Mayo project raises plenty of questions

Mayo project raises plenty of questions Open Letter to Jim Kenyon, minister responsible for Yukon Energy/Yukon Development corporations: Our organization read the article in Monday's News by James Munson, Yukon Gets $71 Million For Hydro Upgrades.

Open Letter to Jim Kenyon, minister responsible for Yukon Energy/Yukon Development corporations:

Our organization read the article in Monday’s News by James Munson, Yukon Gets $71 Million For Hydro Upgrades.

This reporter explains how the governments of the day plan to construct some important electrical infrastructure (the Mayo B hydro dam and the connection of the grid from Pelly to Stewart) in the near-term.

The political campaigners make an attempt at explaining how these very expensive projects, likely exceeding $160 million (that’s six digits, Martha) when all is said and done, will be handled so that there will be “no exposure to ratepayers.” Ha!

David Morrison, extremely well-paid CEO (another issue), explains how this money will magically appear.

He then goes on to tell us there will be no impact on ratepayers and that the project is already being surveyed and made ready for construction next month.

What he and his superiors failed to tell us is that:

There is a very important stage of these highly costly projects that has been left out.

Pursuant

to Sections 37 to 40 of the Public Utilities Act,

“No person shall construct a regulated project except in accordance with an energy project certificate.

“An application for such shall be made to the minister and shall contain the prescribed information.

“On receipt of the application, the minister shall refer the application to the board for a review.”

In other words, before commencement of construction they need to bring the feasibility of this project before the regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board.

Pat Duncan and her regime bypassed this process with their Mayo-to-Dawson transmission line and look what type of fiasco took place.

Where is the cost/benefit analysis of these two projects to see if they make sense, or is this “build it and they will come?”

With the world economy down the tubes, where will the mining companies receive financing to go on with their projects, or who will they sell their minerals to?

Are the “pie in the sky” electrical sales to these industrial customers even on the books for the proposed 2011 completion of these projects?

In other words, are these mines going to be open for business by this date? And will these mines pay for some of this electrical infrastructure? Where are the agreements to provide industrial infrastructure money or purchase power contracts?

Even with $71 million from Ottawa, there remain another $90 million to fulfil your pipe dream.

If First Nation or other private financing takes place, will they not expect a return on their investments?

Where will this return come from? Or will this go on the rate base and have the regular firm residential customers on the hook, like normal (no ratepayer impact, correct?).

Can the territorial government or Yukon Development Corporation afford this $90 million, or even the major part of it?

Will residential ratepayers be allowed to access new power at the same rates as the mines to use this clean energy to heat their homes, cook and preserve their food, etc., or does this concept remain taboo for your government?

The Yukon has only a small number of ratepayers and to expose us to such great risks to develop industrial wealth is an extremely heavy-handed vision.

Where is the regulator in this scheme of things?

Or is it status quo “rubber stamping” by a government-of-the-day, handpicked regulatory board?

Somewhat like the government-of-the-day handpicked president, the handpicked chair and the handpicked governing board of directors of our publicly owned utility corporations? One big happy family!

Electrical ratepayers would appreciate an expedited solution from you on these important energy concerns.

Roger Rondeau, president Utilities Consumers’ Group

Whitehorse