Province misses deadline for independent electrical review

James
James McLeod
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Only ‘slight delay,’ Dalley says

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said the government will start its review of the electrical system soon, and it is dealing with only a “slight delay.”

At the same time, he wouldn’t put a timeline on how much longer it will take, now that the government has blown the original six-week deadline it set for itself.

“I can’t give you a time frame because if I do, and I don’t quite get there, then you’re coming back again,” Dalley said. “That’s not fair to you or to me.”

Back on Jan. 9, in the fallout of rolling blackouts and a solid week of power disruptions, then-premier Kathy Dunderdale promised an independent review of the province’s electrical system, including the role of the Public Utilities Board (PUB).

The provincial review was on top of a PUB inquiry already announced, and a third review being done internally by Nalcor Energy.

At the time, Dunderdale promised that the government would draw up terms of reference and announce details of the review within six weeks, but six weeks later — Thursday, Feb. 20 — came and went with no announcement.

It was only Wednesday of this week when the PUB released the outline of its inquiry, and Dalley said he’d been waiting to see that before he made any firm decisions.

“These things are really expensive. I’ve got no idea what the PUB review is going to cost,” he said. “So we’ve got to be cognizant of all of that stuff when we make our own decisions. I don’t want to duplicate it.”

But Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said as far as he’s concerned, Dalley should abandon the independent review altogether.

“Let the independent review be done by the PUB, and just step aside, get out of their way and let them do their work,” Ball said. “There’s no added value to what the Department of Natural Resources is going to bring to this.”

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael was similarly unconvinced about Dalley’s proposed review.

She said she’s not too bothered by the government missing the six-week deadline, though, so long as they explain why.

“I think what’s important is that they’re accountable. So I don’t mind a deadline being missed if government announces that it’s going to be missed and why it’s being missed,” she said. “Everybody can understand a deadline being missed, but they don’t understand silence about that.”

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Public Utilities Board, Department of Natural Resources

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Recent comments

  • The more things change
    February 21, 2014 - 09:38

    Typical Tory spin and should we expect anything less. They are great at talking the talk, but they sure can't walk the walk. Maybe when someone buys the Premiership, seeing its up for sale, they'll hire a new spin company. Tens years is enough of this garbage. Premier Tommy sure didn't waste anytime with the give-aways. Its the Golden Age don't you know!

  • darrell
    February 21, 2014 - 08:11

    Derek…."you can't tell"? And you're still thinking about running for the leadership? Wow! You must think we are nuts.

  • Maurice E.. Adams
    February 21, 2014 - 08:03

    For Dwight Ball to say that government should just "get out of their way and let them do their work" is being disingenuous in the extreme. Mr Ball knows all too well that the PUB has been exempted from doing a full, comprehensive, 'independent' review of the need for, etc. of Muskrat Falls, so to say that government should just "step aside", to not review the role of the PUB, is to also say keep the PUB excluded -- keep Muskrat Falls exempted from the role of the PUB, keep them out of the nuts and bolts of Muskrat Falls. Is that what the Official Opposition stands for?

  • JD
    February 21, 2014 - 07:46

    If the Public Utilities Board (PUB) regulates our public utilities under the set laws of the province, then under what Acts or Bills did the Premier's Office remove that responsibility from the PUB? Thanks.

    • Maurice E. Adams
      February 21, 2014 - 09:59

      I would need to review the legislation, but the Cabinet (by Order in Council) has the authority (under the Electrical Power Control Act, I think it is) to exempt the PUB from most if not all of its roles and responsibilities related to various projects (which is what has been done for Muskrat Falls, and since the government has ordered NL Hydro to build a $300 million transmission line for Alderon, the PUB's so-called review of the costs and rate setting is essentially an after-the-fact crumb ---- mere window dressing).

  • Maurice E. Adams
    February 21, 2014 - 06:45

    Since government has previously tied the hands of and severely restricted and limited the role of the PUB in anything related to the Muskrat Falls project, why would the opposition be against government taking a second look at the role of the PUB. Surely, if it is to be 'independent', that could very well result in a recommendation that the PUB's role should be expanded and not so frivolously interfered with by government.

  • Concerned
    February 21, 2014 - 06:04

    “These things are really expensive. I’ve got no idea what the PUB review is going to cost,” Derek Dalley The problem with this government is that they can not tell the difference between a penny and a dollar. They are more concerned with the terms and cost of these reviews than what they were of Muskrat Falls itself. This is insulting.