Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A long read; but worth your while.
Alberta needs the Electrical power, let’s be clear on that as does the US, the latter needing power on a scale of hundreds beyond what we can ever produce.
Alberta delayed too long because of a political ideal that said they had to get away from anything run by any level of Government regardless of the cost to the taxpayers. This delay is mismanagement and is costing us big time!
The USA has many more times heating coal than does Alberta in the US Midwest where power is needed. This has not been used because the US electorate would rather use nuclear power generation than coal! Its safer and cleaner is their view.
How to get the NOX out of the discharge? (Nitrous Oxide which makes acidic solution when it gets wet as in settling on the ground or lakes or lungs) is the hang up. Even a little bit is too much! A clean process is “0” NOX emission, nothing less. I won’t go into the CO2 problems as they can be mostly controlled or re used.
When a lake becomes acidic the fish born are all females. With no male breeders the fish in the pond disappear. Acid rain; Acid Rain running into groundwater!
The Electricity Market and multi billions of dollars in sales are there. Who is going to benefit; who is going to loose? How much remains a provincial revenue? How soon?
I’m not against profit! US power companies are on the rocks, failing badly at every corner because of a lack of operating revenue brought about by heavy interest debt loads and regulatory hurdles.
There was a point in time when Fording Coal who owned all the heating coal around Brooks Alberta wanted to not only build a generation plant there but also provide the power lines into Langdon near Calgary.
Trans Alta and the Conservative Government had other plans so environmental groups were agitated and unprecedented media attention was given to these groups until Fording after many closed door meetings, decided to abandon or shelve the plan, possibly for a more opportune time.
This is the same time The City of Edmonton had requests for permit approvals for the upgrade and capacity increase at Genesee. The Conservative government told them no permits, no reasons, your interests may be better pursued with other entities and there is no real need proven. All this is all within our memory spans.
Now, EPCOR a private company in concert with Trans Alta Utilities a private company run a new state of the art power plant at Genesee with more capability than the power transmission lines allow. They have a 500 Kv capacity.
The Edmonton Journal LINK outlines the Government News release. But the interest is in the details.
Power transmitted at higher voltages (500 Kv rather than the present 240 Kv) uses less of the available power getting through the power lines. Less power is lost! There is more power for use! Hence, high voltage power is more efficient than lower. Link
The Journal article is suggesting the new northern line to Grande Prairie will on one part eliminate many if not all of the gas generation facilities. On the other hand the cost of transmission will be reduced because of the higher voltage. Certainly Grande Prairie north is growing and will continue to grow as climate change (CO2 or Earth Orbit, but here) brings a new harsh reality to southern Alberta.
When ATCO took over the power lines into Vermilion and La Crete they paid cash to families to sign up with ATCO. Then, their power bills increased hugely! Consider, with Alberta having a “postage stamp” policy on power transmission, we all pay the same price for transmission regardless where we live, one has to wonder why the increase?
Alberta’s “postage stamp policy?” We all pay the same for postage stamps hence, the name.
We should be considering who this “postage stamp” policy protects. All the power lines put into the oil patches and other industries to export power fall on consumer utility bills because of this policy. What’s needed here is full disclosure in a format that is readable and clear.
The price of transmission on your utility bill is .0246 dollars per kwh. (just over two cents)
A new modern capacitor furnace motor will draw 4.25 amp/hr. and the new systems are designed for constant run for maximum comfort.
4.25 X 110 V = 11.22 kwh/day or 40.95 kwh per year.
A total billing price if 17.2 cents per Kwh would have you pay 704.34 a year to run that motor.
Of this money, 101.56 will be what you have paid for delivery as in power lines rental.
EPCOR tell me the price of electricity today is 8.6 cents per Kw hour. Incorporating the price of delivery and administration is by rule of thumb twice that amount! That is where the 17.2 cents per cwt which will come into play.
If you paid the extra 700.00 for the modern variable speed motor in your new furnace you will be interested to know Lennox tell us it uses 373 Watts per hour which is 3.3 amps or 3267 Kw/year. It too is built to run constantly. Which, at 17.2 cents per Kwh will save you 140.00 per year in electrical power. Your older 1/3 HP capacitor motor draws 7.5 amps.
In electric motors there is a different physic calculation called "power factor"which is typically a multiple of .6 on top of the amps which I presently do not understand but it does not effect residential power cost as read from the panel; numbers I gave above are inside figures! Have fun!
The power lines work on price recovery in terms of 40 years. I would like very much for the Government or a stake holder to explain how an increase in price on home utility bills of 2.00 a month will start in 10 years to pay for these lines!
The capital costs of the power generation plants are recovered from its day time customers, you and I. This is what makes up your .086 kwh generation charge. In the evenings, starting about 19:00 hours the demand for power drops off and there is a surplus.
Alberta sells this surplus to BC for as low as .01 per kwh. This price is set to include the price of wages and operating expenses they make no attempt to recover capital on this over production period.
On the other hand, Alberta often buys the cheaper BC Hydro water power generated electricity during the day as it is cheaper than the Gas generated power of Alberta which most shares are held by the Balancing Pool an insurance investment company. One has to wonder what we are paying them to hold these shares which are worthless, they are not known for loosing money. I have to believe some one is pulling back big bucks on this one!
The lines which have been needed for a quarter of a century are now being built when the price of steel has never been higher and the price and availability of trades has never been so tenuous. Twenty-Five years of boondoggle government!
It would appear there is room here for industry “subsidy”. If industry switches to the night shift from the day shift they can get your power for .01 cents. That should fix a few things up! Give a window of opportunity!
Expansion and increases of power lines, who services; who supplies and who pays?
The power for the Northern Line will come from Genesee and McMurray. This will move Genesee up to near capacity again. Why do we need the Calgary Edmonton lines?
Remember Fording Coal shelved their project at Brooks, they didn’t give it up. So with that plant taking 3 years in approvals and 2 years to build you will see another 2400 MW plant (As large as Genesee and built like Sundance) pumping electricity into the system from southern Alberta.
Fording has since been bought by Sherritt. (Now known as Sherritt Fording) Sherritt now own the coal that was formerly owned by Fording and will be selling it back to Fording to generate power.
Yes, lots going on and people just don’t want to take an interest. And, remember this system will run from the NWT to Mexico and who is to say which price is right? Who among you will complain to the politic if its not! Who in this Government would listen?
In the first third way electrical exchange we dropped 60 billions of taxpayer equity. We were forced into a phony power deal by the Conservatives. Let’s watch this one close. From the EUB right through the system
Mr. Lougheed has said ATCO were going to build power lines because they pay more than do pipe lines; that EUB would allow him 11% on a cost plus job as opposed to the 10% he was held to on pipelines.
Why can’t they put down a price on a project like the rest of us have to do and then live with it? And, who has ever heard of the Alberta Government auditing a cost plus job like the tar sands which, is basically the same cost plus idea but this time in royalties.
I would like to see a public costing and accounting before the Conservative Convention.
And, a little more effort in cost and effect in a language everyone can understand.
Here is help with excellent links, well done and professional, even entertaining.
Get the hourly prices on electricity Transmission
Who is supplying electricity and who is not
Plans for Calgary-Edmonton Line
Monday, March 27, 2006
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
March 27, 2006
The Honorable Iris Evans, Minister,
Alberta Health and Wellness.
Can you please supply me with a copy of the agreement and any contracts signed with Aon Corporation in regards to their “looking after”, “administering” or “contributing to in any way” our health care in this province? A link to the document if on line would be appreciated.
Yours very truly,
(1)Subject: Cost of producing Electricity.
Your assistance required; correct me where I error please.
Coal fired generation (such as Genesee) cannot be turned down or shut down in order to flex with the local demands on power. These demands drop off sharply at 18:00 hours through to 07:00 hours.
In this window, power must be exported to get rid of it.
BC import our power for less than it costs them to produce Hydro power.
This begs the question of cost of operation. How much does it cost to produce power at Genesee? Dollars per mwh? Dollars per day? Total production if relative.
A re-direct may be needed
(2) The second item is the detailed response from the EUB, readable and understandable.
Dear Mr. Clark:
Thank you for your e-mail concerning the cost to generate power with coal.
I can advise that you are correct that coal fired generation does not normally get shut down except for maintenance, unlike gas fired generation which will be used only when market prices for power are sufficient to warrant the higher cost of natural gas fired generation.
Unfortunately the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) does not set the rate for power generation and therefore cannot advise of the cost to produce power at Genesee. Power generation is a competitive market in Alberta and the EUB only sets rates for monopoly utility services such as the cost of delivery, which has and will continue to be provided on a monopoly basis because it is not economically feasible to have competing utility lines.
Alberta's competitive wholesale electricity market is facilitated by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO). Following is a link to AESO's energy trading system reports page.
The "Current Supply Demand Report" provides a summary of the generating units currently providing power to the Alberta grid and also includes current interchange information with B.C./Saskatchewan (note: it appears that a negative flow means Alberta is importing the power and a positive flow means the other province is importing power). The "Forecast and Actual Pool Prices" provides the actual accepted pool prices for each hour of the current day. Therefore through these reports you can determine if B.C. is currently importing or exporting power with Alberta and the market price of that power.
The EUB is not able to advise why B.C. would choose to import power from Alberta.
Joyce Didier Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Phone: (780) 427-8558
(3) I solicited the opinion of the very respectable Mr. Allan Dane Electrical Engineer retiried.
Typical Investor Owned Electric Utilities in the USA have approximately equal amounts invested in generation, transmission, and distribution. In the middle and late 1980's a typical Investor Owned Electric Utility had approximately $1 million invested for every employee on its payroll and most of that investment was borrowed money. In the middle and late 1980's the interest on that borrowed money was about 20% per annum.
No Investor Owned Electric Utility that is regulated can pay 20% interest for borrowed money but, when you have a nuclear powerplant that has been under construction since 1971 what can you do? If you had known that Ron Reagan would appear on the scene with his crazy ideas you might have borrowed enough at the start of the project to complete it but hindsight is 20/20 vision and borrowing enough at that time to complete the project would have entailed huge additional interest charges which the I.O.U. could not afford, either.
The idea that you can separate generation, transmission, and distribution into those categories as to cost and impose competition into any one part of it (or for that matter all of it) is completely ridiculous. These parts of the system must operate together as a unit. As the song goes "Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like the horse and carriage! This I tell you brother, you can't have one without the other!"
One should never spend as much money attempting to discover where the money went as one has already spent.....
It's going to cost billions to fix this mess but, if we don't fix it, the costs are simply going to grow geometrically. Twenty years ago electric energy cost about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour in Edmonton, including the billing costs etc.. Today it costs about 10 cents for the same services. There is no reasonable explanation for this except that our politicians do not understand the nature of electric utilities and bought a pig-in-a-poke.
When there is no elasticity of demand in an industry, trying to force competition into that industry will be wasteful! The Chairman of ATCO attempted to tell the politicians not to attempt this insanity but they persisted....
If you wish to forward this letter to the lady who replied to your questions please do so....
These people have withheld improvement and maintenance on the infrastructure of Alberta. This stoppage would have been turned on in anticipation of a much needed positive budget in hopes of a re election. Again, cause the problem and then offer the wonder cure.
With the mentality of this Government I am in awe at the possibility of a toll highway because it doesn’t show up in the budget, not because I have been given information in that regard.
Then, they bring on multi billions of dollars of construction in the McMurray area and push for more billions of construction for power lines. When you consider it, there is no state in the western world that has tried to float so many projects and this amount of money at once except perhaps the Hoover Dam in its day. Not only has it stressed Alberta to a point of being moribund it is causing negative waves reaching across Canada.
Had these projects been spread out and started when there was first a demand rather than hold off for a dozen years for the Grande budget the costs would have been much less and there would have been the manpower to do it!
We have the highest natural gas prices and the highest electrical prices in the western world! This coupled with a high Canadian dollar has effectively killed the majority of Alberta’s stand alone businesses and this Government remains unresponsive! How do you get new industry? This government is simply not interested in new business development unless it is power oriented1
Those people who sing the praise of the high Canadian dollar giving them more purchase power have not factored in the price of Transportation which is up 40% to 50% on inbound traffic all because of the same expenses plus the fact there is no manufacturing output in this province.
The Governments released numbers of 1.6 billion power line costing home owners 2.00 a month over 20 years is in a world of misinformation. The numbers don’t work! More on that in a letter following to the ministers.
I don’t think this is some horrible misadventure. I think this Government planned it this way to get people into the Tar Sands production.
On the financial world in general? I think we have hit a wall!
Friday, March 24, 2006
By privatizing, this Government finds an easy way to side step responsibly for governance. All the good things happen to the Minister and all the bad things are the fault of a private entity, away from Government control. Such a scam!
Yet, Mr. Oberg and other contenders have to answer the public and party on where their political compass is pointed. Do we suffer more and more of the hard right wing disasters exploiting seniors, plundering estates (yes, middle age person your parents estates are all but gone on the present course) and the shilling of enterprise to personal friends or can any of these people come up with the transparent Government and fiscal responsibility that Ralph has abandoned entirely.
Are any of these candidates strong enough to pick up the political challenge of being socially responsible or are they all stuck in the trickle down and hope for the best mode as is Iris Evans?
As for gagging ministers in the remote hope he will retain the party leadership; that is just plain dumb. Its one thing to see a debt ridden drunk stonewall and lock their door against the world. It is quite another to see a premier of this Province do the same thing. I can only wonder at this level of desperation and paranoia! One and the same?
Klein and company have completely abandoned infrastructure up keep for the past 10 years. Billions of dollars are required just to bring it up to an average provincial standard. That is what this budget is about. An election budget played early.
There is no budget for water and sewage on a provincial scale. This is because Ralph’s crew plan on privatizing it all and, EPCOR and ATCO are at the fore front to pick this up. Rather than an essential Government funded and maintained utility we will be dealing with a privatized utility.
At first read I see nothing in the budget on the 1.6 billion dollar power line between Genesse and Langdon. Consider this will be contracted through the EUB and Mr. Lougheed has said the cost plus 11% profit in building power lines is better than building pipe lines. This at a time when steel is at the highest price in history!
The 1.6 billion dollar expense on the 500 MV Genesee to Langdon power line shows up no where. This is because it is set to be a private venture paid for by Albertans and is not to be included in Taxpayer equity! It will be used by oil companies and other industries to export their power on residential rate payer’s tab.
I know of no other Jurisdiction where individuals through their homes are asked to chip into the pot to support the industries. Market pressure be dammed. This is all a straight subsidy to industry which you pay on your electrical bill.
The resurface of highway 2 is outstanding! The plans are to extend the highway to 6 lanes through out. This is overdue and another budget over run.
The spin that Iris Evans has produced a high spend budget to keep Ralph out of the coffers is just plain crap. It’s all done in caucus long before it is presented in the Legislature.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I recently had the opportunity to watch an interview by a Vancouver TV station and BC Hydro. It was very candid and well done by both partities.
BC Hydro because of the great elevation differences in that province has a bountiful resource in electricity generated by water power, the least expensive of all generation choices.
Being so very low in cost BC Hydro finds its way clear to export power to the US and beyond. As they explained the western provinces are all on one grid from Saskatchewan through BC to Mexico. Very neat when you think about it!
Hydro power can be turned off, the rotors stopped, when power is not required. This is not possible with coal generation where the fires have to keep going to keep the steam available for the next demand.
There is a huge drop in demand at night. At this time BC buys Alberta’s over production at a cost less than what they can produce water generated power for. They simply shut down their water turbines to save wear and maintenance.
It follows then that we in Alberta pay the higher prices in the day time to cover the evening export losses. Ralph and company have announced a 1.6 billion dollar power line build to export electricity. This is just a start, up grading the link to Langdon, near Calgary.
New coal power production at Brooks will feed Calgary (which is not needed) and export. The prices for the southern leg of the export grid is not in discussion at this time but, it will cost you more billions!
This will mean more power exported in the evenings at even lower rates and you and I paying still higher day time rates.
I tell you true folks, this crew has got to go!
My suggestion is that you press for provincial and/or federal legislation that will encompass a comprehensive test of potable water in the aquifer surrounding the gas production site as well as a mandatory, regular public posting of the analysis of those sites including a bench mark test before drilling starts.
The coal bed is of different depths in different areas. Coal beds are not “static” by nature and all are in the proximity of the water aquifer particularly the Viking Aquifer.
The situation is serious now as explained by the pros. (Link provided at the end) Oil well holes going through the aquifer at a density of .5 wells to 5 wells per square km. Wells are cemented with a view to stopping leakage. This respectable document speaks to the degradation of cement in the wells over time. Their graphics are excellent.
Coal bed methane has a very much higher incident of water table perforation! Because a methane gas “battery” is located out of sight and many kilometers away from your home does not mean it will not seriously affect your ground water! It is an underground stream! Rules should apply to all batteries and their location in conjunction to the water aquifer and the flow of the aquifer should be made apparent and available.
None of this is new information or new science! Most is simply history! It is all available not hidden but, constantly understated. Demand that you get you information in a timely manner! Start working on your MLA and MP as you attend these hearings!
I am of the opinion that comprehensive information should be released to the public on all batteries! Such information should include a proportional graphic display on the coal seam in relation to the surface and the water aquifer. The sampling tubes should be shown on the graphic; a way to explain their depth and location to people other than engineers. Perhaps a provincial map with a point and click facility to bring up the location of your interest?
The criteria for testing must be laid out! What exactly are you testing for; what is being left out and how often are you testing? Where are the results going to be published and whom do you contact should you need to question?
If you allow the crud to get into your drinking water you will never in your life time or the life time of your children get it out. What is potable today may have to be distilled to drink and only then if you can abide the taste.
To the Professional pages on oil perforation here
Monday, March 20, 2006
Away for a week I see Ralph addressing a B.C. group telling them it is not his intention to ruin health care. Curious choice of words; “intention and ruin” rather than “guarantee” or more definitive English.
Definitive would lead to details of which they will not release any, like the new list of covered services being drawn up by the Calgary Health Authority and the plans to curtail the insurance company dips into public health care to pay for auto accidents and God only knows what else.
On another front the C.B.C. ran a program on Alberta’s Energy Boom. In this spot they interviewed a gentleman who spoke with some authority on “problems” associated with the oil boom (as different from the electrical pressures). He works for the The Canadian Institute who offers service in PR areas to Governments.
He touched on the debauchery of the Heritage Savings and Trust Fund which was spent away by this Government. He went so far as to say better information programs were needed because “Albertan’s can not connect the dots between the expenditures from the Heritage Trust fund and medical advancements in this province.
That would be because there are no such links or dots to follow!
The Governments change away from the ink barrel news papers to asture presentations on national TV has to be an excellent PR move.
Other image changes without change in substance are around us. Forestry was combined with Conservation and now it is a separate identity within Government again. New, neat sounding positions have been made. If you hear these bell tones often enough you will become mesmerized.
A “Sustainable Resource Agent” will now give you a fire permit rather than a “warden” Say this enough and you may think there is a Sustainable Resource Plan that includes more than industrial exploitation and Ralph’s close circle of friends.
Don’t think for a moment that Ralph is of a different political cut than Dinning! Its Dinning’s program that Ralph is following!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Edmonton, Alberta T5L 2Y7
The Honorable Iris Evans
107 Legislature Building,
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
A computer generated reply is certainly in keeping with the lumpy PR programs of this day and age but it does very much point up the fact that as with electrical power you people are running with an ideal; a right wing dream world; rather than a plan of substance or even a simple budget.
Equally apparent is you have not shifted one bit from your stated purpose of privatizing health care totally. You have no interest in improving anything. Your party has debilitated health care by chronic under funding; on one part, extravagant spending and under utilization of the capital investments on purpose, for the ease in the conversion.
If you had any thought of costs you would have had midwifery legitimized and active in the health system by this time! Every civilized country in the world recognizes and uses this set of skills! No, this has never been about costs; driven only by political ideal.
I have said many time you and your Government have an incestuous relationship with the insurance companies. No other province receives a 3% kick back from insurance companies! The hail control program, a success developed in this province was turned over to the insurance companies to administer and was an apparent success. They can avoid paying hail damage if they can avoid the hail.
Closed door meetings with insurance companies on Auto Insurance (which will now not be able to draw on Alberta Health Care but must be prepared to pay the hospitals for all the treatments) and, our auto insurance rates will go up accordingly while you whine “it’s not a health care cost now”. Or, “it’s private industry we don’t involve ourselves”
Mr. Mazankowsky, a chair holder in Great West Life/ LifeCo; a segment of the giant Power Corporation was hired with tax payer money to write an insurance companies dream world of a perfect system! They pay too much for a sign naming the hospital after him. How bad is that?
When this became public, you moved to Aon a no name company working in the legal shadows. Then, you say “How could I possibly know they were being sued all over the map because of doubtful dealings?"
I think it didn’t matter who they were or what they did. You were looking for a shell company to move your legislation into and neatly package your cut throat policies under the one flag of Aon in order to slip it all in once nice piece to Great West Life/Lifeco/Manzankowsky! We will read “Aon sells Alberta segment to Lifeco.” What we won’t read is that it was part of the deal at the onset.
I think we can all acknowledge you are anal in your drive. Your costs are bogus not separating what was spent from what was blown up and under utilized. Allow for private MRI companies then, declare all the equipment (multi millions in machines and facilities) redundant, write them off and charge the whole works to health care to make your story. Make sure we charge premium space at the hospitals for the machine rooms sitting idle.
The spin doctor’s view of aging cripples, over the moon medications and all the other extremes you can draw on are nothing short of outright lies and misrepresentation of the actual facts. Your drive is to eliminate all personal equity and resource, becoming destitute, before the Government offers up something, bad and yet to be determined!
Mr. Lougheed built prototypical hospitals every election. Some like Swan Hills, were opened without physician presence. People lost northern allowances from the oil companies because they had a hospital even though they had no chance of treatment there!
Do you plan on selling these in mass to Mr. Dinning’s company? Perhaps to Aon who can turn them over to the Dinning Corp? Lets speculate; Dinning wants to be Premier so Aon or someone like it will take over the hospitals and then, sell them at a predetermined commission to his blind trust?
As you so carefully explained the Regional Health Authorities “own” all the buildings, property and chattel associated with the hospitals. And, the Regional Health Authority can sell these at any price they want to whoever they want the only criteria being the “cabinet” agrees it is a “suitable” price. The cabinet will never say we told them to do it but, the back room whisperings would provide the direction.
You are on the verge of privatizing the whole medical trade and infrastructure!
I say, you have to be stopped and the first step is not letting Ralph’ survive past the convention. Next October is too late!
You also might consider with this extreme and aggressive plan of yours, the door is left wide open for nationalization on many levels! You have no middle ground in your plans only exploitation!
Monday, March 13, 2006
Horrible things like this are not incidents; they are a fact of life and this will not be the Governments problem (not that they are now). It will be up to the individual to sue all the parties concerned, break their personal banks in order to die with a partial win. Yup! This would be Ralph’s third way and here is the why.
Appreciate; this Governmnent has finite statistics on just how many cancers occur in every individual community; in every indiviudal block! Who went to what doctor and for what reason and in which town if from another location.
Seems like insurance companies are the only people who get the information. Rates are higher or unattainable in one area and not the other. It's like looking into the future! We need a Third Way!
I know Fort Chipewyan and I have sailed the Athabasca River. It was my job to close down the NTCL operation in McMurray and portage the equipment across the rapids into the Mackenzie river system.
Chip is on the point of the Athabasca river and the Lesser Slave Lake. The tar sands operations of that time were dumping their collecting ponds into the Athabasca River at midnight. This was a job given to the lab tech and they were properly documented. (One day the labs were raided and lab books confiscated; all except one).
This nightly flood to toxins would pass Fort McKay on the Athabasca and flow onwards to be exhausted around Fort Chip.
On the other side of the lake Uranium City had been in full swing. Radon Gas was found present in the housings and there was evidence of leaching of radioactive material into the lake. Uranium City was being closed. Contamination of the lake was certain but never proven if this contamination was from a natural source or some mine habit.
These cancer rates at Fort Chip offer an icon for study. A comparison of incident between Fort McKay and Fort Chip may offer some interesting prospective!
If McKay, who was seldom exposed to the Lesser Slave have the same or similar percentage rates per capita of cancer as does Fort Chip, the problem is with the Tar Sands and their midnight ponds. If the study results are reversed it leaves the food source out of the Lesser Slave suspect. I should note there were food warnings out on the fish in the Lesser Slave for a length of time!
Too bad this bunch of bandits wouldn't give us all the information by which to make our decisions!
I would love to see some one step up to the plate and help this Doctor complete his study!
Saturday, March 11, 2006
The costing needs lots of work! This Government has a habit of “disappearing” funds like no other in history except perhaps Eie Amin. Imelda Marcus at least had some shoes to show for her spending and give always!
Billions gone from the Heritage Trust fund, no accounting.
60 Billions Dropped in power grid transactions, no accounting.
More on Subject the blowing up of the Calgary Hospital; how did that effect the costs of health care?
Giving away the hospital that is now the Knee and Hip replacement hospital, then adding millions in up grades to it after it was sold; no complete public accounting.
Multi Millions spent in MRI and CAT scan machines that sit idle 75% of the time; all on the Health Care tab.
The population that grew up bathed in toxic solvents and the world of lead base paint are now moving into the “do I have cancer” group as are those people living beside the flares amid the denials of this Government that anything is wrong. Government trying to dodge the bullet?
I think a case can be made to charge the oil companies another 5% royalties along with decent management at the Government level would produce an excellent society in general.
Yes, I am going to dwell on a reply; seek some good council.
If any of you have ideas to contribute, please email me.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Mr. John Clark
Dear Mr. Clark:
Thank you for your March 5, 2006 e-mail and letter. I appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information regarding the health care portion of your letter.
Our government is committed to ensuring a strong public health system while responding to the ever-changing needs of our citizens. We recognize the importance of sustainable, flexible and accessible health services for Albertans – regardless of their age, location or ability to pay.
Like you, I want a strong public health care system that will be there for my children and grandchildren in the years ahead. However, this may not be the reality if health care expenditures continue increasing as they are now. This is not a problem unique to Alberta. All provincial, territorial and federal governments have agreed the current health system is not financially sustainable into the future at the present rates of growth in annual cost.
In 2001, the report of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health (known as the Mazankowski Report) said “that without fundamental changes in how we pay for health services, the current health system is not sustainable.” That was five years ago, but nothing has changed. Each year we spend more and more money on health care. In fact, Alberta’s health funding has more than doubled in the last 10 years. This year it is at $9 billion, which equates to $1 million every hour.
Despite these significant funding increases, the system still faces many challenges. People wait for months and even years for certain procedures. Demand for new services is increasing, and the costs of technology and pharmaceuticals keep growing. Across the country, provinces are realizing that there must be a better way.
The Third Way to health care renewal in Alberta was first discussed by Premier Klein over a year ago. We want to find a balance that is good for Alberta. This means keeping an open mind about good ideas and providing options to people with the health services that best address their needs, circumstances and preferences.
Our health care renewal proposals include a range of ideas to improve the public health care system – to make it stronger and better than it is today. This is something that everyone can agree needs to take place. The first phase of these ideas was introduced last July and includes everything from controlling spiraling drug costs and expanding primary care to encouraging wellness and making children’s health a top priority.
Over the coming months, we will continue to introduce options that will strengthen our health care system. Our actions will continue to be based on the fundamental commitment that a person's ability to pay will never determine access to needed health care services in Alberta.
To address Albertans’ desire for increased health care options, innovation may include looking at the role private health care service delivery can play. A strong public health care system will continue taking care of a patient’s needs. But allowing more options will help take care of a patient’s individual desires. I am confident the public system will be strengthened by allowing patients more choice.
Please note that private involvement in our public health care system is not new. Across Canada, a great deal of health care is delivered by the private sector. In Alberta, continuing care, laser eye surgery and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) are examples of health services that are currently available privately.
Another innovation is the possibility of how expanded private health insurance might play a role in Alberta. Private insurance in Alberta isn’t new. It already exists to some degree in Alberta Blue Cross, in insurance plans provided through employers and in insurance plans you can purchase privately.
The government realizes that in order to improve Albertans’ access to health care services and to sustain our current level of service, we need an increased supply of highly skilled and well-qualified health care providers. That is why one of the Third Way action areas is to ensure this supply. We are working with regional health authorities, professional and provider organizations, labour groups, training centres and community members to attract and retain the health professionals needed to provide high-quality care to Albertans.
Health care renewal proposals are focused on putting patients at the center of the health system. With health professionals working together more efficiently to decide what treatment would be best, patients will receive the highest-quality care. Health regions will collaborate more and compete less, which means less red tape in accessing the health services Albertans need.
Government is currently consulting with Albertans on the ideas and issues laid out in the Health Policy Framework. Please visit http://www.health.gov.ab.ca/ or call 310-4455 toll-free for more information and to provide feedback on our proposals. Copies of the Health Policy Framework are also being made available at public libraries and MLA constituency offices.
These consultations will provide information that will help us develop the legislation and associated regulations to be introduced over the coming months. A new legislative framework will enable us to move forward with initiatives that better reflect the current realities of health care delivery and emerging health technologies, while assuring Albertans they will continue to have a strong public health care system.
Our goal is to improve the health system while addressing the concerns many Albertans express with access and choice. Our health care system is complex. One single idea isn’t going to be the answer; only a combination of new ideas will help us find the right balance for Alberta.
Let me once again assure you that a person's ability to pay will never determine access to the health care services he or she needs in Alberta.
Thank you for writing.
Minister, Health and Wellness
For all you mulch buyers:
If you use mulch around your house be very careful about buying mulch this year. After the Hurricane in New Orleans many trees were blown over.These trees were then turned into mulch and the state is trying to get rid of tons and tons of this mulch to any state or company who will come and haul it away.
It may be be showing up in retails stores at dirt cheap prices with one huge problem; Formosan Termites will be the bonus in many of those bags. New Orleans is one of the few areas in the country were the Formosan Termites has gotten a strong hold and most of the trees blown down were already badly infested with those termites.
We may have the worst case of transporting a problem to all parts of the country that we have ever had! These termites can eat a house in no time at all and we have no good control against them, so tell your friends that own homes to avoid cheap mulch and make sure they know where it came from. Proof at time of purchase! If you take it home, its too late!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Lennox is busy protecting proprietary rights so very little useful technical information is available from them. Carrier and Trane are the remaining choices and the dealers are not pushing Carrier as the best bet for nebulous reasons. Because of this, I didn’t look into them.
Trane seems to have an open door policy on technical data that would enable you to make a knowledgeable choice. That is a plus.
The variable speed motor option in conjunction with the dual (hi-low) gas burn is a must in my thought and, I reason only if you have a constant run application on your furnace as in air condition or heat sink units. Or, if you have elected a high efficiency unit in which case the motor has to run all the time! In an all the time application, the variable speed DC motor is the best. It can move as little air as a kitchen vent fan or more than the capacitor start motors. This element is essential to achieve high efficiency (94%+)
For mid efficiency which I picked, (80%) the furnace is not going to be running in the summer. We will probably run the circulating fan occasionally to change the air in the house.
My old 1/3 HP furnace motor drew 7.8 amps when it ran. That figures liked this;
7.8 amp X 110 volts = 858 watts per hour of use X 24 hours is 20582 watts per day X 365 days is 7,516,080 watts divide by 1000 is 7516 kw/h per year. My electricity is .11 cents per kw/h including distribution.. Therefore my older 1/3 HP motor would cost me $826.76 per year on top of the gas bill. (Typically your distribution costs .02.2 cents per KWh)
My old furnace served the house from too cool, to nice to too warm. Much more at either end than then middle! Not what one could call a comfortable heating system. It was 150,000 BTU and a 1260 sq foot home. Overkill so the heat when up the chimney and the overkill caused the extremes.
Trane. when viewed was more noisy than was the Lennox but the Trane open door on motors will I think proved to be a cost saver over the years. The proprietary comes in on the design and function. A Trane motor will not work in a Lennox furnace and the Lennox motors are more expensive. Gotta love proprietary rights! That’s why Lennox hangs onto its informantion.
My new Lennox furnace is called Moderate efficiency furnace at 80% efficiency. The direct drive AC motor in it draws 4.5 amps when running all the time and 5.75 amps when running on high which, it seldom does. It has a 90,000 BTU output max; more suited to my square footage. Heat stays in the house rather than up the chimney which, one can now hold their hand on without burning.
Using the same scale this new unit will cost me 477.00 per year to run full time. That’s close to a 50% savings in electricity not counting the other 60,000 BTU that was going up the chimney!
On the plus side, my humidity is now at a nice 40% in the house rather than the old 20%
The full time evening run the temperature in the house changed ¼ of 1 degree over the course of the evening! There is no difference in temperature upstairs or down, front bedroom or back, living room or work shop. It’s great! The best move is getting good advise pertinent to your own home!
The installers did superb job. Because of this I’m giving up the name of the company who worked with me on this project and put up with my seemingly endless questions. Much information was gained from the electric motor repair companies.
Arpi’s Industries Ltd. Ask for Mervin Opper
Sunday, March 05, 2006
14815 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
March 5, 2006
The Honorable Iris Evans,
Minister of Health,
107 Legislative Building
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
The Honourable Ralph Klein
Premier of Alberta
307 Legislature Bldg
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, ABCanadaT5K 2B6
Phone Number Fax Number
(780) 427-2251 (780)427-2251
The details you have yet to divulge are so very important to so many people! The first way would be the missionary way, the second way would be the doggie way. Just which way do you subscribe to as the “third way”? We should know in detail on how we are going to get screwed!
What do you have built into the third way to ensure those people damaged by flares and industrial waste are going to be taken care of in your system? You have had the carcinogenic and mutagenic information on the well flares for many years. (My letter naming the Doctor who did the studies remains not answered but on record). I dwell here on your no smoking policies and see your programs as truly smoke and mirrors. The only people who got access to the information seem to be the insurance companies.
Also to mind, the Swan Hills Plant. We are paying some outfit 400 thousand dollars a year plus, to keep the doors open. Why? Because it will cost the taxpayers of this province billions more for a partical clean up of the surrounding area if it is closed. What is in your third way for the effected (affected?) people?
It appears to me the elderly and those people living next to refinery and incinerator projects are excluded by the very act of privatization and the limits put on coverage by the private health care insurance industry. What very small percentage of 30 year olds needs help in these areas?
Is this one big program to allow an escape clause for the oil and gas industry on damages caused to innocent people by their industry?
I ask myself why this crew would jump on Health Care before their convention. I know Ralph to be the political trickster of all time. Why would he orcastrate a live show in the Legislature to capture media? Why would this happen directly after I posted the note concerning the imminent privatization of all the water in Alberta?
My thought is you have more friends in the pipeline business such as Lougheed at ATCO than you do in the Medical Business like Dinning. You knew sooner or later you would have to fight Health Care and it would capture the hearts and minds of the population. This, even though you are prepared to railroad through your plans that will result in the total privatization of Health Care.
Your water scheme includes the movement of a large part of the Peace River south bound in Alberta(The fully engineered Weatherford Engineering Project) The Peace River is important as you need not fight down stream stake holders. Mr. Lougheed has said ATCO will not work for less than 11 percent profit. All of your projects given to your friends are cost plus so that percentage becomes very significant! We can look forward to 60% increase of cost in our water services.
When Leduc needed water it wanted to join with Devon. The province said no to this, they must sign on a deal with the City of Edmonton. It suits the long term plans. Leduc and Edmonton agreed being Conservative team players. The pipeline and pumping stations were moved into a private company with members of both communities on the board. The only thing that prevents this board from selling their pipeline and water supply to ATCO as an example, is a meeting and cabinet approval. Voters don’t get a say until the next election. This all sounds so familiar!
Your two faced policies are nothing short of pure absolute deceit. No InterBasin transfer is the public position even while you start this same practice!
Communities with water treatment facilities are coerced into signing on with your plan and putting that town’s water on your private grid or, the town will get no support for its treatment plant.
I think there is room for more than one debate on the table! Considering you plan on privatizing every aspect of our public service, the sooner we get the details the better.
I still have not received a reply as to where the missing 60 billion dollars from the privatization of our power lines went to. Let’s get some information on the move!
Saturday, March 04, 2006
What is missing is the why and the statement “Universal coverage is gone!”
It is the Conservative way to turn every aspect of our lives over to private industry. This is what they said they will do; this is what they will do! Their abhorrence of the Canadian “welfare” state has never been hidden. This would be the why of it and the costs in the analysis are not even a consideration, more like a poorly structured red herring. No effort has been made to inject reason into the costs.
Science and technology has made some wonderful break troughs which we all applauded.
Mapping the genome combined with DNA tests that are now inexpensive and can be completed in days or hours.
Knowledge of the intricate way the genome works! From Mother to son, from father to son and so on. Look at the spread of red hair. It has been 500 years since the first red hair showed up in the gene! “What are the odds?” Becomes a real question solved in real time on so many things we would not have thought of just 10 years ago!
Canadian Insurance companies are already restricting coverage for individuals and communities based on the frequency of incidient for a given population. Considering their profit motive their decisions are correct.
Recently on CBC there was a celebration of a young boy receiving a heart repair that was the same one his father had 15 years ago and was not available for his Grandfather a short period of time before that. The health care system has been taking care of ailments caused by genetic errors for a long time. Each time there is a fix, a budget should be set aside for the next generation so they have money to pay for the same fix over and over.
I would guess that when this kid grows up he and his family are going to have to give up all of their chattels; their worldly belongings so they can get that next generation chance for a repair.
The bottom line; ailments can be accurately projected in a family line and the treatment of those ailments will not be covered by the public health system. I can see a mastectomy costing you your house cars; everything! It was charted in you family history you can’t get insurance coverage and universality is a dream gone.
Computers have also made great strides in speed and costs have fallen. Weeee! Look at us go!
Now, computers are used extensively in data mining. This isn’t just the “cookies” and “add ware” left on your computer. It is very real in Insurance, Marketing and Government for making plans; deciding what to cover and what not to. Where to make electoral boundaries. Geo-Political mapping.
It works like this:
Go over the health care records for a province and make a record of the number of asthma cases; heart attacks; bicycle accidents etc. To this add the time of day it happened. Make a geo political map and overlay the incidents by location onto the map. Notice now they up next to Refineries or incinerators and what not. Then decide what you are going to cover, where and to what extent.
Being the conservative way, they get a super deal by having the insurance industry collect he data, actually pay them to do it. At the end of the day there is lots of information in the hands of the insurance companies that allow them not to include certain coverage in defined areas. Not surprising is no information is allowed out of house to protect you.
If you happen to be one of those luckless people who get tagged by both the genome search and the data mining; Well!
Thursday, March 02, 2006
I think that is a fair interpretation of “I will proceed with the third way even if I have to pay Ottawa penalties!
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I fully respect the institution and would guard it with my life. I do not respect the people who have stolen this institution for their own use; their own agenda and I will communicate with them accordingly.
They totally blew as in absconded with all the monies in the near sacred “Alberta Savings and Trust Fund”. If there was pressure put on the bottom line of the oil companies the fund was always there for them.
For 8 years funding for infrastructure as in roads, water treatment etc was under funded to a point of being nonexistent only to be put up as “private industry” projects inviting ATCO and the likes to take over our water and sewer in our cities and towns.
Health Care posed a threat for obscene oil profits so privatize it after deliberately under funding it for a dozen years. Chase off the Doctors and Nurses. Short University Funding forcing them to fill Doctor’s chairs from out of country to receive the higher revenue. After totally trashing the system scream “shortage” and “cost”. Run out the millions for “spin doctor” press releases.
The whole thrust of their policies has been to provide as large a profit margin for the energy companies as is possible. This is achieved on one part by charging the lowest royalties in the world on the Alberta resources. We could charge four times as much for royalties and still be the lowest rate in the world!
Another part is to further subsidize these industries by charging the taxpayers for their natural gas; their electrical power lines and what ever else they may require of the base resource. In conjunction with the Federal Government they have succeeded in getting the oil companies a tax deduction for “future unknown losses.”
This crew has changed the electoral boundaries in this province allowing the rural vote 12 votes to 1 ratio over the urban vote. Challenged by Elections Canada they revamped the electoral boundaries to remain “just” legal.
They have taken the largest advantages we have in electrical production and distribution and turned it over to insiders at a loss of some 60 billions of dollars to Albertans! This was accomplished on a bed of deceit and lies while pushing the “good old boy” image of dear Ralph.
The Conservatives chose stone walling to discussion on their plans to totally privatize the health care system. Not just tweak it as they would have us believe.
The Alberta Conservative Government has practiced and continues to practice a program of misdirection and outright deceit of the general public.
These people are not the institution! They are in my mind gangsters who have taken over the resource and governance of this province and deserve absolutely no courtesy at any level. Respect is something earned!
They are creating a situation in which the nationalization of the resource industry and probably others, will gain more credibility. It is a dangerous path they lead us on!
Don’t count on Harper and company for help, Ralph’s buddy visit with Mr. Harper was not about local fishing!
Current coverage offered by employers in Alberta (except for the oil companies plans) will not cover you a speedy consolation and treatment!
Before you move here, know the risks!