A Conservative friend of mine sent me an email saying he was glad the NB Power deal was done so we could now go back to focusing the more serious challenges facing New Brunswick. I told him I would blog my response but I am not quite sure if he was being tongue in cheek with his comment.
The truth is that if the deal had gone through that would have silenced NB Power as a front issue for at least five years. Now, we have ensured that NB Power will be front page news and a pervasive topic for discussion well into the future. Columnists continue to make their points. In fact, certain columnists now will have columns on both Wednesday and Saturday in the Telegraph-Journal. There goes the neighbourhood.
I do think it is important to point out that we will still need expert opinion and critical analysis of NB Power and energy in New Brunswick moving forward. In the last few days I have heard or read some pretty crazy stuff such as Point Lepreau will never come back online, the hydro dam in Mactaquac will need to be completely shut down within a decade, etc. These may be true (I sincerely hope not) but in the hyped up world we live in now we will need to have go to people to provide expert opinion on these issues.
I honestly don’t see a pathway to any electricity future that would have institutionalized the rate structure for both industry and residents the way the HQ deal did. There may be some innovative ideas and I hope people will be thinking them through.
The favourite option of the great day for democracy folks of just buying power from HQ on a long term deal is likely what will end up happening. But remember, if a large chunk of heavy industry leaves NB, that will cut our power need by 40%-50%. Think of it as a macabre version of energy conservation.