Spearheaded by Clarenville’s Keith Fillier, #MakeNLDarkAgain is a protest against rising power bills you can take part in from the comfort of your own home, anonymously. 

The idea is for everyone to turn the power off in their homes for 4 or more hours on July 1st, starting at noon, to send a message to power companies that the people of the province are unified against recent tax increases, most notably the recent 6.8% rate increase on power which comes into effect July 1. Rates will go up again next spring.

It’s one of many increases to the cost of living in NL, which, all totalled, Fillier says is being felt by him and too many others as a blow to quality of life here.

He says we’ve been trusting our governing leaders to make the right decisions for us, but they’ve failed to do so, and we’re literally paying the price.

Fillier says this do-it-from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home-and-anonymously style of protest is just the beginning of what he and his co-conspirator James Murphy have in store. He feels a momentum brewing and he’ll do what he can to build it and let it roll.

A general sentiment here, is that companies should be hurting as much as the people will in the face of poor decisions that have led to tax and fee hikes, but instead they are, in Fillier’s words, “making huge profits off the backs of ordinary Newfoundlanders.”

“I’ve watched tax and rates increases for the past 2 years eat away at my paycheck,” he Tweeted, “I’ve watched food banks shelves go bare, I’m done watching. People are moving away because they can’t afford our beautiful province … If there’s one thing that makes politicians and corporations listen is $$$$. Let your representatives know you are done with paying for their mistakes. #MakeNLDarkAgain.”

A Reddit poll by u/tidepodpopper, as to whether anyone’s actually going to do this branched off in two directions:
– Thoughts on the feasibility of cutting power to your house and burning wood.
– A general “NL Power will not give a damn about this statement,” or “no one will be using power during those hours anyway, as we’ll all be outside barbecuing, so NL Power won’t notice.”

Perhaps a night time power down on a weeknight may have been more effective. But as one Reddit response reads, “If thousands of people tuned off their power for long enough, the rates would increase yet again for us, in order for NL Power to cover the cost of delivery.”

Sad but true, though sending a message this way is an effective, admirable grassroots reminder that the people have the “power” to elect leaders, or ditch one service for another, especially as alternative sources of heat and power emerge. Going off grid is actually becoming possible for those who can afford the initial set up.

In any case, getting back to the plans of powering down at noon, the pragmatic mathematical break down from Reddit user Eggyeggeggegg, makes one question how much sway we’ll really have,

“If you convince 100,000 to shut off their power during the day, you’re only talking about $5,700 against a company that makes 40 million a year in net profits. And that is unrealistically high because the protest is planned during the middle of the day in the summer when most people actually use very little power, and I also really don’t think 100,000 people are going to do it.If you really want to fight back get a wood stove or even insulate your attic.”