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Letters about NB Power[edit]

Daily Gleaner March 17, 2010 Letters to the Editor

'Protect New Brunswick'

Re: Sale of NB Power assets

Proponents and opponents of the proposal to sell NB Power's generating assets to Quebec can argue all day about their respective assumptions.

But three of the many arguments against the proposed deal are not subjective.

These arguments, which highlight the most irresponsible actions of the Liberal party, are:

  • New Brunswick's EUB will lose control of the energy component of your electricity bill - forever.

Why? The MOU states the initial electric energy rates and the method of escalation for each customer class. Simply put, no role remains for the EUB to regulate the kw/h component in New Brunswick.

All the EUB will do to offset inflation is deny NB Power the rate increases it needs to operate, maintain and expand the transmission and distribution systems.

  • Tying the energy component to CPI is irresponsible.

Why? During years of extraordinary inflation, Quebec will not release New Brunswickers from rate increases. Hydro Quebec will profit handsomely as the cost of producing hydro-electricity is not related to CPI. Again, the EUB will be impotent.Annual increases to perpetuity compound to perpetuity.

  • The Liberal party has not been released from its 2006 election promise that it would not sell NB Power.

Why? Release from an election promise can only be granted by referendum or election. Clearly this release has not been bestowed by voters.

The Liberal party did not promise it would "not sell NB Power except for, oh, 10 generating stations."

Therefore, no sale, in whole or in part, was implied.

Do what the EUB cannot.

Do what your Liberal MLA will not.

Protect New Brunswick.

Steve Wilcox



'It's a Matter of Trust'

Re: Sale of NB Power assets

The best way to explain the problem with the sale of New Brunswick's utility is to present a story as an analogy.

Imagine that the premier shares a number of assets with his wife. They include a home, cottage, a small business and a quantity of land.

Unbeknownst to him, the premier's wife brokers a deal to sell all their assets, and then, without warning, comes home and announces this.

Puzzled, he wonders what possessed her to do this without consulting him? She responds that she is concerned about their debt. He learns that the individual with whom she has been negotiating, Joe Shady, is less than reputable.

She also informs him that the deal must be signed very soon.

"What's the hurry?" he asks.

The answer is that a deal could cause them to lose a small percentage in the selling price.

He asks if other potential buyers were contacted to which there is no clear answer.

The premier tries to be understanding but "worry" starts to set in. He wasn't consulted, he knows the buyer has fleeced a family member in another deal and the process seems terribly rushed.

Furthermore, she seems to be unwilling to disclose all the details of the proposed sale. He finds himself questioning the sincerity of his wife.

Does she have an alternative motive?

Realizing that the premier is unhappy, and in an effort to get him to sign off on the deal, Mrs. Premier renegotiates the deal with Joe Shady.

Again, she surprises him with an announcement that she has a new deal.

This time, only the business and the land is included in the deal. Again, not consulted, rushed, lacking details and still uncomfortable with Joe Shady, the premier is very upset.

His wife's lack of respect for his opinion drives him to start thinking of divorce.

Frustrated, Mrs. Premier says, "OK. Have your say but we're not changing the deal."

Just like the premier in this fictional example, many of the people of New Brunswick feel disrespected, rushed, uninformed, and worried about the proposed buyer.

It could very well turn out that there will be a divorce in the premier's real life, a divorce from the people of New Brunswick in the next election.

Seems it's a matter of trust.

Rex Tracy