One of the things out of the NB Power process that I was most confused by was how people with absolutely no expertise in electricity, electricity markets, capital cost assessment, risk assessment, etc. all of a sudden became instant – and seemingly credible experts – on all of these issues.
For example, one of the best asset valuation companies Macquarie was asked with coming up with a valuation of NB Power’s assets. Yet an academic with not a whiff of training in asset valuation and that as far as I know couldn’t even explain a balance sheet was given equal time and considered a serious expert on the issues.
And Lisa Keenan today with her rather snarky rub-it-in editorial in the TJ pulling a quote from Vermont about their upcoming power deal with HQ. All of a sudden Lisa Keenan is an expert in power pricing, asset valuation and electricity markets.
Some may not have noticed but I have tried to base my analysis on th expert opinion. I put serious stock in Bill Marshall’s comments. I saw value in the NERA report. I had at least some faith in the Macquarie asset valuation.
I also took the negative comments from experts seriously. The guy from Maine made interesting points although he seemed to be more interested in the impact on Maine than on New Brunswick (from his comments in the Maine media).
But, quite frankly, I can’t get my head around accepting as fact the musings of pundits, academics and journalists that have no formal expertise or knowledge of these issues. I resisted this temptation – even though some of the criticism made some ‘intuitive’ sense.
Just a final point on Keenan’s column. She is giddy and puffed up about this. I think that is short sighted. As rates go up, if companies exit the province – there will be a lot of fingers pointed her way. I realize this stuff doesn’t stick. It’s all polemics and academics. I will likely be able to afford my power bill as will Keenan. The personal impact on both her and I will be minimal. And that’s unfortunate in a way. The people (like myself and Keenan) that spilled so much ink over this deal really have no skin in the game – although a lot of my clients were dead set against this deal. I hope they will agree we had a good faith disagreement on this one.