Bad fuel had nothing to do with power outages, NL Hydro says
Former Liberal MHA Danny Dumaresque called the media together Monday to accuse Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro of “absolute and total negligence” for pumping dirty fuel into the Holyrood power plant.
© — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram
Former Liberal MHA Danny Dumaresque speaks to reporters in St. John’s Monday morning.
Dumaresque said he believes the silicon and aluminum in the fuel — which NL Hydro started getting from a new supplier in early 2013 — caused the power outage in January of 2013, and then the widespread blackouts of earlier this year.
“There is absolutely no doubt, it is the direct conclusions of the officials of Hydro,” Dumaresque said, citing emails from NL Hydro employees. “They knew they didn’t want any more of this crap and (the supplier) said, ‘We guarantee there won’t be.’”
But Rob Henderson, vice-president of Nalcor Energy responsible for Hydro, said the power outages from earlier this year, as well as the 2013 blackout, were absolutely not caused by the fuel.
“While it did cause maintenance issues, the quality of the fuel had nothing to do with the power outages we experienced,” Henderson said.
“The aluminum and silicon had no bearing whatsoever on the outages that we had.”
In his news conference Monday, Dumaresque acknowledged he cannot conclusively say that the outages were caused by dirty fuel, but he made it clear he believes there’s a connection.
He also pointed out that there were two oil spills, and serious maintenance issues, as a result of the silicon and aluminum in the oil that Holyrood burns.
“While I cannot conclude that this dirty fuel directly caused all the problems at Holyrood, it is clear that major problems were created by this issue, and in December of 2013 Hydro acknowledged to the PUB that it had incurred over $1 million to replace parts and clean up two oil spills, all of which were directly caused by the dirty fuel,” he said.
“After knowing the serious effect that this dirty fuel was having on its operations, it further authorized another $50 million of fuel delivery without any testing.”
The maintenance issues, at least, are real, according to Henderson. He acknowledged that workers at NL Hydro needed to do a lot of work to clean up the equipment.
But Henderson said that since they realized the problem, NL Hydro has talked to the new supplier, and hasn’t had any problems since.