New Brunswick — A retired NB Power engineer criticized his former employer heavily last night in an open hearing held in front of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board.
“I think the people of this province deserve to know,” stated Gregory Hickey as he grilled a panel of NB Power executives with questions that have been on the minds of New Brunswick citizens for months. “I’d like to see some documentation to justify this 2 percent rate hike, and more importantly to explain why it is companies like JD Irving are getting multi-million dollar subsidies at the same time. To me it seems it’s nothing but corporate welfare.”
Hickey, in referring to the utility’s practice of purchasing renewable energy from paper mills and reselling it back to them at a huge loss, came as close as anyone ever has to demanding full disclosure from NB Power. He was quickly put in his place, however, when NB Power exec Neil Larlee suddenly interrupted him by blurting out, “Well, what about prom? You think those fancy lights grow on trees? We’re the ones supplying you with the energy for the DJ — you want your precious kids to go to prom without music?”
Larlee then hauled out an old laptop and proceeded to project an embarrassingly amateur-looking PowerPoint presentation he’d created detailing the rising costs of electricity for springtime proms across the province. “Look at this!” he exclaimed to the captive audience, gesturing with his laser-pointer toward an enlarged photo of the FHS prom being held at the Student Union Building on campus that same evening. “The lighting alone at this event is consuming 5 times the energy that we are right now, and with all those sweaty teenagers crammed in there, the air-conditioner’s on full-blast. Who’s supposed to pay for that? And think of the energy used by all those girls blow-drying and curling their hair — you should consider yourselves lucky it’s only 2 percent!”
A confused Hickey tried desperately to return the conversation to the core problem — that while power bills are increasing for the average New Brunswicker beginning July 1, the filthy-rich Irvings are getting yet another break through NB Power’s Large Industrial Renewable Energy Purchase Program. “If NB Power is rich enough to subsidize industry, it should be denied a rate increase,” he stated emphatically.
Larlee, not to be defeated, cranked his laptop’s speakers to play Kanye West’s 2010 hit “Power” while displaying more and more photos of fancy cars, girls in sparkling dresses and glittering ballrooms. “This shit ain’t free!” he cried. Unfortunately for those in attendance with the capacity for reason, Larlee won the crowd with his bright, loud, poorly crafted presentation. The hearing ended when a strategically placed fog machine emitted a huge cloud of smoke, allowing the NB Power execs to escape unnoticed.
New Brunswickers can expect a 2 percent increase on their July energy bills and an even more lavish prom in 2016, which is rumoured to have planned help from Hydro Québec.
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