BC Hydro

2005→2016 IPP purchases ↑↑ $835m ↑↑

BC Hydro has three particularly important types of customers. These consumers, all inside British Columbia, are categorized as:

  1. Residential,
  2. Commercial and light industry,
  3. Heavy industry.

There are others outside the province but BC power users shouldn’t be subsidizing their needs by delivering electricity at a fraction of today’s marginal cost.

In the past year, the utility began reporting certain sales outside BC as if these were domestic consumption. BC Hydro wants to show a greater need for power to rationalize increased IPP purchases and addition of generating facilities.

It is manipulation intended to hide BC Hydro’s growing surplus of power. It makes no sense to add yet more capacity or purchase power at high prices if it is to be dumped outside British Columbia for a fraction of what new power costs.

That is precisely what happens because BC Hydro’s three types of domestic customers bought the same quantity of power in fiscal year 2016 as they did in fiscal year 2005.

However, IPP purchases in 2016 were 222% more by volume and 312% more by dollar value than in 2005.  That means 835 million additional dollars went from the pockets of ratepayers to the accounts of private power producers, most of whom are not owned by British Columbians.

In addition to throwing billions at IPPs, BC Hydro has been spending money like a drunken lottery winner. And, we know where they get the cash that’s being thrown around.  What isn’t being taken through higher electricity rates is borrowed, to be recovered by even larger price rises.

We had ten years without power rate increases (1993 to 2003), then years of modest increases (2004 to 2010). However, in 2011, Christy Clark returned. Although Premier Gordon Campbell set the stage and initially did the dirty deals, Clark’s Government avoided every opportunity to avoid or moderate the losses.

In addition, they spun out yet more special benefits for special friends, particularly generous Liberal contributors in the resource industries.

Here is a look at electricity prices over 25 years. Obviously, residential users carry the largest burden and, given the close Liberal attachment to big business, individual residents will absorb  most of the new tolls.



Categories: BC Hydro

5 replies »

  1. This is totally unacceptable business by this government. Disgusted hydro payer. (residential) 2017 can’t come soon enough in my eyes. I hope others feel the same. This is just one of many sell outs this government has done, and not looking out for the “citizens” of the province. Shameful.


    • BC Hydro is bankrupt and has been for almost a decade.It is being driven further into the ground. The only reason I can see for building site C is that is what governments do before they sell off crown corporations as actual give-aways. We will be paying for BC Hydro long after they privatize it.


  2. I’m not only Aghast, but flabbergasted as well. I didn’t believe this graph until I dug into the attic to retrieve my old Hydro bills. Sure enough, its right on the money. Somewhat akin to putting a frog in a pot of water and turning on the heat. In this case we’re the frog.
    I’m investigating the process of becoming an IPP by covering my roof with solar panels. The solar panel installation is relatively easy compared to the red tape of qualifying to tie in to the grid, but I’m prepared to go it alone if necessary.
    So Chrispy, count on one less burden to your escalating (faux) hydro demand. But don’t cancel Site C just on account of me. There may be others that can afford to double up their usage. How about tanning beds in every room?


  3. Reporting from convention:
    Energy Minister Bill Bennett said the province hasn’t “lost interest” in private development of wind, solar and run-of-river power, but those intermittent sources have to have firm backup. Site C will allow more private power development in the long run, he said.

    Bennett added that the market has changed since the B.C. Liberal government ramped up private power from four per cent to 25 per cent of BC Hydro’s total, with an economic downturn in 2009 and the struggles of pulp and paper and other major industrial power users reducing demand.

    It’s all about the money, follow the money. Rate increases for the rest of us. Think Ontario won’t happen here? It is already, just hasn’t caught up yet.

    2017 can’t come soon enough.


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