Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sask Power cancels party for volunteers

Despite the fact that all incandescent bulbs will be illegal in Canada by 2012, Sask Power is giving $1.44 million to Project Porchlight. The dream of P.P., a self-described volunteer organization, is to change the world one compact fluorescent light bulb at a time.

Where did this $1.44 million go? At least some of it went to SaskPower parties for their volunteers in Regina, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon. Strangely, SaskPower cancelled the party in Saskatoon even though everything was paid for, including the plane flight of former Canadian Idol finalist Theresa Sokyrka. The reason was, according to a Star-Phoenix article, because SaskPower is raising power rates 13 percent, and it looks bad to have a party in that circumstance.

Perhaps another reason was that the CTF was about to receive information on SaskPower dollars for the project, via an access to information request. The FOI can be read by clicking here. It shows that Sask Power spent $472,500 on the bulbs, $209,925 for ads and promotion, $245,321 for distribution (basically staffing costs for a "volunteer" campaign) and $516,700 for everything, including getting office space for the project. In separate initiatives, SaskPower has spent an additional $893,000 to advertise the merits of CFLs.

In addition, today the CTF received a call from a Sask Power employee who wants to explain why they believe this campaign will be cost-effective for the company. Apparently by lowering demand for electricity, it will require fewer capital costs to provide supply. Hmmm...

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