March 02, 2004

NB: Contracts and Honourable Gentlemen -- or Women

NB is facing a budget deficit of $101-million this year, so I hear -- this, after the Conservatives were re-elected on the promise that NB would have a $100-million surplus. And the politicians keep wondering why fewer and fewer people bother voting each election. Speaking of energy, the monthly energy bills everywhere keep leaping up. Now we learn that NB Power has built a coal slurry processing plant, based on cheap Venezuelan imports--a verbal contract which the Venezuelans have reneged on. Seems there never was a firm written contract for this coal slurry. NB is suing the Venezuelans for $2-billion. From the media, we get the opinion that nobody thinks they will win -- though normally a verbal contract accompanied by a Letter of Understanding are considered binding. Of course, it presumes one is dealing with honourable gentlemen / gentlewomen whose word is their bond, in which case contracts are extraneous, though they do spell out the details. It will cost NB Hydro an extra $100-million a year to replace that slurry with other energy sources. The home improvement channel is about to feature igloo building. I am researching tasty blubber recipes in preparation for next winter. Can't have enough insulation these days.

© NJC -- I would like to end on a positive note, but the rumour is floating about that summer will be cancelled this year.

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