What follows is part of correspondence Anne Cameron had with Erik Andersen, the economist who has been outspoken about financial mismanagement at BC Hydro. It is published here with permission.
Ms. Cameron’s words resonate with me.
I won’t steal half your day by giving a point-by-point on our on-going jousting competition with “Synex”, the IPP imposed on us. Step by step, sleepless night by sleepless night this village of less than 300 full-time residents has managed to kick’em out of town but then the arstles in Victoria allowed them access to land outside the Village limits so we didn’t manage to completely get rid of them and our water is still at risk, as are our fish and our spawning beds.
I know Conspiracy Theories abound but… at about the same time, relatively speaking, as Synex started sniffing around and making all kinds of promises, the Village got ordered to stop using McKelvie Creek as our drinking water source. Nobody has ever been made sick by drinking that water but all-of-a-quick, oh migawd, we had to find an alternative.
The only acceptable alternative we could possibly afford was to have a deepwater well drilled. That, in and of itself, was cause for huge strife and the engineering firm chose a site not far from what had been, for years, the village dump. Some of us screeched about leaching and reminded folks there were transformers from the sawmills buried there, but… and there, by the way, went the tennis court, although I must admit nobody had been using it, we don’t seem to have a lot of tennis players in town. Probably because so many of us are getting just a bit long in the tooth.
because McKelvie was no longer our drinking water source the IPP, Synex, applied for and got some part of what had been the water rights afforded to the Village.
I’m not sure but I think Synex has been given two increases in water rights.
To add to the fun, Western Forest Products is now gearing up to clearcut what USED to be our watershed, a chunk of old growth which has never been interfered with in the past. Until now. So we, aging and creaky as we are, are trying to organize against the clearcutting, wish us luck, we’ll need it, and I suspect I’m not alone in thinking we’re gearing up to tilt windmills.
Well, we’re less than 300 fulltime residents, we’re at the end of a goat track, we’re an hour and a half out of Gold River and, frankly, who gives a poop. We’re being fleeced by two corporations, and we’re being screwed by the government which allows out-of-sight out-of-mind pillage which they will insist on calling “resource extraction”.
There was no need for the hysteria around the drinking water, no need for the debt we incurred to drill the well, just as there is no need for the electricity the IPP purports to want to produce. They have no contract with Hydro, nor with the Liebral government, and still they persist in spite of loud resistance from the population..
Erik, I fully believe they do not give a shyte about electricity. They want that water! They’ll do anything to get that water; they’ll tell any lie, they’ll finagle and fib, but they want that water. They’re going to eventually put it in bottles and sell it in supermarkets below the 49th and they’ll laugh and snicker at how easy it was to get richer, ever richer, at the expense of the unwary and trusting.
We’ve been scuttled by both provincial and federal assholes. They’ve played fast and loose with our drinking water and now Western Forest Products is going to drop the old growth.
And those so-called “journalists” are wasting time we will never get back by going on endlessly about Trump’s twittering…
and we’ll never get any of them in jail. It’s treason, but if you stand up and say so they’ll do their damndest to either laugh at you or get you committed to a rubber room.
Synex Press Release, August 2016:
Vancouver, British Columbia (FSCwire) – Synex … the 5.3MW McKelvie Creek Hydro Project (the “Project”) has …a Target Commercial Operation Date (“Target COD”) of 2018.
…The Project is to be located in mid-Vancouver Island, nearby to the existing 3.8MW Mears Plant, 2.8MW Cypress Plant and 4.3MW Barr Plant as well as the 4.3 Newcastle Creek Hydro Project [which has] a Target COD of 2018…
Synex … has interests in 12 MW of operating facilities and has applications for water licences and land tenure on over 55 potential hydroelectric sites which are either in various stages of development or are being held for disposition.
Hydro awash in private power, Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun, May 2012:
BC Hydro stations around British Columbia are sitting idle while independent power producers run flat out.
There’s so much water available for hydroelectric power that a Washington-Oregon utility, which runs full-time to protect salmon and trout, is paying other utilities to take electricity off its hands.
That means bargain-priced import electricity is available to BC Hydro from the Bonneville Power Authority, but it’s a bittersweet opportunity.
It’s difficult for BC Hydro to tap into the cheap power because of contractual obligations to purchase power from about 75 independent power producers (IPPs). Hydro is forced to buy from IPP operators, including big industrial ones such as Rio Tinto Alcan and Teck Resources, even as its own generation stations wait on standby.
B.C. Hydro spent $17.5 million to not buy power, Cassidy Olivier, Vancouver Sun, April 2016:
It cost B.C. Hydro $17.5 million last year to ask eight Independent Power Producers of biomass energy to turn off production because their power was not needed…
Hydro critic Adrian Dix, however, framed the accounting differently, suggesting during the estimates debates that Hydro actually paid millions in contract penalties to the IPPs, which are all connected to pulp mills, to not produce electricity at a time when overall rates are going up.
“They talk about offsetting savings and so on, but what this shows is these are incredibly lucrative contracts and that Hydro has mismanaged the system,” Dix said in a follow-up interview.
“B.C. Hydro is paying $17.5 million not to take power.”…