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Editorial: Chilling times ahead

['<p>These lines indicate just over two cord of properly-piled firewood.</p>']
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Do you have your wood stacked and dried for winter?

Have you called the propane company to be sure the tank for your propane fireplace is full before the winter rush starts?

Maybe you should.

Earlier this week, news started surfacing about a late August report for the Public Utilities Board prepared by utility consultants Liberty Consulting, that warned that plans to supply the province with recall power carried the new Labrador Island Link (LIL).

The link simply wouldn’t be ready in time, and the report cautioned that older generation equipment like the Holyrood Generating Station might not be up to the task of supplying the power needed for winter heat.

In the August report, Liberty said that the commissioning date for the LIL had been pushed back from the end of October, but that, “Hydro and Nalcor representatives were unwilling to provide information about LIL schedule details sufficient to permit a realistic LIL in-service date. Nevertheless, what we have learned supports a conclusion that the LIL is unlikely to be reliably in commercial operation at the start of the winter.”

Tuesday, Nalcor boss Stan Marshall said the company was doing what it could to have the line in service as quickly as possible.

Related story:

Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall offers optimism in the face of concerns of potential power outages in winter 2018

Not everyone’s as confident.

Now there’s an even newer Liberty Consulting report, and Nalcor management have given the PUB a new in-service date to replace the planned mid-November one. (The original plan was to have the line in service by July 1.)

And the news isn’t good.

The Sept. 10 status report from Liberty says, “After our August meetings with them, management advised that the commercial operation date was delayed to Jan, 1, 2019.”

Good news, right? After all, the coldest weather doesn’t often hit before January.

Well, no.

The new report cautions that reliable power on the new line might not be available for the entire winter. “Our Aug. 30, 2018 report on Power Supply Adequacy for Winter of 2018-2019 discusses our reasons for concluding that the LIL will not likely reach a state warranting a declaration of commercial operation by the start of this winter. Moreover, even if it does, we believe it very likely that it will not operate fully reliably in its early months — i.e., the remainder of the coming winter season.”

Chilling, hey?

So what’s causing the problem?

Well, problems with a critical supplier.

“General Electric continues to miss deadlines affecting the work of the transition team,” Liberty writes in its latest report. “We continue to see General Electric’s performance as a major schedule threat. Continued delays in the completion of construction related activities have created an environment that appears to make schedule slips expected and tolerated.”

What’s it all mean?

Maybe stack a little more of that wood, folks.

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