    Ball will probably follow Wall. Tory-minded politicians leave when problems get tougher to solve. Question now is; who will face the music?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/resource-boom-oil-brad-wall-1.4243401

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    1. Will that be Ball(s) to the Wall Robert?

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  16. Is Muskrat the wrong energy project for NL? (Sorry to be rhetorical Winston).

    A BC conversation;

    http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/conversations-that-matter-is-site-c-the-wrong-energy-project-for-b-c

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    1. Robert not only is MF the wrong project for NL, that "the treaty rights are not negotiable, they are entrenched" is ignored in NL in favour of divide and conquer via the cultivation of corrupt indigenous politicians, ignoring the entrenched rights of other nations, despite direction from the Supreme Court on the Metis for example.

      Any hydro project that costs 60+ cents a KwH to produce is the wrong project anywhere in the age of 6 cent sun and wind energy. Nothing rhetorical about that just hard fact.

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  17. Anyone have any idea why that bloody fool "John Smith" daren't spout his incessant BS on the UG blog?

    The fanatical cheer-leading of such a hare-brained endeavour that may well devastate this province financially can only indicate that this individual must have a significant personal monetary stake in the Muskrat debacle. Thus "John Smith" is quite likely one a of the vile miscreants that needs to be outed with a forensic audit & inquiry into the Muskrat debacle.

    Otherwise, the absurd confabulation and irrational fantasies spewing from this trolling wretch would seem to indicate that "John Smith" is, shall we say... unwell.

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    1. John Smith is being called out all the time now over at the Telegram. Maybe it is Danny himself. It did bother me for awhile because David Vardy would post a thoughtful letter and there would be a single, ignorant post left by a John Smith. Since Dave is too modest to remind people who he is, a casual reader could conceivably give equal credit to both the letter and John Smith. If he ever posts here, I an sure we can find entertaining ways to reply.

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    2. John Smith is the creation of a well paid pr firm you can be assured. There is never a deviation from the party line and the lies of the day.

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  18. Uncle Gnarley has come to the startling realization that concern for the public good or treasury is no longer a consideration for the CA, PUB or the AG. They are there simply to protect the feudal state from the citizenry.Clear eyed analysis is the first step in restoring some semblance of social justice and accountability.

    Never has it been so clear in NL that democracy is not a spectator sport but requires participation and a fervent defence of the pillars, transparency, accountability and a functioning judiciary (vs a feudal kangaroo court protecting the guilty).

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    1. I thought the AG and CA were just useless. However, compromised might be a better word. Roy Wiseman above said "Auditor General Terry Paddon was the deputy minister of finance during sanction of the project. Therefore, his professional conduct at that time would have to be scrutinized. Consumer Advocate Dennis Browne ran the election campaign tours of Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin and Dwight Ball, receiving his appointment as consumer advocate for his service. Given both men have something to lose reputation-wise if an inquiry or audit was to occur, you understand why they oppose it."

      Add to this: PEGNL board chair Gerard Dunphy is VP engineering Nalcor Energy. Our recently departed Minister of Finance was on the board at NALCOR and has or had shares in Sunny Corner Enterprises with contracts at Muskrat Falls and a civil service bureaucracy full of patronage appointments ....

      It doesn't matter where you look -- the Dunphy murder, the Snelgrove sex assult case make the RNC look corrupt. You'd think men like this would be fired instantly as totally unsuitable to serve the public.

      Al our institutions are rotten to the core. We can't even use one to fix the other.

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    2. Your institutions have absolute fidelity to the feudal state that controls every aspect of life from the judiciary, bureaucracy, political institutions and professional organizations.

      They are all in it together feeding the poor chumps in a disempowered electorate the faux democracy lie. You have laid out well the incestuous feudal links among the intelligentsia. Understanding the relationships is essential. Acting on cleaning up the incest and disgracing those that defile public institutions is an essential next step.

      Go to it!

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    3. Lets crowd source those incestuous feudal links into a large list and then figure out how to create info-graphics to spread on Facebook. Some like PEGNL you can look up via linked in, but the really interesting stuff has to come from crowd soucing. The point of it all would be to reinforce the concept that the toilet needs flushing. I will see if I can start a list and let people add tidbits underneath it.

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  19. Agree with the above comments, and have said this many times, not sure on this blog, but the bottom line is we as a people, are incapable of governing ourselves. We proved it in 1934, and other times along the way, and we are proving it again in this decade. I am not talking politically, but we are always looking for a saviour to govern us, and we have not found much success, we have to govern ourselves by active participitation by all. Our other problem has always been we have been willing to place political party above country or province, and that is our very downfall. I am not saying we don't need political parties, that is the art of democracy, but if we have the mindset at any point that the party we support can do no wrong, then we deserve it. Form your own thoughts and see which party follows you, not blindly follow the party you have chosen. We are too politically, that is our downfall and the reason we are in this mess today.

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  20. Looking through the responses in the RFIs for the net metering application to the PUB, I found the following:

    Domestic rates are forecast to exceed 20 cents/kWh. Forecast for commissioning MF is mid 2020.
    The state: "A net metering customer that reduces usage under this scenario will save 20¢ per kWh. The savings to Hydro for reduced supply is only 4¢ per kWh. The net loss to Hydro of 16¢ per kWh remains a cost incurred by Hydro in serving net metering customers and must be allocated for recovery from other customers.

    I wonder if the see insulation rebates in the same light. The more I spend on insulation, the more others have to reimburse them for Muskrat Falls.

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