The Telegram (St. John's)



My working life has all been spent in the electric utility business.

After graduation, my first position was in the system planning department of a major electric and gas utility in Illinois.

Back then, the analog computer we used at the university for system studies took up an entire room.

Technology advances but electrical principles and basics don’t change.

These were early days and planners had just began to widen their vision to look beyond their own company’s jurisdicti­on. An important first step took place when the Illmo pool was created sharing the most efficient generating units in the states of Illinois and Missouri.

Today that basic concept has grown and has resulted in the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), an agreement whereby U.S. electrical utilities have the right to transmit energy over each other’s transmissi­on systems.

Thus power can be sold by a generating utility company anywhere in America, to a customer anywhere else in the lower 48 states whose lines are connected to the grid. Legal and working agreements provide a win-win situation for both seller and buyer with prices set by a principle of avoided cost. The system works and has been in practice now for about 30 years. Let’s now look homeward. We came together as a nation to build a railway, connected with steel from sea to sea. Subsequent­ly our Trans Canada Highway added another vital connection.

Time now to further join us all together with a power corridor.

The infrastruc­ture is all in place, save for some upgrading of existing transmissi­on lines. What is needed now is the co-operation of all provinces to strike a PURPA-LIKE arrangemen­t.

Yes, there will be mountains of legalities to ensure fairness, equalizati­on and a greater good. A bold step indeed.

Let’s hear no more about the Atlantic Loop.

Let’s instead, trumpet the trans Canada power corridor.

Just imagine, all of the power available from the mighty Churchill, (including Muskrat), feeding into this grid and being bought in Ontario or Alberta or wherever. Transmissi­on line interconne­ctions to the U.S. are already in place and will provide access to the world’s greatest marketplac­e. Provinces and states can avoid the mega-billion costs required to build their own huge generating plants, by opting to purchase power from the national network.

Power rich provinces of Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundla­nd and Labrador can take care of our nation’s needs for many years into the future. Right here at home we have one of the world’s largest sources of self-sustaining green energy. This interconne­cted Canadian power system will further increase the prosperity of our nation. Equally, it will further bind us as a proud nation, providing equality and fairness for all Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Andrew Furey, make this happen.

Eric Cumby St. John’s

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