Secret individuals and ‘collusion’ worries trigger halt in NB Energy listening to

An accusation that two or extra clients of NB Energy’s transmission system slipped right into a listening to on the utility’s transmission charges in a Trojan Horse-style operation has floor proceedings on the New Brunswick Vitality and Utilities Board to a sudden halt.

NB Energy is asking {that a} guide being paid to symbolize the unknown events be expelled by the EUB and his proof disallowed.

NB Energy lawyer John Furey stated the utility has believed since late final yr that the guide, William Marshall, had been representing solely himself on the listening to however is now questioning if he’s half of a bigger “collusion” amongst different individuals.

“It by no means crossed my thoughts that Mr. Marshall was right here apart from as a member of the general public who’s within the proceedings,” Furey stated through the digital listening to final week. “That he was really representing an unnamed third celebration, I discover that — I’m shocked by it, frankly.

“It creates the chance that there are different interveners on this continuing who’ve additionally retained Mr. Marshall, and we now have collusion or corroboration by way of Mr. Marshall of the place that one other intervener is taking to create the impression for the Board that there’s consensus. It’s completely unfair.”

The listening to, which was postponed earlier within the spring for unrelated causes was lastly scheduled to conclude final Friday however has now been adjourned till Aug. 10 to listen to arguments on the best way to take care of NB Energy’s issues about cloaked individuals.

EUB chair Francois Beaulieu is heading the transmission listening to and dominated final week proceedings couldn’t proceed till NB Energy’s demand {that a} guide be eliminated is handled. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

Ultimate arguments on transmission charges themselves, which had been initially alleged to be in place again on April 1, have been delayed till Sept. 9.

NB Energy’s in depth transmission system serves quite a lot of companies and turbines that rely on it to maneuver electrical energy in and across the Maritime provinces, Maine, Quebec and deeper into New England.

The operation of the system, together with its charges and bills, is regulated by the New Brunswick Vitality and Utilites Board.

A number of events, together with Marshall, are collaborating within the listening to and have been difficult NB Energy plans to boost charges for its transmission providers. One significantly controversial proposal is a plan to greater than quadruple what NB Energy prices to “steadiness” the uneven circulate of electrical energy by way of its system brought on by the up and down manufacturing of space wind farms.

NB Energy has almost 7,000 kilometers of high-voltage transmission strains crisscrossing New Brunswick. The system prices as much as $145 million a yr to function, and charges charged to system customers offset a portion of that. (NB Energy/Fb)

Marshall is a former senior NB Energy government and as soon as oversaw the operation of the transmission system as president of the unbiased New Brunswick System Operator, which was absorbed by NB Energy a number of years in the past. He has operated a non-public consulting enterprise for the final 14 years.

Marshall’s consulting firm WKM Vitality Consultants Inc. registered to take part within the listening to by itself behalf.

However below questioning final week by performing public intervener Rick Williams, Marshall confirmed the corporate is being paid by “a couple of” silent celebration to symbolize them.

Below further questioning by Furey, Marshall acknowledged the events didn’t need their participation to be recognized.

NB Energy is answerable for ‘balancing’ the facility produced by wind generators in New Brunswick, northern Maine and Prince Edward Island. The present transmission listening to is contemplating a proposal to considerably elevate charges on wind producers. (Shane Fowler/CBC Information)

“The purchasers that I’m [representing] actually didn’t need to be recognized by themselves that they had been right here, so I’m doing it on their behalf,” Marshall stated.

“The priority of my consumer is that, you already know, a number of of them have relationships with NB Energy, they usually do not need to tarnish these relationships.”

Marshall stated it was explicitly in his authentic software to take part within the matter that his firm had an curiosity in collaborating as a result of it “works often with many events all through the area” who’re affected by NB Energy’s transmission insurance policies and prices.

He supplied to reveal the identities of those that employed him in confidence to the EUB, however Furey took the place the events who employed Marshall must be the listed individuals even when Marshall is the one who presents their arguments.

“It’s not within the public curiosity to allow Interveners to symbolize the pursuits of undisclosed or unidentified third-party industrial pursuits,” Furey wrote in a proper discover of movement calling for Marshall to be expelled and proof he has submitted to be struck.

“The one attainable function of such a type of intervention is secrecy, which is opposite to the “open court docket” precept which governs Canadian courts and tribunals,” he concluded.

Saint John Vitality is represented at NB Energy’s transmission listening to by a lawyer by it and New Brunswick’s different two municipal utilities. It will not say if additionally it is secretly being represented by guide Willian Marshall. (Saint John Vitality)

Below questioning, Marshall listed eight purchasers of his consulting firm that may be impacted by a change in transmission prices in New Brunswick and advised “some” of these eight had been those he was representing.

Among the many eight are Saint John Vitality, which takes electrical energy off NB Energy’s transmission system to produce metropolis clients, and Liberty Utilities, which owns the Tinker hydroelectric dam that hyperlinks to NB Energy’s transmission system close to the Maine and New Brunswick border.

Marshall didn’t say if both firm is among the many ones he’s working for, however each are represented individually on the listening to already, and Furey stated there’s a hazard a secret participant loved “double illustration” all through the listening to and doubtlessly benefited from unfair procedural tips.

“One attainable final result is that one consultant of the third-party curiosity can be ready to cross-examine (and thus ask main questions of) an skilled retained by the second consultant of the third-party curiosity,” wrote Furey in his formal discover of movement.

“Double illustration might also end result within the stacking of a number of skilled witnesses, making a misunderstanding for the board that there’s consensus that doesn’t actually exist.”

On Monday, Saint John Vitality wouldn’t touch upon whether or not it is among the events paying Marshall.

“There’s presently a movement in with the New Brunswick Vitality and Utilities Board on this subject,” firm spokesperson Jessica DeLong wrote in an e-mail..

“We is not going to be commenting right now out of respect for the NBEUB’s course of.”

The EUB stated if a decision between NB Energy and Marshall could be labored out, Aug. 10 could also be used to listen to the ultimate arguments. In any other case the day might be dedicated to listening to the utility’s software to have Marshall barred from collaborating.

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