Final comment on Lepreau – for now

Don’t you think that NB Power is a textbook case for the privatization of the energy industry? I know the problems they had in Ontario and Alberta. I realize the shenanigans that went on in the U.S. I even realize that Nova Scotians are blaming the quasi-privatization of NS Power for the damage inflicted by the ice storms in that province.

But look at NB Power. Not very long ago it offered one of the lowest power rates to both business and consumers. It’s Lepreau plant won awards. Electricity was one of New Brunswick’s top exports. Wow. Now, power rates are skyrocketing. Lepreau is a black eye regardless of which decision is made. The Orimulsion scandal – on a scaled basis – is the most damaging miscalculation of any provincial power utility in Canada – probably in history (interesting that no one was fired or even reprimanded for that miscue). And to top that off – it seems that every decision made by the utility is based on ‘political’ considerations. Imagaine that. NB Power is in serious trouble and it still has to make decisions based on politics.

I think it’s time to bring in Emera – the publicly traded company that runs – the regulated – NS Power. Sell them NB Power. Rather, ask them how much money New Brunswick would have to pay to give them NB Power – as by any measurement with NB Power’s debt load – no one would buy them.

Bill Belliveau suggests in his T&T column this weekend that the Lord government bring in Bruce Power out of Ontario to retrofit and run Lepreau. I say why stop at that? We have got to get the politics out of the power – before we truly get zapped.

When you mix a government notorious for its inability to make decisions with a situation like NB Power that calls for bold leadership – you get a recipe for disaster.

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