Newfoundland & Labrador: Rolling Blackouts, The Liberty Reports, & The Role of Reliability in Energy Provision

Sydni Kind


Newfoundland’s electrical system experienced significant outage periods in January 2013 and January 2014 that left a large portion of the Island population without power for days at a time.  The inability of the electric system to maintain operations, even considering record winter weather occurrences, raised concerns with consumers and the government about the ability of the system to survive long-term.  Newfoundland’s energy sector operates as a monopoly system, partially owned and operated by the Crown.  Lacking a connection to the mainland system on the Island portion of the province, there is a level of self-reliance placed on the system that is uncommon in North America.  The paper discusses the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities’ authority to commence an investigation and the resulting Liberty Consulting Group report that analyzed the system and its areas of improvement. The Newfoundland system’s lack of reliability standards is compared to the standards of the North America Electric Reliability Corporation, as well as the Ontario and Alberta systems.  It concludes with the forward-looking consideration of the Muskrat Falls Development and its potential to positively impact the Newfoundland electrical system.


energy; crown corporations; reliability

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