Horgan, John

Horgan talks private and public power

The following was first published February 8, 2011. I’ve been writing about IPPs for years and, before he became Premier, Mr. Horgan knew things about energy management that now seem forgotten.


John Horgan issued a press release that makes so damn much sense, I’m repeating it almost entirely. British Columbia urgently needs an independent and transparent examination of all private power purchase agreements, including those important portions kept secret. The future liability of BC citizens is in the tens of billions of dollars. This may cripple the province in the future. He said:

The BC Liberal government has been forcing BC Hydro to sign secret agreements with private power producers for years, and I believe many are not serving the public interest. The buy-high and sell-low mentality under the current energy scheme has to end before our crown jewel BC Hydro is bankrupted. We pay sky high prices for power we don’t need, and then it is dumped on the export market for a fraction of the price.

horganjHorgan promised to reform the private power system in B.C. to bring it back in line with the values of British Columbians – ensuring public lands and rivers are used in a manner that respects the environment, First Nations, communities, and the public interest. Horgan would:

  • Put a moratorium on new run-of-river power projects,
  • Implement an energy plan that puts conservation, environmental protection, and the interests of all British Columbians first,
  • Review all existing power purchase agreements to ensure they are in the public interest and take action to correct deficiencies,
  • Restore the BC Utilities Commission to its role providing independent review and oversight of all private power projects and billions of dollars in other capital spending exempted by the BC Liberals’ energy plan.

Said Horgan:

The BC Liberal energy policy has been a rip-off, not a comprehensive plan. Its objective has been to transfer public wealth into private hands. Hydro should be focused on the public interest and the needs of domestic rate payers. Under my leadership that’s exactly what it will do.

The destruction of pristine forests to build roads and power lines to service these massive river diversion projects is not what anyone expects when they think of ‘run of the river,’ but that is exactly what’s happening.


This video was not part of the original post but it seems appropriate in 2018.

13 replies »

  1. Horgan is an intelligent person, and that's what we're going to need to get through the nuclear winter Campbell has unleashed on us, something we haven't quite felt yet but, like an approaching storm, we sense it's not far away.

    Horgan's also someone I can trust.

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  2. Hahaha that guy Horgan was a card. Good thing he had his spine removed immediately after the election, he might have been a great leader now hes just a deer in the headlights waiting for the “scandal” that will end his tenure. Like getting his neighbour to build him a deck or riding the skytrain for free. But not like bankrupting our insurance provider or allowing and facilitating through inaction massive money laundering in our casinos. Or any of the dozens of scandals that should have brought down the BC Liberals , yet they wait in the wings with 38% support ? Nothing will change in this province until we have a free press and not a bought and paid media. David Eby was on CKNW and Jill Bennet said , the NDP was in power for a long time could this, (money laundering) have begun when they we’re in power?
    That is what we are dealing with. Fox north has a lock on the news radio airwaves basically. They cover the newest scandal for a few days or a week then move on. And nothing happens. Don’t hold your breath for Horgan to do anything except load more on Eby’s back.

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    • Eby is the A.G. and its his job. He is the most competent person to under take these investigations. He’s also the toughest of the lot, perhaps next to Judy Darcy.

      Horgan hasn’t had his spine removed, but he is faced with the realities of governing and no premier has ever pulled a “Dave Barrett”, get in, do everything you want, because Dave Barrett was in for only 1 term. Barrett changed the province for ever, but others want a longer kick at the can.

      I recall Williams at a social event answering some young SFU students about politics and their time in office. His response was long this line, , the NDP were the bastards of the Canadian political system. You would be invited in only once, so you had to do everything you needed to and then you’d be asked to leave again. This was sometime back in the late 1980s. I think he and Barrett got it right.

      The MSM isn’t going to report anything bad on the B.C. Lieberals and nothing good on the NDP. Its how things work. Doesn’t matter how nice the NDP tries to play, there isn’t enough money coming to the media and theirs, so they want them gone. That being the situation, the NDP might want to just pull a “Barrett” and give every one something to think about 40 yrs later.

      Did see the Ginger Goodwin Sign up on the Inland Highway again, the one Stan Hagen had taken down the instant they became government again. Almost drove off the highway laughing. So Stan, if there is an after life you and Ginger can both have a good laugh.

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  3. Horgan is the reluctant leader of a politcal party so hidebound, so antiquated, so insecure, that it could not defeat the horribly corrupt BC Liberal Party and had to secure the 2 Green members to form a government.

    The NDP had to act boldly o gain the voters attention, but instead has acted as a Casper Milquetoast, doing nothing but raising taxes on pensioners and generally doing nothing.

    Urban, regional, provincial transportation desperate needs a bold plan, but what do we get is whine, whinge and blame.

    Education needs a bold statement after years of neglect, but all we get is whine whinge and blame.

    On and on it goes..

    The massive Liberal corruption associated with casinos and international money laundering needs a criminal inquiry now. Nope, not Horgan, whine whinge and blame.

    Site C and the pipeline issue needs bold leadership, but it is business as usual.

    I’m sorry, Horgan and his dubious crew had its chance; I came, I saw and I puked.

    Reluctantly, the Greens will get my vote the next time around as Horgan and the NDP has proven to be electoral nobodies, Liberals by a different name.

    Nothing to whine about, nothing to whinge about, just yourselves to blame.

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  4. An unforeseen problem for the old school backroom party hacks and consultants (that are engineering the current NDP path) is that they are discounting those of us that used the same lines going door to door for them this last election. They are discounting the fact that (unlike career politicians) we do not like our personal integrity and convictions to fix up this province brought into question when we happen to run into anyone we had long conversations with at those doors. They are discounting the numbers of us that are not left or right but commonsense right or wrong when it comes to mapping out things for future generations.

    Without doubt there are some good things happening (or should I say half-happening)…..but I find myself nodding and agreeing with a lot of what Evil Eye says. I need to find the photographer that was at the wild party Horgan, Clark, Campbell and our local mainstream “media” attended. How did he get those photos and how much did all of the current (no pun intended) BC Hydro board members pay for them? Several of our unelected deputy ministers and senior bureaucrats in other ministries must have kicked in too.

    As for proportional representation, what a spin job….both NDP and BCLibs want it to stay the same….they get pensions (which by this article seems to be the only intent) no matter who is in power. BCLibs fear mongering and NDP making it overly complicated. Sadly, it is good MLA’s that stand to lose out next election by way of the company they keep.

    I dare say the same could happen in the upcoming municipal elections…..being tied to either of the big parties may backfire with long term residents wanting to reign in the power wielded by land pimps.

    Horgan should be looking to bloggers and their commenters to take up positions as deputy ministers of staff…size 13 steel toe boots preferred.

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    • @Motorcycleguy: Very well said.

      While a lot of us didn’t go door to door as you did (and good on you and anyone else who did), we used those same lines and their equivalent widely in various circles and now meet our audience with egg on our faces courtesy of Mr. Horgan. Too many of the conversations begin with, “I thought your guy was (not)going to…” or, “Where’s those balls you said he had?” I struggle to answer.

      Mr. Horgan is going to hear a lot of conversations next campaign that start with, “Fool me once…”

      As for egg on faces, the lyrics to the Irish Rovers clip Norm provided above include:

      “Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg
      Ye’re an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
      You’ll have to be left with a bowl out to beg
      Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye”

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  5. Do we ever need a very good and deep look at B.C. Hydro and all its goings on, all its holdings, all its payings out, all its lack of money coming in, and all those stupid meter contracts. We need a really, really good look at all of B.C. Hydro. Whether it needs to be a public inquiry or not is another thing. We don’t have forever and we don’t have a ton of money. The NDP’s focus seems to be on Health and Education and that’s where it ought to be. David Eby tackled money laundering first. Perhaps now that that is over, and leg. is being brought forward, he could have a deep look at B.C. Hydro, an investigation, fast and thorough.

    Public inquires are nice, but take too long and are too expensive. The NDP would have to complete any investigation in under 6 months, in my opinion or people loose interest and the time of the next election will be upon us.

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  6. Circumstances:

    A.) NDP doves almost tore caucus in two when they tried to brand one-third of their MLAs as traitorous hawks for simply expressing their constituents’ concerns about the leader’s passivity whilst the BC Liberals writhed in scandal and disgrace—and she was ousted. The dove-ideologues elected one of their own after the leadership convention ignored irregularities in their champion’s member sign-ups; subsequently he thought a general election was a good time to affect a pacifist-faction power play by way of a foolish “positive politics” campaign policy that prohibited NDP candidates from making negative criticism of, or aggression towards, the BC Liberals’ atrocious record—and the NDP blew a substantial lead to lose the election. The NDP leader resigned during his election night concession speech to a shocked, divided and demoralized party and its voters.

    B.) The fringe Green party which had been poaching erstwhile NDP voters and regularly splitting the vote in several ridings in the BC Liberals’ favour for a number of elections in a row—with just single-digit electoral support —advantaged the NDP’s foolish campaign idealism by winning its first seat in the BC Assembly, adding NDP injury to the insult of its campaign blunder as the Green fat was now in the fire.

    C.) Everyone knew the BC Liberals were out to privatize public enterprises and had been implicated in corruption and busted for lying and crony favouritism but, by throwing a cloak over the books and decommissioning public watchdogs, the 16-year regime of stealth and sabotage, though suspected, was largely hidden. Nobody, including the Official Opposition, knew the exact extent of the damage until the BC Liberals lost a confidence vote and the power to further conceal the public’s books.

    D.) To counter the electoral threat from the newly legitimized Greens, the NDP was compelled to make electoral reform promises to blunt one of the Greens’ major platforms. Yet, despite this tactical manoeuvre, disaffecting disappointment in Christy’s first and last mandate of her own, and a smartly aggressive election campaign, the NDP failed to grow its total vote-count (ending up in a virtual tie with the BC Liberals), failed to win a majority, and failed to keep the Greens bottled up with a single seat, resulting in the thinnest possible minority supported by the now three-seat Green balance of power.

    E.) Public expectations are unrealistically high, especially now BC Liberal perfidy is recognized.

    Victim:

    John Horgan who won the leadership of a riven party by acclamation and, after forming government, must now deal with massive breaches of public trust hitherto only suspected, with the thinnest of minorities, and the prospect of an early election of pro-rep prevails in November and the Greens withdraw their support, forcing the NDP to proceed very cautiously while developing at least two contingencies, one short term, one long term (that is, three more years).

    It has to be the perfect imperfect storm. It can’t be easy. Surely not as easily as it is to criticize.

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  7. Scotty on Denman, excellent analysis the NDP may once again tear itself apart because a number think things ought to go one way and others don’t understand the reality of being a government and governing.

    as to the Greens, their leader, in my opinion is simply a Liberal in a slightly shabbier suit. The other two ridings the Greens gained, were the NDPs to loose and they did. some of those long term NDP MLAs need to work a little harder. being official opposition might have been a good way to make a living without doing much work, but now its time to get out there and earn their money.

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  8. Another country with the same problem? Germany. In 2000, Germany implemented its Energiewende, or “energy transition,” as an attempt to ween its way off of fossil fuels and other carbon-producing energy sources. The program is largely a set of timetables for different goals of reducing carbon emissions and increasing generation sources from renewable energy. For example, by 2050, Germany aims to have 80% of its electricity production and 60% of its overall energy use, come from the sun, wind, and biomass. Concurrently, they aim to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, relative to 1990 levels, by 80-95% in 2050. That is a very worth pursuit, without question.

    However, the side effects of this policy aren’t so popular. First, the cost of electricity in Germany is astronomical. German residential customers pay roughly $0.36/kWh on average versus $0.12/kWh in the U.S. This rising cost of electricity is a consequence of the Energiewende policy because this program guarantees 20 years of fixed high prices for solar and wind producers (called feed-in-tariffs) as well as preferred access to the electricity grid. As a result, roughly 24% of electricity production in 2013 came from renewables. The price signals are very hard to pass up for individuals considering investments in solar.

    However, this subsidy has proven costly. The difference between the market price for electricity and the higher fixed price for renewables is passed on to consumers, whose bills have been rising for years. An average household now pays an extra ~$350 a year to subsidize renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices fell thanks to the fracking boom. And despite all of this increase in renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany have increased because of the decision to shutter their nuclear plants in response to the Fukushima disaster. To replace this generation capacity, Germany had to replace nuclear reactors, virtually greenhouse-gas emission free, with coal power: a very dirty, carbon-intensive energy source. Talk about unintended consequences.

    On top of all of this is the huge problem associated with solar and wind: intermittency. Until economical, large-scale battery storage comes available and is attached to grids, solar and wind won’t be a viable source of electricity without inherent problems presenting due to their intermittency.

    All this isn’t to say I don’t support renewables. I love the idea of solar and wind meeting all of my energy needs. The intent of this program was in the right place. We do need to transition to sustainable energy sources and away from greenhouse-gas intensive generation. But sadly, the terrible side effects of this program have harmed German households and their businesses from being competitive.

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