Government review of BC Hydro is specious

Some may be able to moderate use of electricity from the provincial grid but almost no individual can stop being a BC Hydro consumer. That fact obliges politicians to ensure the company is operated with maximum efficiency for the benefit of every citizen, not the relative handfull that are rewarded by BC Hydro’s misconceived spending plans. Sadly, the Horgan Government does not agree. Utility policies and company management are almost unchanged during the last 11 months and the recently announced review is specious.

Canada inflating the carbon bubble

Canada, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are today committed to pumping billions of dollars into the inevitable carbon bubble. Delaying transition to renewables to extract additional wealth from fossil fuels is dangerous Smarter people than Notley and Trudeau prefer a different approach.

Corporate interest outranks public interest

Many citizens — although not In-Sights readers — will be shocked to learn that credits owed natural gas producers soared by more than $1 billion from April to November 2018. That increase is two and a half times more than the total gas royalties received by government in the three fiscal years ended March 2018. The $3.2 billion balance owed to producers ensures that royalty revenues will remain at paltry levels throughout the Horgan Government’s present term.

Ferry innovation? Wazzat?

The Havyard shipyard announced that it received a contract to build seven battery-powered ferries for Fjord1, Norwegian transport conglomerate. The news comes after the operators of the first all-electric ferry in Norway, the ‘Ampere’, reported some impressive statistics after operating the ship for over 2 years. They claim that the all-electric ferry cuts emissions by 95% and costs by 80%. Unsurprisingly, the potential cost savings are attracting a lot of orders for new electric ferries and for the conversion of existing diesel-powered ferries…

The race to the bottom is over

In the fiscal years 2016 and 2017, natural gas royalty payments totalled $291 million. However, credits owed producers increased $748 million so, if the province bothered to record these obligations as was recommended by the Office of the Auditor General, the royalty account had a two-year deficit of $457 million. A decade ago, two fiscal years —  2006 and 2007 — produced gas royalty payments of $3.7 billion (2017 dollars) from substantially less production.

Organizational inertia and Site C

The decision to proceed with Site C was not based on need for power by BC consumers. Demand is this province has been more or less unchanged since 2005… While the NDP has done much to change the direction of government in BC, they’ve been paralyzed when it comes energy policies. BC Hydro has been a troubled organization for years and it will not be rescued by timid actions. That’s bad news for every BC business and ever resident who consumes electricity.

Priorities

There is a small group of people — BC Liberals and friends — who viewed BC Hydro as a giant faucet for disbursement of cash. It is a costly reality for consumers of electricity in British Columbia…

Solar power unstoppable, even on the wet coast

Dave Melrose, a reader who is in the solar installation business, commented on my previous article Death knell for net metering. He worries that people could be misinformed because I didn’t make clear that self-generation of electricity remains viable for homeowners. People tell me a 15-year payback on solar installations is common, even without selling excess power to the utility. However, having studied the financial statements of BC Hydro, I know that huge rate increases are coming. These will shorten the solar system payback considerably…

Liberal amounts of fake accounting

Residents of British Columbia understand financial pain that follows when officeholders subvert public utilities to gain political advantage and reward special interests. BC Liberals aimed to privatize public assets and services. When it could not be achieved overtly, it was done by stealth. After inevitable failures and disasters, legislators concealed them by employing a broad misinformation strategy. BC’s success in duping the public on utility matters encouraged Ontario Liberals to adopt accounting fakery in their own province…

Death knell for net metering

BC Hydro fears the amount of power fed to the grid by participants in net metering will expand substantially. As a result, this week the utility announced they intend to change the program so that it is not available to customers generating power beyond their own energy needs…