Across Europe and North America people are being encouraged to save energy, to reduce consumption and to take remedial action to make their homes more energy efficient. Here Newfoundland Power promotes their Take Charge program ‘Learn how to save money and energy with takeCHARGE rebates and programs.’ And based on the prospect of rates at least doubling the residents of Newfoundland Labrador have been looking at option to reduce their use of electricity to lessen the impact.
But hold on, Jim Haynes President, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Siobhan Coady Minister of Natural Resources have a different message for us. For the second time recently, I have read comments in media reports about our pending electricity rate hikes that I find hard to comprehend.
First, the media reported the following from the PUB hearing April 23rd “While Browne suggested everyone should get heat pumps, Haynes said the more power left unused by local consumers, the more will have to be sold off the island at lower rates — which would likely mean rising electricity costs for everyone.”
And the second in The Western Star May 5th “Both Haynes and Coady mentioned greater electrification of public buildings and finding ways to encourage people to stay on the electrical system as power rates rise, and add more onto the local system.” “Generally speaking, Haynes said, the more energy used on the island the better.”
So even though they have sent residents into a panic about rate increases, they are adding insult to injury by suggesting that we not reduce our energy consumption but instead we should go against the rest of the world and increase our energy consumption.
Does this mean that NL Power should stop the Take Charge program, that the government’s 9-million-dollar Provincial Government Home Energy Savings Programs (HESP) will be cancelled, that contractors should stop upgrading insulation and windows, does this mean that home and small business micro hydro projects will not be supported or permitted to sell power back into the grid?
I know we love to be different here, but in this case, it borders on the ridiculous. When costs are increasing our natural reaction is to do something, but instead we are being guilted into doing nothing because if we act it will make the situation worse. So very soon we will live in the only jurisdiction in the developed world were wasting energy to keep rates down will be encouraged.