The NB Power Debacle

Posted on February 18, 2010 by

The latest headlines quotes Jeannot Volpe, a Conservative MLA and former Energy Minister, as saying that selling NB Power to HydroQuebec is a better plan than the status quo.

I have sat on the sidelines on this, mainly because I don’t know enough about everything, which is of course the fault of those in government who went through this whole deal-making process in secret meetings.

So how do I feel about it?

I have an issue with the fact they didn’t offer NB Power to the highest bidder. That to me is a major flaw in their plan. Other than that, I’m not sure what all the hoopla is about.

NB Power is not some great provincial landmark, it is a company and an asset. Yes, it employs New Brunswickers. Great. HydroQuebec will also need to employ New Brunswickers. The good employees will be kept on, the rest will need to find work elsewhere. It happens every day in business.

Let’s look at the facts:

NBTel is gone, so is Aliant. You can now send your bill payments to Bell in Ontario.

Fundy Cable is gone. Now you send your cable TV payments to Rogers or Bell or Shaw, either in Ontario or Alberta.

I pay my cell phone bill to Telus, a company based in Alberta and BC, because they offered me a better deal than Bell and have much better coverage than Rogers in my area.

My car payment goes to Toyota, a company from Japan.

What is the big deal about sending my power bill to HydroQuebec?

I don’t care where I mail my power bill payment, as long as I get the best rates possible. If NB Power can’t provide the best rates possible, I have no problem with finding someone better.

I am not convinced that selling NBPower is good or bad, but I am convinced that as a consumer in the current economic model we live under, if you shop at WalMart or Zellers or the Dollar Stores or Big Box stores, you support the principal of buying cheap rather than supporting the idea of buying local or high quality products. What is the difference?

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