Letter to the Editor by Sam Arnold, Moncton Times & Transcript, 28 December 2022

Norbert Cunningham’s December 27 column (The Moncton Times & Transcript) included a poignant two-word sentence: “Ethics matter.” Indeed, they do!

The Daily Gleaner’s top story that day said that 79 of NB Power’s highest paid employees earned over $200,000 and six cleared over $300,000, while some approached $500,000-plus. These are earnings for Toronto, not mostly rural New Brunswick.

During the storm we just endured over the holidays, hundreds lost power. Our power was off for ten hours, but others just north of Woodstock had no power for three days! NB Power is not to blame for the storm and the resulting power outages, but something seems to be wrong that the utility can afford to pay exorbitant salaries, and yet appears to have a shortage of labourers and equipment to restore such outages. With climate change we are expecting more costly power outages, therefore ethics demands that NB Power focus on restoring damaged infrastructure.

NB Power owns a stubborn debt of $5 billion that it can’t seem to decrease. Yet it can afford to pay its top earners large salaries. Where is the ethics here?

Nuclear power has been a money-losing operation ever since the CANDU reactor was built, put into service, refurbished and repeatedly repaired. Now it is once again offline at enormous cost.  Yet NB Power is committed to installing two competing SMR reactors at Point Lepreau that will cost a fortune with no guarantees they will ever go into service. Where is the ethics with nuclear?

New Brunswick has plenty of renewable solar and wind power available, and energy storage is quickly making this an affordable low carbon option that can put NB Power on track to become a reliable, and ethical, utility by 2030. Nuclear promoters, however, insist that this can’t be done without SMRs. Yes, it can and must.

Sam Arnold
Woodstock, NB