PEI Energy Minister drops $220 million bombshell in Legislature

PEI Energy Accord will cost $185 million more than announced

Energy Minister Richard Brown, $220 million is not real debt. This is Brown’s "I know I’m wrong but not giving in" look. 

PEI Energy Minister Richard Brown dropped a $220 million bombshell on Islanders when he admitted in the Legislature yesterday the PEI Energy Accord will cost $185 million more.
Islanders are projected to save about $40 over 20 months on their light bills. Premier Ghiz wants us to believe that borrowing $220 million is a “smart energy” move.

Last week, the Liberal government said it had achieved a 14% reduction in Islander’s light bills by loaning $35 million to Maritime Electric. We didn’t believe the deal was sound and called it “funny money.” PEI Government to reduce electricity bills

The Conservative opposition didn’t like the deal either.  Energy critic Mike Currie pressed Energy Minister Brown in the Legislature and got Brown to admit the loans and debt were much higher, almost 7 times more.
CBC reports “Currie said the government glossed over the costs of the deal with Maritime Electric, the province’s principal electricity provider.
Those costs include $47 million in charges for replacement power while Point Lepreau is being refurbished, $45 million for a third power cable to the mainland, and the costs of 30 megawatts of wind power.
“That adds up to $220 million. That’s something the premier of this province forgot to tell people last week,” said Currie. 
“We’ve got to finance that now to pay for his 14 per cent promise of a reduction in rates, when I think the industry itself was going to give us 10 per cent anyway.” CBC
In his ongoing attempt to strain the credulity of Islander’s, Premier Ghiz said “But this is not affecting the books of the government of Prince Edward Island. Most of this money will be guaranteed by the province, and it’s not a part of the debt.”
Ghiz pointed to his own legislation that allows Maritime Electric a markup of 9.75% on all costs, including interest.
This reminds us of the sad but funny joke related a decade ago by the CEO of Allegheny Power “How do you increase profits in an electrical utility? Redecorate the board room.”
Ghiz hopes to relieve that by borrowing money for Maritime Electric. Perhaps next he will suggest Islanders pay Maritime Electric’s rent, give them government credit cards for gas, and put their employees on the government payroll.
The illogical plans of Premier Ghiz are truly “funny money.”
If the government weren’t so inept, we’d continue to suggest they purchase Maritime Electric. However, like many Islanders we are 100% sure the government is incapable of managing a utility.

With story from CBC. We’d go to the Legislature and report these stories directly but last year the CBC, Guardian and CFCY journalists (with two exceptions) voted to have us kicked out of the Legislature. A Human Rights complaint has been filed to redress this flagrant abuse of our right to report the news to you.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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