Advice worth taking
Premier Dwight Ball says he doesn’t need advice on how to keep people’s power bills affordable (“Premier says he doesn’t need Progressive Conservatives’ advice on power rates,” The Telegram, July 26). The people I’ve been hearing from this summer disagree.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are barely coping in the Ball Liberals’ high-tax economy, and fear they soon won’t be able to pay for power. The premier has pledged power bills won’t double, but after three years, he has failed to deliver a rate mitigation plan that will make this possible. He can’t even provide a target power price that he expects people to pay.
It’s time to bring this discussion out from behind closed doors and find solutions people can trust.
That’s why I am advising the premier to refer the issues of rate mitigation to the Public Utilities Board, where ratepayer representatives can have their voices heard and the best plan of action can be developed openly to ensure power is affordable.
This approach has several advantages over the secretive approach the Ball Liberals have taken.
First, it’s public. The Public Utilities Board does its business in the open, not in the back rooms where the discussions are now presumably occurring.
Second, it’s evidence based. Every claim can be challenged on the facts. Experts can sift through the options to find those that stand up to scrutiny best.
Third, it’s nonpartisan. The partisan tone of the premier’s approach is unhelpful. The focus here should be electrical power, not political power.
Only by taking politics out of the equation can we restore people’s confidence that the primary concern is making their electricity affordable.
A referral to the PUB will lead to an impartial recommendation that will give the government the plan of action it does not have. It will give people the comfort of knowing precisely what will be done to make their power rates affordable.
That’s advice worth taking, premier.
Ches Crosbie, leader
PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador