Power system reliability pre- and post-Muskrat Falls to be investigated
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) has decided its ongoing power system review will look at immediate concerns for ratepayers on the island of Newfoundland, but also what the province’s power system will look like in terms of reliability after power from Labrador starts to be fed to island customers.
Danny Dumaresque is pictured at the Public Utilities Board (PUB) pre-hearing conference in this Telegram file photo.
The entire process will come in two parts, with the review as a whole completed in early 2015.
The PUB will first tackle the immediate needs of the power system and issues arising out of rolling blackouts and unplanned outages experienced in early January.
“These issues include a review of the system events, evaluation of possible changes to the Island Interconnected system to enhance preparedness for the upcoming winter seasons, and an examination of each utility’s response to the power outages,” notes a PUB press release.
That first piece of work will result in an interim report, expected in mid-May.
Then, the regulatory body will dive into larger issues around reliability of the province’s power system beyond 2016 — something Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro representatives had objected to in a pre-hearing conference.
“I’m very happy with the scope of the hearings. I’m looking forward to drilling into it and looking for the accountability so many people are looking for,” said Danny Dumaresque, speaking with The Telegram this afternoon.
Dumaresque, who was also pleased with his continued recognition as an intervenor, said while Muskrat Falls-related questions are important in discussing the future of the provincial electricity system, assurance immediate needs will be met through 2016 is also a significant piece of work.
“And timing is of the essence, because we want to make sure we’ve got a report that will outline some of the remedies that will demand accountability from Hydro to have implemented in time for the 2014-2015 winter,” he said.
Dumaresque noted an obvious help, an addition to the system of a 60 MW turbine generator, has yet to be officially applied for to the PUB.
At the same time, Hydro has already been providing the PUB with responses to requests for information around this winter’s outages. The data is required for the regulator to complete its interim report — setting out the plan for the winter to come.
The PUB has provided a rough schedule of the work ahead. The schedule is as follows:
• February to March 2014 — Investigation and information gathering.
• March 24, 2014 — Final reports on January outage events from Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.
• April 24, 2014 — Interim report from PUB-hired consultants at The Liberty Consulting Group≥
• May 15, 2014 — Interim report of PUB.
• June to December 2014 — Public hearing process: requests for information; written and oral evidence of the utilities, intervenors and PUB consultants; public presentations and written and oral submissions (exact dates of hearings to be determined).
• First quarter 2015 — Final report of the PUB.