BC Hydro

Awash in power at premium prices

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

The action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.

From a BC Hydro website, accessed February 8, 2017:

While the demand for electricity fluctuates year-to-year, BC Hydro forecasts that B.C.’s electricity needs will grow by almost 40 percent over the next 20 years…


Data from BC Hydro’s Annual Reports:


The above graph clearly shows that BC Hydro’s domestic customers have stopped buying more electricity. Demand growth ended a dozen years ago. Conservation and efficiency balances population growth, even though BC Hydro no longer makes a serious effort to promote conservation.

Amazingly, BC Hydro’s annual purchases from independent power producers (IPPs) increased $862 million since 2004 and the utility’s assets grew from $12 billion to $30 billion in the same period.

Additionally, an additional capital spending program totaling about $20 billion is underway. Financials for the six months ended September 2016 – the most recent available – reveal that assets are rising by $162 million a month in the current fiscal year.  Consumption by residential and business users was lower in those six months than in the same periods of the preceding five years.

Increasing IPP purchases and flat demand for power obviously mean that BC Hydro creates less power in its own facilities to meet demand by users in BC. However, massive spending means the utility employs more than triple the assets to produce one gigawatt hour of electricity than it did a dozen years ago.


In the real world, officers and directors would be pushed out the door of any company that triples its assets, produces less product of its own but buys more from others that it then dumps at a loss. In BC, they simply hire more advertising agencies, buy more airtime and spin more lies.

This is bad policy not explained by mere incompetence of management. We must conclude that the Liberal Government and its appointees are directing the public utility, either to cripple it or to deliver billions of dollars to friends and supporters.

A recent article in a California newspaper demonstrates that citizens of British Columbia are not the only people being fleeced by the power industry.

Californians are paying billions for power they don’t need, IVAN PENN and RYAN MENEZES, Los Angeles Times, February 5, 2017:

…California has a big — and growing — glut of power, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has found. The state’s power plants are on track to be able to produce at least 21% more electricity than it needs by 2020, based on official estimates. And that doesn’t even count the soaring production of electricity by rooftop solar panels that has added to the surplus.

To cover the expense of new plants whose power isn’t needed — Colusa, for example, has operated far below capacity since opening — Californians are paying a higher premium to switch on lights or turn on electric stoves…

…This translates into a staggering bill. Although California uses 2.6% less electricity annually from the power grid now than in 2008, residential and business customers together pay $6.8 billion more for power than they did then.

“In California, we’re blinding ourselves to the facts,” said Loretta Lynch, a former president of the California Public Utilities Commission, who along with consumer advocacy groups has fought to stop building plants. “We’re awash in power at a premium price.”

Regulators have for years allowed power companies to go on a building spree, vastly expanding the potential electricity supply in the state. Indeed, even as electricity demand has fallen…


…The rate in California, adjusted for inflation, has increased 12% since 2008, while prices have declined nearly 3% elsewhere in the country.

In British Columbia, adjusted for inflation, residential rates increased 41% since 2008.


9 replies »

  1. Hi Norm,

    Interesting: I noticed a typo in the email – it says assets are increasing at the rate of $162 Billion per year – yet the web site has the (presumably correct) value of $162 Million.

    I wonder how many people can even comprehend the difference between a million and a billion. And in the US, they talk about the debt in trillions; numbers so large I expect not one in a hundred can truly appreciate their magnitude and significance.




  2. Thanks. I noted the typo after publication and corrected it while making a few minor changes. I thought the email provided only a link so I need to be careful about publishing before a final edit.

    Late at night, I have trouble separating billions from trillions. Gosh, I could be a Liberal.


  3. And this is without the BC Liberals’ “rate smoothing” exercise which seems designed to keep the ratepayers at a low grumble rather than the outraged screams that will surely come when the can Christy and her cronies are kicking down the road comes to a stop.

    Sad fact is it will be our grandkids that will be screaming, and some of those screams will be directed at us for letting it happen.


  4. Hydro rates have gone up in recent years, and we know that there will be rate increases coming, every year, for years to come.

    So individuals, businesses, government (schools, hospitals, etc) will keep looking for ways to cut back power consumption – ie: better insulation, LED bulbs, more efficient machines, etc.

    Electricity from BC Hydro is not going to get more affordable, despite what we were told about the benefits of the ‘smart grid’.


  5. …and hydro won’t go down because BC Hydro must generate a revenue stream no matter how much or how little hydro we actually use. Their costs never go down. They never share the pain.


    • BC Hydro rates will rise dramatically over the next decade. They are spending huge dollars to service favoured resource industries and those users don’t pay real costs. Residents and small businesses do.

      Deferrals and intangibles totalled $7.3 billion as of Sept 2016 and those amounts must be written off. Additionally, the huge increases in BC Hydro’s assets must be amortized and amounts paid to IPPs will continue growing. Since the present government aims to provide below-cost power to large companies that fund the LIberals, someone is going to pay much more than they now pay.

      That someone includes residents and small businesses.

      It is inevitable. It will be painful.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Norm: Thanks for exposing the corruption. BC Hydro operates as Payday Cash Loan ATM for the Liberals. They just help themselves to promote the fictious balanced-budget and the loan will never be paid off.

    Comparing the difference between a million and a billion dollars in $100 bills. Christy could easily fit a million dollars into her backpack – when she takes a hike. A billion dollars is ten skids of $100 bills six feet high. You can load 24 skids onto a 65 foot semi-tractor trailer. Basically, BC Hydro will spend 5 trailer loads before water spills over the Site C dam. Add another trailer for cost-over runs and bonuses.

    I sent your LA Times article to the Green Party Leader “Andrew Weaver”. The response from a volunteer: “The Green Party will stop the Site C Dam Project”. Seems that is different from what has been stated.
    Could this be a definite “maybe” … or – only, if they occupy enough seats to fill a Volkswagon sedan and the NDP has a fully loaded Transit bus?

    Christy Clark stumbled her way through a Vancouver Island Team roll out yesterday. They are a motley crew that looks like they spent too long in the bar. Is this is the “dream team” on the Love Boat?
    I think the remaining MLA’s should be buying passage to the lifeboats or “jumping ship” for a soft landing. Perhaps this Bitumen Tanker will be fueled with BC’s LNG as promised four years ago.

    A special time-limited offer (good until May 9th) Frequent flyer points on Air Christy’s Payday Loan credit card is as genuine as the $100 million Prosperity Fund.

    Christy Clark has been treading water as premier … her ship has sunk even before it has left the terminal. Only an oil slick will remain. BC Hydro’s electric chair will may be the only seat she will occupy.
    LNG … pipelines and Tankers – R.I.P. (Rust In Peace)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Promising to stop Site C when they’re hoping for an 8% share of the vote and dreaming about a second MLA is nonsense. I’d like to see it stopped but I don’t know if that’s possible. Nor will any opposition party know enough to make the right decision until the contracts are examined.

      If building the dam costs $10 billion and not building the dam costs $10 billion, would you end it? By the time that decision can be made by a new government, much of the environmental damage will be a reality.

      It will take wise men and women to chart the right course for BC Hydro. A public entity that should be a huge asset to BC’s future has been beaten and raped by criminals. History will hold Clark’s corrupt gang responsible.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I chanced on an article by TonySeba.com that I absorbed, probably because I want to believe it. If he is halfway correct then BC Hydro is doomed. Perhaps I’m too biased to be objective but I’d appreciate an open minded review of his thesis. Don’t any of Chrispy’s minions read any of this stuff?


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