Selling of electrical utilities is becoming of a common occurrence in the news this month. When the common opinion is to never sell anything one must take a look a the pros and cons of every situation. Like all situations it will prove to be devastating if careful consideration is not taken.
Part 1: NB Power to Hydro-Quebec
I really like this plan. Not only is it a short term win for New Brunswick it is good in the long term too. In the spirit of the 1920’s when NB Power was created to protect New Brunswick from the scheming of several private hydro utilities the were ripping off everybody in New Brunswick. It was to be decided then that a public utility was the way to go. Hydro-Quebec is such a utility that values affordability and the environment. This agreement to match the wholesale industrial rates is guaranteed to be a personal benefit since I live in Saint John and my power is provided by Saint John Energy a large local wholesale buyer.
Which brings us to…
Part 2: Mayor Ivan Court is trying to see if the city can sell-off Saint John Energy.
What a really terrible idea! Saint John Energy has always been there with its solid purpose of not making a profit and running a lean operation to benefit all (err.. most) Saint Johners. In fact Fredericton, Moncton or any other community should operate their own micro utility. Small Utilities are really good at being responsive to their customers, while generation and distribution is best left to the large utilities. It puts most the risk of people defaulting on payments to their communities and leave a steadier cash flow of the large companies. To end this post I would like to leave with a comparison of how residential rates break down for the three utilities.
Saint John Energy: 8.98 ¢/kWh
NB Power: 9.69 ¢/kWh
Hydro-Quebec: 5.45 – 7.46 ¢/kWh