Seeking affordable, competitive power
The article (Oct. 14) from Mr. O’Brien, president of Maritime Electric, and his additional wind energy news this week are the first responses from Maritime Electric since the initial reactions to the IRAC approval of a new pricing structure in March of this year. Credit to Mr. O’Brien for responding to Islanders’ requests for explanations and informing us that it is Maritime Electric’s intention to accept more Island-generated energy. However, there are a number of questions raised in Mr. O’Brien’s Oct. 14 article which is disappointing considering the request from Islanders for clarity. Mr. O’Brien refers loosely to his energy purchase agreement with New Brunswick Power without specifics. Shouldn’t he have explained why his company hasn’t shown more aggression in accommodating cheaper wind energy when he can purchase wind energy at 8c/kwh yet charges customers over 14c/kwh? After all, the original plan was to have the ‘Request for a Proposal’ for additional wind power issued during 2008 and build contracts awarded by now. With his announcement on Monday, Mr. O’Brien has confirmed that we will not see the benefit of lower cost wind energy until Oct. 2012 — two years later than planned.
We are also left to guess why he cannot purchase Island-generated energy during the early morning lowenergy demand periods. Presumably his agreement with New Brunswick Power requires a minimum demand but does it prevent Maritime Electric from having a time-of-day tariff to encourage Islanders to alter their usage pattern? After all, Summerside Electric Utility has already declared an intention to offer a time-of-day tariff. It is also disappointing that Mr. O’Brien continues the ‘ping-pong’ monologue referring to “ working with government.” Does he need reminding that Maritime Electric is finally responsible for the supply and pricing of our electricity?
What we need from Maritime Electric is to stop blaming New Brunswick Power, our government, Point Lepreau, world oil price, intermittent wind, and perhaps the new player — Hydro Quebec — and take positive and decisive measures to reduce the price of Island electricity.
Mr. O’Brien, Islanders need public proof that you have an energetic focus on providing competitive and affordable electricity. Roger King, Hunter River