NB Power

I am a little disconnected up here in Ontario but I did receive over a dozen requests yesterday for comment on the NB Power saga.

I have scanned the media and read the releases and I guess we have to take at face value what Jean Charest said on the national news last night that the last minute negotiations could not be concluded in a way that both parties would agree.  On the face of it, public pressure in New Brunswick wasn’t the reason for the scrapping of the deal.

But I have to wonder about this.  We all saw the polls and the absolute hammering.  I said it before and I’ll say it again that New Brunswickers are small c conservative people and slow to wrath but once aggrieved we can be as nasty as anyone.  We are the only province in Canada where Superstore had to scrap their five cent charge on plastic bags because of this type of backlash.

The original reportage (and the way the thing was launched) was so negative that this idea was entrenched in the minds of the average NBer and wasn’t to be dislodged.  In my conversations with very smart people, they would say outrageous things about this deal.

Anyway, on we go.  Expect rates to continue to grow well above most areas in Canada and eventually, expect most of our power to come from Quebec anyway at much higher rates and with our debt load intact.

I would be surprised if they refurbish any of the old generation assets as they come up for major refurbishment.  As for Colson Cove, Belledune, et al who knows?  If oil goes back up to $150, if the carbon cap/trade comes online, expect rates to skyrocket.  

Don’t expect New Brunswick to go into wind energy in a big way.  Wind energy will always be on the margin in Canada.  Dont’ get me wrong, there will be wind energy in New Brunswick but it will never be more than 5%-10% of the demand – in my opinion.  Until the cost per kwh comes radically down, wind and solar and tidal are too expense for more than just boutique needs.

The outstanding problem is our large industrial users.  As I said before many of these firms have had their profit margins wiped out by energy costs and the high cost of the dollar – two things out of their control.  I hope there are innovative solutions to this problem because if more industrial clients fall (and their above average economic value and wages), it will do serious damage to New Brunswick.

Maybe it’s time to look at using our own natural gas for electricity production.  Maybe there are other alternatives.

Some have called this a great day for democracy.  Maybe.  But you could just as easily look at it and say it is the death knell for any large, grand public policy moves by a government in New Brunswick.  Politicians have got the message that New Brunswickers will never accept these transformational moves. 

You can forget about the Finn Report.  What government – Liberal or Tory – will want to tackle that very important issue?   The media will hammer.  The opposition will stir up anger and we will be right back in the stew.

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25 Responses to NB Power

  1. mikel says:

    I think this is one of those ‘game changing’ things where it makes ANY future predictions difficult. I don’t expect rates to increase faster than other areas of Canada, PEI gets most of its power from NB so if rates go up in NB, I don’t expect it to be any different than NB. Nova Scotia’s increases have always been higher than NB’s, what with the profit motive and the new debt for Emera I suspect rates will go up there as fast as the company can make it possible.

    For the industrial players, I suspect what we’ll see is more of the ‘loan guarantees’ going out to these companies in exchange for the lower rates. For the company, money is money. Whether those companies will, or even should survive is another question.

    For wind power, you forget just how small a province NB is. The ENTIRE north could EASILY be serviced JUST with wind power, but it wouldn’t be cheap. However, with the legislation for community co-ops we may finally see some growth there, and any party with half a brain will be looking SERIOUSLY at the energy file.

    I don’t see this in quite the same way. HOPEFULLY it will mean the death of any ‘huge public policy’ moves that don’t have public support. However, I think the path is VERY clear for changes in energy, and the government has an easy caveat-“hey, its this or sell it”.

    Most importantly is that HOPEFULLY, either a watchdog group-perhaps from the facebook group-I don’t expect it from anywhere else, but maybe the next government, will come out with some REAL public meetings, like was done with forestry under Lord, and get some ‘facts’ out there to counter the craziness. I agree with the comment above, as like David I personally took a ‘slight’ beating at the facebook group countering the craziness, but angry people are not always the most reasonable, thats been a given for LONG time. And like I said, there were equally outlandish statements from both the government and supporters of the deal. And when people know their opinions don’t have any clout, they know they are free to believe just about anything. Like I’ve said, I never saw the ‘new world order’ mentioned at the facebook group, so there WAS a limit to the craziness.

    I suspect there WILL be a new watchdog group or public research group, heck, if there ISN”T I’ll start one myself. And again, one thing about facebook is that as long as you are civil then there is no problem. Now that ‘selling it’ is off the table for now, then that opens up the debate.

    Finally, as for ‘democracy’, there is no way of knowing. Graham pretty much burned the only bridges he had, so I suspect it was as they said, that ultimately the details got SO bad that the sale was simply no longer viable. What part public display played, we simply don’t know, and in fact it shows the limits of what democracy actually is in Canada. It’s no surprise that that statement comes most often from Alward, what ELSE would he say? And I suspect that he’s actually kind of miffed it fell through as the deal would make his job that much easier.

  2. Monica says:

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. ~Winston Churchill

  3. west quaco says:

    The entire north can’t be serviced with wind power, because it doesn’t blow constantly and the load needs to be balanced by supply other power, often at short notice. to do that, you need a power source that can be turned on and off rapidly.
    Quebec’s hydro dams can do so, because they’re built to hold water back until its force is needed. New Brunswick’s run-of-the-river dams cannot. the facilities that can turn on and off rapidly are the ones that burn fossil fuels – technology that is already becoming too expensive to operate except at peak demand in winter months.
    Rates in New Brunswick HAVE ALREADY increased faster than in other provinces. they will continue to do so, unless government steps in and prevents NB Power from charging what it needs to to pay for the power, transmission and its debt – which is how the capital debt of building new power plants grew to $4.75 billion in the first place.
    “democracy” had nothing to do with this – the weight of NB Power’s crumbling assets and future liabilities was more than Hydro Quebec wanted to take on at the price that had been negotiated. what critics should be asking for is Hydro-Quebec’s estimates of what our power system is worth, how long its generating plants can be expected to operate without investing billions on rebuilds, whether rebuilding Mactaquac is even feasible, and whether Point Lepreau can ever be expected to come back on line at an aefficiency level that pays for the expense of the refurb. then we may have some sense of how deep this hole is and what the most reliable route out may be.

  4. Samonymous says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again that New Brunswickers are small c conservative people and slow to wrath but once aggrieved we can be as nasty as anyone.

    This could be true, but how would we ever know since there has never been a governing conservative party in New Brunswick that has espoused nothing more than centrist, statist rhetoric. Plus, as the NB Power MOU debates taught us, political party’s in power (or out of power for that matter) have never really listened to what NBers or their party members have had to say. The system is broken and their needs to be a wholesale change at the party level if the debate is ever going to be civil and informative. We can’t continue to throw policies at people when it’s too late. These things have to be discussed throughly in town halls, party conventions (party platforms), campaigns and in public policy forums such as TV, radio, etc. Not after it has been rammed down the throats of voters and the furor ensues. Everybody loses at that point.

  5. richard says:

    Given NB Power’s debt load and lack of equity in its assets, it will be hard pressed to avoid significant rate increases over the next decade. Certainly, without large increases, it will lack the fiscal capacity to invest significantly in new generation. Should interest rates rise (as they are expected to) debt servicing costs will have a large impact on NB Power’s bottom line. Then there will be the issue of the thermal plants and their fuel costs. In a few years, a 3% increase will seem like nothing.

    I feel sorry for those with limited incomes; they will bear the brunt of this, as they will bear the brunt of dealing with GNB’s fiscal problems. Many of those live in homes entirely reliant on electric baseboard heat and will be hard-pressed to invest in alternate systems or energy conservation. Any who have the capital to spare should be investing in geothermal heating, solar, wind and other power systems that draw less from the grid. The likely payback time for these investments will soon be much shorter than now. Perhaps those that cannot or do not want to do this should consider fleeing the province while there is still time. We are in for a world of hurt.

    We will now hear the usual bleatings from politicians about consultations, etc. However the issue is now politically toxic. A large majority of NBers may have opposed the deal, but that majority is divided into several groups that have directly opposed viewpoints. There are those who will expect rates to stay low and will loudly object to any plan that brings about any significant rate hikes. There are those who want major investments in alternative energy production, deals with NS, NFLD, etc. These all require financial investments or feed-in tariffs and the money has to come from somewhere. Perhaps some among these latter groups will at least come clean about the power rates that will result from their plans. I do not see any prospect of a consensus any time soon; certainly it will not happen until we see some large power rate hikes. So David is correct; no politician will want to tackle any controversial subject any time soon. Perhaps we will end up like some of the First Nations communities – a handful of Ottawa overseers will be sent down to ‘administer’ us for a few decades. Oh Happy Day.

  6. Tim Coates says:

    I’m convinced the backlash had more to do with the process than the actual substance of the deal. Given a different process enough New Brunswickers might come alongside a future and major policy decision.

  7. Samonymous says:

    Dismantling Democracy

    Oh, and another thing. As much as i disliked the manner in which this deal with Quebec was initiated, sold and eventually changed (secretively by government) there were some serious merits to this deal. I know some other groups and individuals feel the same way. With that in mind, how can the media and people speculate that the failure of the deal is a “great day for democracy” when it is not clear that all NBers would have rejected it (on its merits) had there been a referendum. Do people who supported the deal, both businesses and individual, not count. I don’t know about you, but ignoring a large group of the public to satisfy your own personal agenda doesn’t sound very democratic to me. Ignoring peoples opinions…isn’t that how we got here in the first.

    This is one NBers that thinks the process of the original deal and its ultimate death are both an attack on democracy.

  8. mikel says:

    I’m not surprised Churchill said this, since he lost more elections than he won. But he also said this:
    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    The point here is that democracy requires an informed citizenry, and in this case, it certainly wasn’t the citizens fault since virtually no information was given out.

  9. richard says:

    ” I know some other groups and individuals feel the same way.”

    We will have to wait and see what happens. Should jobs disappear (or fail to appear), it would be funny to see those who helped inflame public opinion against the deal on the other end of the stick. If they want to claim credit for killing it, perhaps they will end up with some tar and feathers as well as accolades. I can see it now: ‘David Alward (or insert name desired), why did you kill UMOE Solar?’

  10. Samonymous says:

    Good point, Richard. Here’s an excerpt from Alward in the Telegraph Journaltoday: “This is a positive day for the people of New Brunswick, because they are now aware that they can make a difference. That is a message for every political leader and for every political party in the province.”

    Again, as a small c conservative/libertarian who has seen grassroots democracy truly work elsewhere through true leadership, I know he has got it all wrong. As i said above, this is by no way an example for future political leaders and parties to emulate. On the contrary, they should be doing all they can to avoid this kind of furor in the future. And to do that isn’t to settle for the longtime status quo/ethos within his own party, it is to make his political party more open and accessible to new (and even old) members. This will never happen if a leader is satisfied with running hand picked candidates who are acclaimed by party elites without scrutiny or debate on the issues (they recently did this 6 times in the last month). This will never happen if a leader is of the mindset that people can make a difference when being disenfranchised from the overall process and there only options is to yell and scream in front of an empty legislature or constituency office (their party promoted this during the deal). This will never happen if a leader doesn’t encourage debate on policy at an actual policy conference/convention (there last two policy conferences since 2003 had no serious discussion whatsoever). And finally, this will never happen if you, as a leader, stand for nothing and wait for the other party to finally falter, thus, assuming power.

    I don’t know about other Tories, but if I’m looking for change and a new way of doing things, I’m definitely not casting my vote for a guy who won the leadership because most of his backers were already in caucus and had control of the rotting party mechanisms.

    This is not change it’s more of the same. This is one former Tory who’s hoping Graham gets another mandate.

  11. Samonymous says:

    On a more political note, I think Premier Shawn Graham (and his advisers) are a Machiavellian geniuses because, if my political instincts serve me correctly, those who were livid and inflamed about this whole deal, whether it be the people of New Brunswick or other Atlantic premiers, will soon come back to earth, calm down, and (if he [Graham] keeps his nose clean and plays his cards right from now until the election) will probably forgive him and view him as the guy who listened to the people over the big interest of big power.

    Come September, when people go to mark their x by a name, they won’t care that Alward opposed the deal, they’ll just remember that he did nothing but chase Graham around while giving NBers no alternatives. ‘Tis the consequences of being sucked into a debate about one issue that is now off the table.

    If a guy like Danny can forgive, surely NBers will. 😉

  12. Claude B says:

    Now that the deal has collapsed (sadly, for both parties), now is the time for New Brunswickers to set a realistic energy policy. From what I heard so far, I’m not too confident you’ll achieve it, unless you’re ready to think outside the box. But what I’ve read so far is not promising.

    Canceling bonuses, a few changes in the executive offices and early retirement packages will please populists but it won’t make much of a dent in the $500 million fuel bill (talk about energy independence!), nor build new power plants. In any case it will certainly not lower power rates remove price volatility! However, in the short term, the situation is not so bad. Hydro-Québec will still feed the Maritime grid (the PEI talks have not been cancelled).

    But, here’s a thought. At some point, the NB government could open up the large industrial market to outside competition, as was envisioned in the original MOU. Granted, NB Power would lose most of its industrial customers, but it might not be a bad thing since it would reduce the requirement for new generation capacity and it would lower costs, since large industrial customers is cross-subsidized by residential and general customers.

    I have no idea if this could work in the New Brunswick context or with potential wholesale suppliers (HQ?), but it would solve many problems with the current NB Power situation.

  13. mikel says:

    I said wind power could supply the north, not that ALL the windmills need to be IN the north. At NBPower’s website they are ‘bragging’ about a lady environmentalist (for lack of a better term) who was the first in 2007 to sign on to net metering.

    She already had solar powered utilities, but since she had the money, she was interested in the ‘process’. So throughout a torturous process that can practically be described as designed to KEEP people from this process (even the net metering website almost seems to warn people away from the program), she invested $14,000 for a single wind turbine.

    The wind studies were done on her property (Port Elgin I believe) which showed that the wind blew pretty much all the time-through four seasons. For that price she ended up with ONE turbine, for the simple reason that NBPower will give feed in tariffs to Alberta companies, but won’t give a single penny out to small providers. All you get is a ‘credit’ on what you use (she didn’t use any from NBPower), and that credit is wiped out after a year. So it only made sense to have one small turbine.

    This is a lady who had more funds, who quite easily could be convinced to put up more turbines, in fact would probably let NBPower put up a whole wind farm. But again, the politics are all off. Like the Samsung deal in ontario, one corporate client is worth more than hundreds of small investors. In Alberta’s case, unlike Samsung, they are not actually even bringing any jobs to the table, just paying for setting up a windmill. NB has a BIG coastline, and lots of mountains, so that easily provides energy for small areas.

    But thats a rehash anyway, everybody’s got an opinion. Alward has already said that he’d have public debates, and now that the deal is dead, I’d be surprised if Graham were to cancel the energy debates he was planning. If he wants any hope of re-election, that’s what he’ll do.

    Over at the facebook site, its true that its all over the place. Most people don’t actually comment, and there’s a handful who seem to comment on just about everything. One post was ‘what do we do now?’ which seems an obvious question. What will come out of that we don’t know. I would suspect at least there will be some kind of ‘NBPower Watchdog” group which will make recommendations on various things. There is no doubt there is a fair bit of silliness like “the road construction crew was really lazy by my house, lets fire them and use that money”, and “look how much a justice of the peace makes”.

    All those are useful things to look at politically, but certainly won’t effect energy policy. My favourite is this one guy with a cowboy hat who keeps saying “my gut says this and my gut is never wrong” and every time somebody posts some information from a media source he says “I can’t believe you buy into that propaganda”. However, one persons comments certainly don’t have a bearing on an organizations actions.

    What has come out of the Facebook site is some very knowledgeable and hard working people who MAY step into the political arena. As the media reported, politicians are starting to pay attention to social network sites, so again, it’s a whole new ball game out there. It’s too bad Richard complains but never bothers to enter, because much of the information he talks about people not having is constantly brought up there. One guy mentions a comment about non tendered contracts, and within an hour a lady researches and posts ten different examples and numerous sources.

    That’s really the future, NOT newspaper articles or even blogs. It’s ‘co operative learning’. And I’ve noticed people are REALLY focused when investigating things, and I’ve found that often the recommendations become very obvious simply by the act of investigation. So its not quite as ‘all over the place’ as some may believe. The ‘wall’ is where anybody can post anything, and its true that can get fairly amusing, but none were ever quite as amusing as the Premier saying one thing one week, and the Energy Minister saying something different the next.

  14. I think having electricity cost twice as much as in neighbouring Quebec (or even Vermont, for that matter) will be a significant disincentive for industrial development here.

    It’s a problem that needs to be solved, but honestly, I think the best solution has just vanished on us, and whatever we come up with will be a poor second. Really, for New Brunswick, the only cost-stable solution will be wind, or long-term purchase agreements from Quebec.

  15. richard says:

    ” It’s too bad Richard complains but never bothers to enter, because much of the information he talks about people not having is constantly brought up there.”

    You have no bloody idea whether I have been there or not. I’m not sure what information you are referring to, but to date, there has not been a real alternative provided by any of those opposed to the deal. Now that the HQ deal is gone there is no excuse for Alward or anyone else NOT to produce one. They won’t do that because that would immediately show that there isn’t one that won’t cause rates to leap upwards. If the Facebook mob or anyone else has a real alternative that won’t jack up power rates and screw the poor in this province, produce it. Otherwise, quit quacking.

    Listen to Alward – he is saying that there is no need to increase rates. He is either a fool or being somewhat less than completely honest.

    Claude B above has once again nailed it. Populist crap won’t fix this mess; neither will a bunch of amateurs posing as experts on Facebook.

  16. Samonymous says:

    Wind power is great step in the right direction, but waiting for this government to do anything bold (and sticking to it) seems like an empty hope at best. That doesn’t mean we can’t take personal steps ourselves to minimize our total energy consumption. For instance, standby power (aka phantom power), the power which appliances, computers and household electronics draw when turned off, accounts for almost 10% of your monthly electronic bill according to Natural Resources Canada.

    There’s lots citizens can do at the grassroots level without waiting around for a wishy-washy provincial government to solve all our energy problems.

  17. Ed Hollett says:

    Hydro Quebec has plenty of electricity it can sell into NB as older/costly generation assets in NB are mothballed.

    There isn’t anything else in the marketplace that will be as easy and as cheap to get.

    The only people who wind up screwed in this are New Brunswick consumers. Of course it’s not we haven’t seen hysteria drive a major decision on energy before that ultimately worked against taxpayers.

  18. mikel says:

    Again, as Claude says, the situation is not ‘that’ bad. Quebec hydro is said to be providing power to Vermont with “a price-smoothing mechanism that will shield customers from volatile market spikes over this period”. If they can do that for Vermont, there is no reason they can’t for NB. NBP buys off the market all the time, and again, this is to cover until Lepreau gets back on line, once that happens, then the situation can be revisited.

    There have been ideas out there, Richard just doesn’t LIKE them, and he hasn’t posted anything at the facebook group. Like I’ve said, right now is the time to talk about policy because with the deal gone everything is on the table. I see a fair bit of griping here, but not too many putting any ideas out. I think readers should do some reading on the history of NB Power if they think that for some reason the utility is doomed.

    As for the poor, again, offer rebates, they do that with everything else, from child benefits to HST rebates. There is no reason you can’t do that with energy, and pay for it by increasing taxes. If worried about disincentives, then only increase the taxes on the public service.

    If people wanted to freeze rates and add to debt, then so be it. In the eighties the US was TRILLIONS in deficit, it took Clinton only seven years to reverse that. I’m not too worried about a lack of initiatives coming out of Facebook-I seriously doubt too many will come from here. Graham has said he will be running again, and its a given that Irvings media will stand behind him, so Alward will simply HAVE to come up with SOMETHING. We know Grahams poll numbers were down, but we really don’t know how people are going to vote. Lord got more votes than Graham, but people really don’t know who Alward is, I’m not even sure he speaks french. And for some people its ‘better the devil you know’.

  19. Tom Rivington says:

    I like what Tim Coates said, it was process and not the deal itself, even Mikel (if I may) has had issue with the way this deal was created as opposed to the deal itself.

    I am no fan of either party right now and fixing NB’s energy situation will take some political guts, at least Graham took a chance. How often are we complaining that politicians do nothing? Maybe we need to stop bickering with our Maritime neighbours and start thinking about consolidating policy and energy could be the start.

    I for one am not thrilled with the idea of bolting 10-20 solar panels to my roof and installing a turbine in the backyard. Not to mention the changes that will undoubtedly have to happen at City Hall to allow for turbines, don’t they kill birds? lol.

    Finally, I can’t imagine another topic that will engulf this blog in a fire like the Deal did, I am sure David is thankful that those nutcases may now leave him alone.

  20. richard says:

    “there is no reason they can’t for NB”

    Oh yes I am sure they will be happy to sell power to NB – they already are. That however does not address the NBP debt, nor the costs of servicing that debt. Lepreau will not resolve that issue; assuming Lepreau becomes operational again. Indeed, the costs of supplying replacement power while Lepreau is off-stream simply adds to the debt. There is no getting around the fact that much higher power rates are going to be required, and higher interest rates will push those rates up and up. Debt servicing costs will adversely impact every other phase of NBPs operation, whether it’s maintenance or new generation capacity.

    “There is no reason you can’t do that with energy, and pay for it by increasing taxes.”

    Is that the Facebook solution? Raise taxes? Can we have a referendum on that? Suggesting that NBPs debt be transferred to GNBs debt is something that just will not fly – it won’t fly politically and it won’t fly fiscally. In a province that already has a growing debt load, with more and more tax dollars going into debt servicing, and thus fewer and fewer going into programs, suggesting that we avoid rate increases by adding to debt is just irresponsible. The HQ deal was an opportunity to reduce NBP debt while freeing up capital for re-investment in generation capacity. Now ratepayers will have to bear the entire cost of getting NBP back on its feet.

    “I seriously doubt too many will come from here”

    What, another failure of ‘cooperative learning’?

    “In the eighties the US was TRILLIONS in deficit, it took Clinton only seven years to reverse that”

    What was the growth rate in the US during that period? Are you seriously suggesting that NB is in the same situation? You have no idea what you are talking about. You need some learnin’, dude. NB is in for a world of hurt.

  21. mikel says:

    Absolutely it adds to debt. At this point we don’t know how much. To lump all those things together, the point is that the ‘world of hurt’ is a personal conjecture. Believe the world is ending all you like, NBPower has been in worse situations before. I AM suggesting NB is in the same situation because the economic arena always changes. Because a province or utility is in debt at one point, doesn’t mean it always will be.

    Again, we don’t know what ‘much higher rates’ means. Lepreau has been adding onto its debt, that debt is to be paid down over its renewed lifetime. We don’t know the variables on Lepreau because it hasn’t been resolved, so its silly to talk about the future UNTIL that is resolved.

    I posted before about the Mactaquac dam, it is dirt cheap power and investment (debt) for that won’t be a problem as it is paid off over a long period of time.

    Ironically, at the facebook site, the first person to post a ‘what do we do now’ discussion thread was a guy who all along argued in the group favouring to sell. At the end, he said he was willing to put the past aside and move forward. Good for him, sadly there are some meatheads who got off topic and starting bashing, but again, only a few people.

    The organizations that make up the protest are obviously still in shock. Nobody really expected this, and ‘technically’ their job is done. I suspect some groups will come out of this with a new focus though, again, “we’re in a world of hurt” isn’t exactly constructive. If YOUR solution is “we need much higher rates”, then by all means put THAT out for a referendum. Personally, I think my idea of dumping the huge tax breaks for the wealthy and investing it in the energy file will have MUCH more popular appeal than huge increases.

    Interestingly enough, one thing not mentioned in the media, but mentioned at facebook, was the court case which was to be concluded on March 30 where a guy was using an ‘access to information’ request to get all material on the deal. He was rebuffed earlier by Graham, who said he ‘didn’t have any’, but now was going to the Minister of Energy. I mentioned before about the various court cases, they were rarely mentioned, but its just as likely that they had as much to do with killing the deal as the protests.

    And again, if you recall, me and many others weren’t actually saying to NOT sign the deal (though I still wouldn’t, but that doesnt matter)-they were simply asking for a referendum. I spoke with many people after the second deal was announced, and many really didn’t have a problem with selling the generation. Either way, you can’t ‘blame’ the public for any of this, because the Premiers both say they simply couldn’t work out a deal.

  22. Ram Alain says:

    “I guess we have to take at face value what Jean Charest said on the national news last night”

    Up until the news came from our premier’s lips, everything was hunky dory from the Quebec side, now they can be believed automatically?

    I don’t see why a different reason explaining the deal breaking is so implausible or unthinkable.

  23. mikel says:

    After thinking about it, the reasons why they SAID they couldn’t make a deal was because Quebec wanted ‘assurances’ about Mactaquac and Lepreau. Keir supposedly made statements about not know whether Lepreau would be up and running..

    However, the Mactaquac Dam and Lepreau have been the EXACT same variables since the deal was announced last fall. Nothing has changed at Mactaquac, and while Lepreau is over schedule, it was over schedule last fall. So I’d agree, the reasons they SAY they cancelled the deal really don’t seem that plausible.

  24. richard says:

    “Believe the world is ending all you like, NBPower has been in worse situations before”

    That is incorrect. NBP has never has zero or near-zero equity in its assets; it has never had several billion in debt; it has never had to deal with the refit of a nuclear plant before.

    The world is not ending to be sure. But the poor and working class are going to get screwed before this is over. Much higher power rates are the only way now to get out of this mess. If it was protest that killed the deal and not the issues raised by HQ, then those who fanned the flames of protest should expect the fingers to be pointed at them.

  25. mikel says:

    Uh, you think they built a nuclear reactor in the seventies that ALREADY had equity before they started? How many dams have you seen built where accounting has built the equity into a construction project BEFORE it began? There was no equity in EITHER project when they started. And like any loan, at the beginning you are paying off mostly interest.

    It depends what you mean by ‘screwed’. If you own an apartment and your rates go up, that gets passed on to the residents. Thats ‘economics’, not ‘getting screwed’. And again, there are easy ways to address that, if its NOT addressed, its not the problem of those who fought this deal. Likewise, as I’ve said, the rate freeze was only five years, so there is NO evidence that within an eight year window people wouldn’t have the same increases under either scenario.

    It’s nice to see Richard so concerned about the poor though, they have bigger problems than this right NOW that could use your support.

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