CEO board leading Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject quitting amid cost scrutiny

The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The man in charge of the $9.2-billion Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador is stepping down.Premier Dwight Ball says Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has resigned, effective immediately.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan CEO, board leading Muskrat Falls hydro megaproject quitting amid cost scrutiny by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 20, 2016 7:53 am MDT Last Updated Apr 21, 2016 at 7:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The man in charge of the $9.2 billion Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador is stepping down amid increasingly intense scrutiny of cost and schedule overruns — but says he wasn’t pushed to go.“It’s my decision,” Ed Martin said as he announced his resignation Wednesday as president and CEO of Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, effective immediately.Fallout was swift as, late Wednesday, a source who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly confirmed that the entire Nalcor board is also resigning as of Friday in apparent solidarity. The five-member board included Martin and oversees governance, approves audited financial statements and guides corporate strategy.Board chairman Ken Marshall could not be reached late Wednesday for official comment.Earlier in the day, Martin’s voice at times wavered as he spoke during a news conference of how his wife Mary Lou — “my high school sweetheart” — his four sons, and his father have supported him throughout his 10 years at Nalcor.“Many times this job has come with significant public scrutiny. I recognize that that comes with the territory; however, I have to say, it’s quite difficult on my family. And I find that troubling.”Martin, a veteran of the oil and gas sectors in Nova Scotia and Calgary, said he’s looking forward to the birth of his second grandchild and has decided to move on.“I’m comfortable that this is the time,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments we have all achieved as a company.“Nalcor is our province’s heritage fund and we should be proud of it.”The Liberals, who won power last fall after 12 years of Progressive Conservative rule, have pledged to tighten oversight of Muskrat Falls, Nalcor’s major venture.First power, to be generated by 2017, is now delayed until sometime in 2018, although Martin declined to discuss such details Wednesday.“Absolutely not,” he said when asked if he had any regrets about the project’s management. Martin said he constantly worked to improve oversight and has every belief it will succeed long term.The joint venture between Nalcor and Nova Scotia utility company Emera (TSX:EMA) will bring power to the island of Newfoundland and on to Nova Scotia using subsea cables and overland transmission lines.Nalcor has most recently estimated its costs at just over $7.6 billion while Emera’s are almost $1.6 billion.A recent interim report by EY — formerly Ernst and Young — found problems with oversight. It also said Nalcor’s cost and timeline forecasts last September were “not reasonable.”The full report, with new price tags and schedules, is expected in May.Martin said there has been much public debate about Muskrat Falls, but used his parting news conference to defend it.“We need the power,” he said. “We will pay back our investment, and dividends will be paid back to the people of the province.”Those earnings will help offset increased power bills for ratepayers, he said.“The key is, in just a few short years, the investment in Muskrat Falls combined with oil and gas and other lines of business (are) projected to return $400 million to $500 million in dividends each year for decades to come.”His words seemed a thinly veiled rebuke of comments by Finance Minister Cathy Bennett as she delivered a budget Thursday that hiked taxes and fees while still projecting a $1.8 billion deficit.“Since its creation in 2007, taxpayers have invested over $2.25 billion yet have received no dividends,” she said of Nalcor. “For all corporations and their shareholders, this would be unacceptable.”Nalcor Energy reported that its CEO and president received $681,429 in salary, performance benefits and other pay such as vehicle allowance in 2015.Premier Dwight Ball praised Martin’s work and said it was his choice alone to leave.“We had a good working relationship,” he told reporters.Ball said he already has a short list of potential candidates, and a new president will be chosen as early as Thursday. Any severance pay for Martin will be up to the Nalcor board, he added.Not everyone was buying the storyline.Former Tory premier Danny Williams called it a “huge loss” fraught with politics.“In the face of relentless and often recklessly partisan criticism, Ed’s commitment to this province has remained his sole focus.”Christopher Dunn, who teaches political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland, said a big question is how many other senior Nalcor executives will follow.“It’s plain as day that the government has driven Mr. Martin away.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter. read more

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EYEWITNESS Pushing…

…the President?The Press Officer of President Granger has announced he’s “fully back at work”. Your Eyewitness is very worried. What does “fully back at work” mean? That he’ll be back to the same schedule before he detected those “symptoms” that made him fly over to Trinidad? Meaning, chairing Cabinet meetings that can last all day? Accepting invitations to events in various parts of the country – including the interior?Your Eyewitness hopes not! He understands the need for press people to try to reassure the Guyanese people that the ship of state is in good hands, but they can’t lull those same people into unrealistic expectations about what the President can do at this time. The man just received his first round of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a type of cancer of the blood, in layman’s terms.Folks need to understand what chemotherapy is, and how it can affect the patient. Very bluntly, unlike surgery or radiation treatment for cancer, which is very localised, chemotherapy involves introducing chemicals (hence “chemotherapy”) into your body to kill the fast multiplying cancer cells – in this case, your own white blood cells. The problem for the patient is that, while those cells are being killed, other fast multiplying “good” cells are also killed.Very bluntly, the “chemo” treatment is a race between killing the body and killing the cancer cells. Because of the damage to “good cells”, the treatment is in cycles…one week of treatment followed by 3 or 4 weeks of rest, to allow the “good cells” to regenerate. During treatment, red blood cells – which transport oxygen to the cells of the body – are among the most likely “good cells” to be destroyed. The patient is then often listless and without energy, because of the lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs.As the cycles continue, the effects of the chemo on the patient will become more severe and debilitating. And this is why the “handlers” of the President’s info must not be unrealistic in their announcements. As for the President’s duties, this is where we as a people should be reminded of the need to build institutions that take into consideration the frailties of the individuals who fill the roles in those institutions.At this time, if the President can’t perform his role, the Prime Minister acts to do so. But in the case of the coalition, this PM is from a minority member, and not the President’s party. Is this the concern which is forcing the President’s office to announce that he is “fully” back on the job?? We have to be blunt about these questions, because the President’s life is literally at stake.Let us give him time to recover.…The fight against noiseWhile other forms of pollution may pass under our radar because they fall on us like a fine mist, noise pollution literally hits us like a punch in the gut! Especially with those “walls” of speakers that have become “the thing” at rum shops and other “sport” in private homes, and in specially sound-augmented cars. In addition to your eardrums being damaged – leading to Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) – even the windows of your house rock in sympathy!After years of hapless citizens’ suffering without any recourse, there was a training session of some Police officers equipped with “decibel monitors” to respond to noise complaints. The problem was that, as soon as the officers approached two notorious noise spots in Kitty with their equipment, they turned down their blasters even before the cops could turn on their detectors!! In both instances!!Obviously, someone from within the Police informed the rum shops about the impending raid.And that is why nothing will come out of this “Noise Pollution Initiative”.…Vote buyingThe PNC’s so transparent. The only reason they want the Budget Debate is to announce a spending spree for their supporters.Knowing they’ll lose the no-confidence motion and elections will be called in three months, the debate becomes free advertisement!! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: Disagreeing…August 4, 2018In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Power means…May 20, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: The occasion…September 28, 2017In “EYEWITNESS” read more

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