Yes, we are all grumbling about the unbelieveable increases in electricity in New Brunswick. I own a big old, electricity-heated house and am bracing for the winter.
But I am not talking about residential. NB Power’s bungling (Orimulsion, Lepreau, etc.) will push up power rates for industrial customers. And that’s our jobs. That hits us where it hurts.
Smurfit-Stone mentioned the increasing cost of energy as a reason for shutting down the Bathurst plant. UPM Kymmene the same in Miramichi. And now I read that that the company that produces potash is grumbling about the high energy costs in New Brunswick in their SEC filings.
Some of this may not even be NB Power. It may be natural gas or bunker C or some other form of energy. It doesn’t matter much. Energy costs used to be a major New Brunswick advantage and now these costs are being cited by multinational firms as a problem in New Brunswick.
I think it’s too late to fix NB Power. We will just have to get used (residents and businesses) to paying some of the highest costs for electicity in Canada.
What that means for economic development is clear. The days of the electricity guzzling mills and factors are going by the wayside. We will need to attract white collar industries that use very little power.
That’s a shame as it will hit rural NB the hardest.
But nobody lost their job over Orimulsion and Saint John has its 700 jobs. So we should all be happy, I guess.