Seek­ing af­ford­able, com­pet­i­tive power

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Editorial -

Ed­i­tor:

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

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