Chill­ing times ahead

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial -

Do you have your wood stacked and dried for win­ter? Have you called the propane com­pany to be sure the tank for your propane fire­place is full be­fore the win­ter rush starts?

Maybe you should.

Last week, news started sur­fac­ing about a late Au­gust re­port for the Pub­lic Util­i­ties Board pre­pared by util­ity con­sul­tants Lib­erty Con­sult­ing, that warned that plans to sup­ply the prov­ince with re­call power car­ried the new Labrador Is­land Link (LIL).

The link sim­ply wouldn’t be ready in time, and the re­port cau­tioned that older gen­er­a­tion equip­ment like the Holy­rood Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion might not be up to the task of sup­ply­ing the power needed for win­ter heat.

In the Au­gust re­port, Lib­erty said that the com­mis­sion­ing date for the LIL had been pushed back from the end of Oc­to­ber, but that, “Hy­dro and Nal­cor rep­re­sen­ta­tives were un­will­ing to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about LIL sched­ule de­tails suf­fi­cient to per­mit a realis­tic LIL in-ser­vice date. Nev­er­the­less, what we have learned sup­ports a con­clu­sion that the LIL is un­likely to be re­li­ably in com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion at the start of the win­ter.”

Tues­day, Sept. 18, Nal­cor boss Stan Mar­shall said the com­pany was do­ing what it could to have the line in ser­vice as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Not ev­ery­one’s as con­fi­dent.

Now there’s an even newer Lib­erty Con­sult­ing re­port, and Nal­cor man­age­ment have given the PUB a new in-ser­vice date to re­place the planned midNovem­ber one. (The orig­i­nal plan was to have the line in ser­vice by July 1.)

And the news isn’t good.

The Sept. 10 sta­tus re­port from Lib­erty says,

“Af­ter our Au­gust meet­ings with them, man­age­ment ad­vised that the com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion date was de­layed to Jan, 1, 2019.”

Good news, right? Af­ter all, the cold­est weather doesn’t of­ten hit be­fore Jan­uary.

Well, no.

The new re­port cau­tions that re­li­able power on the new line might not be avail­able for the en­tire win­ter. “Our Aug. 30, 2018 re­port on Power Sup­ply Ad­e­quacy for Win­ter of 2018-2019 dis­cusses our rea­sons for con­clud­ing that the LIL will not likely reach a state war­rant­ing a dec­la­ra­tion of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion by the start of this win­ter. More­over, even if it does, we be­lieve it very likely that it will not op­er­ate fully re­li­ably in its early months - i.e., the re­main­der of the com­ing win­ter sea­son.” Chill­ing, hey?

So, what’s caus­ing the prob­lem?

Well, prob­lems with a crit­i­cal sup­plier. “Gen­eral Elec­tric con­tin­ues to miss dead­lines af­fect­ing the work of the tran­si­tion team,” Lib­erty writes in its lat­est re­port. “We con­tinue to see Gen­eral Elec­tric’s per­for­mance as a ma­jor sched­ule threat. Con­tin­ued de­lays in the com­ple­tion of con­struc­tion re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties have cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment that ap­pears to make sched­ule slips ex­pected and tolerated.”

What’s it all mean?

Maybe stack a lit­tle more of that wood, folks.

The new re­port cau­tions that re­li­able power on the new line might not be avail­able for the en­tire win­ter.

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