BC Hydro

BC Hydro – overdue and unimproved

Policies of British Columbia’s public sector management dictate that:

Crown corporations must follow the spirit and intent of B.C. government core policies and procedures and comply with all applicable legislation, policies and guidelines…

BC Hydro logo 300Section 32(7) of the Hydro and Power Authority Act determines the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act applies to BC Hydro.

Section 10(3) of that legislation requires that:

A quarterly report must be made public on or before
(a) September 15, in respect of the first 3 months of the fiscal year…

At time of writing, the report for three months ended June 30 is unavailable.

For a crown corporation with assets soon to rise above $40 billion, being weeks late meeting statutory financial reporting requirements is reckless and irresponsible, particularly as it defends spending and management of Site C, the largest ever provincial infrastructure project.

Senior officers of BC Hydro have been regularly cavalier in their interactions with regulators, ratepayers and citizens. It is a culture that has become ingrained and will not be altered without wholesale change in senior managers and directors.

In 2015, Adrian Dix revealed that BC Hydro lied to regulator BCUC about a $400 million computer project that was over budget and delayed for years. Dix said:

BC Hydro knowingly deceived the B.C. Utilities Commission, and the evidence for this is overwhelming.

The allegations were confirmed and CEO Jennifer McDonald apologized more than a month later.

BC Hydro partly justified construction of the nearly $800 million Northwest Transmission Line by saying it would end diesel generated electricity in the community of Iskut, where population is about 350. They believed that would fly better than saying the line would allow Liberal supporter and financial contributor AltaGas to deliver expensive private power to the grid, from which Murray Edwards’ Red Chris mine could draw power without payment under the Liberal mandated mining payment deferral program.

In 2017, Dave Conway, Hydro’s community relations manager for Site C, continued to claim that demand for electricity in BC will  increase “by almost 40 per cent over the next 20 years.” This has been a longstanding position of the utility, undeterred by sales records that show zero demand growth in a dozen years.

BC Hydro has been served with numerous provincial and federal environmental warnings and compliance orders for failures to manage Site C construction activities properly.

When British Columbia’s new government took power In July, they quickly changed the CEO, the Board Chair and two other directors. That left in place most of the hierarchy that managed the utility into its current disastrous condition.

More changes are needed.

Immediately.

Categories: BC Hydro, Site C

6 replies »

  1. Last sentence should be “Charges for the deliberate failure of fiduciary and professional duty need to be laid by BC Attorney General”

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  2. The cabinet ministers most impacted by this (lack of) information are the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and the Minister of Finance. They need the information to fulfill their respective mandates (and duty to us) in a timely and informed manner. This is all the more important given the ongoing critical review of the Site C project by the BCUC.

    Minister Mungall has governance responsibility for BC Hydro, and the onus is now on her. She might be motivated to make the necessary changes if she’s pressured to explain continuing contravention of provincial legislation by a Crown Corporation under her control.

    The comment above regarding charges by the Attorney General highlights another organization with a dismal track record and a hierarchy in need of housecleaning; namely the Attorney General’s crew. Think of Supreme Court ruling on legislation and decade and a half battle with BCTF, advice during “investigation” and resultant health firings, and of course the illegal BC Rail payoff.

    The NDP promised an inquiry into the BC Rail case if elected. Yet current NDP Attorney General Eby’s Deputy is the former Assistant Deputy who made the secret written offer to the defendants that brought the trial to an untimely end. There is prima facie evidence that the deal reached as a result of that offer obligated the Deputy Finance Minister to sign the waiver without requisite authority, and that the offer itself constituted an inducement. How can Mr. Eby feel comfortable with his support?

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  3. I believed Premier Horgan when he said there would be an inquiry…I believed him when he said things would be investigated and cleaned up. To date, I’ve seen nothing that gives me hope for any real or lasting change.
    For the life of me I can’t understand why every ministry hasn’t been cleaned out down to low level management, quietly, quickly and without warning. Putting it off only allows for better stories, more excuses and shredding, more efficient collusion. In other words, another 4 years like the last 16.
    I didn’t vote NDP to have another 4 years of Liberal rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. From what I have seen so far the changes have been good ones. If the new Government were to walk in to the BCUC and BC Hydro as examples and throw all the old faces out, the opposition would have been howling about it. They would say, of course the panel rejected Site C with the newly appointed Hydro and Commission boards filled with ‘no development party’ members.

    The onus is on us to convince Hydro and the BCUC of the need to change direction from Site C to more responsible, less damaging options. Given that Hydro does not have a case in a rational argument that shouldn’t be a big problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Budget Transparency and Accountability Act
    Non-compliance statements
    17 If a document required to be made public under this Act

    (a) is not made public within the required time,
    (b) does not include all the required information, or
    (c) does not present the information in the required manner,
    then, at the time the document is required to be made public, the responsible minister must make public a written statement giving the reasons for the non-compliance.

    Minister Mungall, where is the written statement giving the reasons for the non-compliance?

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