BC Hydro


BC Hydro will lose hundreds of million of dollars per year on Site C dam output, according to a Vancouver Sun article by economist Marvin Shaffer. Facing an installation cost double that of power from utility-scale solar or gas fired turbines, additional hydro-electricity is unneeded and unaffordable. However, in the face of an election, the board of BC Hydro, loaded with Liberal patronage appointees, is not about to correct its faulty course.

David Conway is an official spokesman for BC Hydro. He responded to Shaffer:

While the demand for electricity  fluctuates year-to-year, we are forecasting demand to increase by almost 40 per cent over the next 20 years, as our population grows by over a million people and the economy expands.

Without Site C, B.C. is forecast to have an eight per cent capacity deficit and a two per cent energy deficit within 10 years — equivalent to the power needs of 100,000 homes.

Most of us assume that officials are not prone to lying but BC Hydro aims to break us of the habit. Have they lied before about capacity deficits? The record is clear:


Based on public records, the volume of BC Hydro’s electricity sales to residential, commercial and industrial customers was higher in 2006 than in 2016. In fact, the trend over more than a decade is slightly downward:


The market for electricity in British Columbia is not an anomaly. This is a chart prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy for the Pacific region, the market where BC once sold significant power:


While its demand has been flat for a decade, the sources of America’s power are changing:


Analysis of utility scale solar power by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory demonstrates the cost of new power from this segment is already below half of the expected cost of Site C capacity, which will be about $100/MWh:

Driven by lower installed project prices and improving capacity factors, levelized PPA prices for utility-scale PV have fallen dramatically over time. Most PPAs in the 2015 sample are priced at or below $50/MWh levelized, with a few priced as aggressively as ~$30/MWh.


“When someone’s being deceptive there are many, many holes in their story, regardless of how convincing they may appear. Look for gaps in the facts, logic and emotion of the person you’re questioning.”
 Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception.

Categories: BC Hydro, Truthiness

4 replies »

  1. Providing deliberate “alternate facts” in a public relations exercise is one thing (in fact it appears to be mandatory in any BC Liberal-connected PR), but doing it before the British Columbia Utilities Commission would be quite another.

    The Utilities Commission Act contains the following provisions.

    106 (1) The following persons commit an offence:
    … (c) a public utility
    … (ii) that wilfully or negligently makes a return or provides information to the commission that is false in any particular,

    …(d) an officer, agent, manager or employee of a public utility
    … (iii) who wilfully gives a false answer to a question contained in a report or form of return required under this Act,

    (4) A person convicted of an offence under this section is liable to a penalty not greater than $1,000,000.”

    I wonder if BC Hydro is forbidden to submit its Site C fiction for analysis because the BC Liberals know the BCUC has a copy of “Liespotting: Proven techniques to Detect Deception” in its library?


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