On April 8, Vancouver Sun published an opinion piece by BC Hydro Chair Brad Bennett titled B.C. Hydro, vision, planning and fortitude — getting the job done
The Vancouver Sun does not identify Bennett as a partisan campaigner in BC’s current general election. In the article, Bennett applauds Liberal power policies and repeats an outrageous lie that has been part of BC Hydro’s misinformation strategy for more than 12 years:
B.C. Hydro’s long-term electricity needs are forecast to increase by almost 40 per cent over the next 20 years… and our existing infrastructure is at or near capacity…
This is the text of a complaint I filed with editors of the Vancouver Sun and subsequently, the National NewsMedia Council:
Brad Bennett is a public servant, serving as Chair of public utility BC Hydro. He is also a partisan campaign official for the governing Liberal Party during the current election. He misstates several points but the most egregious is the claim that British Columbia’s “electricity needs are forecast to increase by almost 40 per cent over the next 20 years.”
BC Hydro has been overstating electricity demand growth throughout the last dozen years while sales to its residential, commercial and industrial customers in BC have not grown. The numbers charted above are taken from BC Hydro’s annual and quarterly reports.
The Vancouver Sun knew or should have known that Bennett was misinforming readers.
The newspaper allowed this false information to be published but my central complaint is that it failed to identify Bennett as a Liberal campaigner in the current election.
I conveyed that information to Vancouver Sun editors with this additional comment:
I am not aware of the Vancouver Sun ever giving prominence to the fact that domestic consumption of electricity has not increased in 12 years. Despite this, BC Hydro added $19 billion in assets during the same time period and it is embarked on spending program that may add another $20 billion in assets in the next decade.
In addition, it can be shown that BC Hydro contracts with independent power producers, which last up to 2075, include inflation protected payments that are a multiple of market value. The losses incurred are already measured in billions. The Vancouver Sun has routinely failed to report the true state and prospects of BC Hydro and is guilty of shoddy or biased journalism.