David Vardy, former Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board, spoke on April 30th, 2014 at a Frontier Centre for Public Policy luncheon concerning the alarming parallels between over-ambitious and risky hydro projects in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. The speaking notes and powerpoint presentation for his talk, are available below.
His talk was entitled: Regulatory Oversight of Energy Megaprojects in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba: A Tale of Two Debacles. Vardy said both provinces need a robust regulatory regime with a strong PUB, empowered to ensure that system planning is being undertaken, to review all capital expenditures and to monitor expenditures to ensure that they are not included in the rate base if they are not confirmed to be “prudent”.
Both Nalcor Energy and Manitoba Hydro should be fully regulated. Oversight should be strengthened as well by improving access to information legislation and allowing unfettered access by the Auditor General. Public utility boards should be strengthened to rectify the unbalanced relationship between crown corporations and the boards responsible for their oversight. Such rebalancing will support civic engagement and improve the functioning of our democratic institutions.