Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hydro Quebec's mind boggling profit makes Northern Pass burial look more "economic" every day

Line burial looks more “economic” every day 

Coos County Democrat
Littleton Courier 
September 21, 2016


As the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec, Éric Martel spends a lot of time smiling. Who cares, he probably thinks, that the company's profit was $37 million less in the second quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. After all, for the first six months of this year, the company posted a profit of nearly $1.9 billion. Once again, this editor would like to congratulate the foreign monopoly for making so much money. He would also like to ask why Martel does not seem interested in using some of Hydro-Québec's $432,692 of hourly profit to completely satisfy residents of Northern New Hampshire. As the entity that would build Northern Pass, the hydropower transmission project through our state, Hydro-Québec has plenty of money to fully bury the project. 

Previously, this editor used the figure of $370,000 to describe Hydro-Québec's hourly profit. Mr. Martel and his company keep finding ways to bring home more bacon. Now making about $60,000 an hour more compared to last year, no rational argument can be made that Northern Pass cannot afford the approximately $1 billion of extra cost to fully bury the power line. Hydro-Québec can make nearly that much money in an average three-month span. 

The project likes to say that full burial is “uneconomic” for Northern Pass. They say this because the foreign shareholders of Hydro-Québec would prefer to put their massive profits elsewhere. No one can say with a straight face that completely burying Northern Pass is anything but “economic,” due to how much money Hydro-Québec keeps making. Many people in our region work really hard all year without making ten percent of what Hydro-Québec takes to the bank in an hour. Hopefully, the company and Northern Pass will stop insulting our intelligence by saying the money just is not there to make invisible the 130 miles of proposed aboveground lines.

Just in proposed form, without a speck of dirt moved to construct the project, Northern Pass can do much to alter the order of things in our region. Sugar Hill's Dolly McPhaul took her intense opposition to the project on the road during a Republican primary campaign for State Senate. Without having held elective office before, McPhaul defeated a highly experienced elected official who many rightfully deemed as wishy washy on Northern Pass. The result of the primary contest has issued a warning to all politicians who seem closer to the billions Hydro-Québec makes than the perspective of residents in our region who simply cannot accept Northern Pass as proposed. And this editor would once again like to say to our elected officials: resign if you cannot side with the people of this region demanding that Éric Martel pay for a fully buried Northern Pass that makes New Hampshire happy.

An old saying notes, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Congratulations, once again, to Éric Martel and the economic powerhouse of a company he leads. Much has been given to him. Now it is finally time, nearly six years after Northern Pass was first proposed, that the project is required to spend the dollars necessary to completely bury the transmission lines. Martel can make all the money he wants. He simply should not be allowed to change so much about New Hampshire while pocketing a mind boggling amount of money.