Don’t rush Muskrat Falls development
How many of you listened to the Muskrat Falls debate on VOCM Radio last week?
If you did, I’m sure you heard Natural Resouces Minister Jerome Kennedy say at least two or three times if Muskrat Falls is developed the average household electric bill will increase by about $15 per month.
Mr. Kennedy and Premier Kathy Dunderdale have said dozens of times that our electricity rates will be somewhere between 14.2 cents per kilowatt hour to as much as 18 or 19 per kilowatt hour. That’s without overruns, which are sure to happen.
If you burn 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, as most families with electric heat will burn during winter months, and for argument’s sake we’ll be paying 15.4 cents per kilowatt hour, then our electric bill will be costing us $100 a month plus tax more than we’re presently paying. That tells me Mr. Kennedy isn’t very good at math, or at least his advisors aren’t. That leads to another question – can we trust any of these figures?
It’s puzzling to me as to why Mr. Kennedy is saying that the average household bill will only increase by about $75 per month. Even if our rate increased one cent per kilowatt hour, the average household (2,000 kilowatt per hour) would be increased by more than $20 per month. Is he just trying to make it sound as no big deal to people that aren’t really paying attention.
Once again I’m urging people, and especially seniors and others on fixed incomes, to start thinking about this. It’s going to be too late when you find yourselves with electricity bills that have increased by $100 per month or more. Voice your opinions any way you can. Phone or write your MHA, Mr. Kennedy or Premier Dunderdale.
Muskrat Falls is going to cost $6 or $7 billion dollars without overruns. It’s anyone’s guess how much more. Government is saying it’s the cheapest choice there is for the power we need. Just how true is this? How many other sources have they studied?
The wind farm at St. Lawrence costs approximately $50 million dollars. It produces enough electricity to supply 7,000 homes. It would take seven such wind farms to replace the Holyrood power supply so I’ve been told by a reliable source. That’s a cost of approximately $350 million.
We could build 20 such wind farms for just $1 billion, enough electricity to supply 140,000 homes. That should keep us from having blackouts by the year 2015 as Mr. Kennedy predicts if we don’t do something about our power supply. We could probably build 40 such wind farms and still save $4 or $5 billion compared to the Muskrat development.
Government says that wind farms are too risky, because there could be shortage of wind at times. I figure that should be a very minimal worry here on this island. There are dozens and dozens of wind farms all across Canada and I’m sure they’re doing fine or we would hear about it in the news. The power supply at Holyrood could be kept as an emergency supply. Government is already saying we’ll need one. So why not keep Holyrood intact for use when needed?
Premier Dunderdale and Mr. Kennedy are saying that our electricity rates will be going up just as much without the Muskrat development as it will with it. The reason they say that is because of the increase in oil prices. I’ve obtained figures on this also and really there seems to be very little comparison between the two. Since 1999, the price of oil has increased by a staggering 450 per cent. During the same period, our electricity rates have only increased 53 per cent. That’s approximately the percentage that our government says our rates are going to increase in the next four to five years. I believe some predictions need to be checked, especially if past figures are indications of future ones.
This development doesn’t need to be rushed. The history books can wait. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this, but one thing I do know for sure. If the Muskrat development goes ahead, the average household will be paying much more than an extra $15 per month. It will be more than $100 per month. A lot of seniors will spend a lot of days suffering from cold. That’s very sad in a ‘ have’ province. What do you think? Should we be paying for this monstrous project? Bernard Brake, Spanish Room