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Nunavut Power Corporation hires first employee

Rick Blennerhassett, a former NTPC executive, will be the Nunavut Power Corporation’s new president.

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEAN McKIBBON

IQALUIT — The Nunavut Power Corporation has hired its first employee.

Ed Picco, the minister responsible for the Nunavut Power Corporation, announced last week that he’s hired Rick Blennerhassett as president and chief executive officer of Nunavut’s new power company

“With his broad experience and knowledge, gained in southern Canada and particularly in the North, Mr. Blennerhassett will be a definite asset to the Nunavut Power Corporation,” Picco said in a news release.

Blennerhassett, a former vice-president and chief engineer of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation since 1995, will begin work on building up the headquarters of Nunavut’s new power utility, which is slated to become independent from the NTPC by March 31, 2001.

“Rick is the first NPC employee. Obviously we’re going to need a few more than that,” said Peter Scott, who recently joined Nunavut’s Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs as the new director of the Nunavut Power Corporation implementation secretariat.

He and Blennerhassett will work together on discussions with NTPC officials on the division of NTPC’s assets and liabilties between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

“There’s a couple of different streams we’re getting involved in. One is the bean-counter side of it, chasing down the dollars and assets and liabilities, and then there’s an operational side of it that, primarily, Rick as president is dealing with,” Scott said.

He said Blennerhassett is working on transferring intellectual property, such as plant schematics and maintenance manuals, to the new power corporation.

“They’re not going to do us any good sitting in Hay River,” Scott said.

On the bean-counter side of things, Scott said that the implementation secretariat will look at the power rate structures in Nunavut, and consumer subsidies.

A number of tasks lie ahead for the fledgling utility, said Scott, including staffing the new headquarters in Baker Lake, establishing the NPC’s capacity to perform billing, payroll and accounts receivable functions and appointing a board of directors.

“The legislation calls for six to 10 representatives on the [NPC’s] board,” said Scott. The power corporation’s board would be composed of regional representatives, experts on finances and utilities operations, and the president.

“The board members are appointed by the minister responsible. There’s already representatives [from Nunavut’s three regions] on the NTPC board,” said Scott.

It would make sense to have those people stay on, he said. But the other positions would be filled using the recommendations of the other MLAs, he said.

A vice-president of finance also has to be hired, and a communications strategy developed to communicate with NTPC employees and customers in Nunavut, Scott said.

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