BC Hydro executives recognize trouble when they see it. Trouble with their plans to spend $20 billion building additional megaprojects, that is.
In its submission to BCUC seeking to eliminate payments to net metering customers who contribute power to the grid, BC Hydro revealed a situation they want to end:
In 2017, 230 Net Metering customers received an annual energy surplus payout. The total annual payout amounts were approximately $280,000 …
Too bad they weren’t doing something about the amount paid to independent power producers (IPPs) for unneeded electricity in 2017. That was almost 5,000 times more than the payout to net metering customers.
Before further discussion of IPP payments, we must consider that BC Hydro’s sales to residential, commercial and industrial customers have not grown in the last decade. During this time, the utility added 16% to its internal capacity.
So, we must ask why the quantities of electricity purchased from IPPs have been rising steadily. Of course, the rates BC Hydro paid for each KWh of private power has escalated well above the rate of inflation.
There is a small group of people — BC Liberals and friends — who viewed BC Hydro as a giant faucet for disbursement of cash. It is a costly reality for consumers of electricity in British Columbia since BC Hydro has paid more than $11 billion to IPPs since the time Gordon Campbell formed his Liberal Government in 2001.
Where does that money come from? From residential and business consumers.
Yet, despite rate increases well above inflation, BC Hydro has been sinking toward insolvency. Citizens have been misinformed about the state of finances and the corporate media refuses to report the truth.
The Horgan government, now ten months in office, has declined to make significant policy changes at the crown corporation. In fact, BC Hydro operates much as it did under the Clark Liberals.
NDP explains that it has more urgent priorities demanding attention but, more likely, they feel unable to address BC Hydro’s problems without handing political opponents an opportunity to blame troubles on the Horgan Government.
This is a weakness of political will that cannot end well.
Activity here will be limited for a while. I broke my wrist last week and my right arm is in a rather clunky cast. I have limited range of motion in my other arm because of previous shoulder joint replacement so typing is now a real chore. I hope to get another cast soon that will make life a little easier.
Categories: BC Hydro