BC Hydro

Die große Lüge

My writings in the past have decried BC Hydro directors and executives surrendering to corporate inertia. Inappropriate rigidity has led to failure in many badly run corporations and it threatens our giant public utility.

But, I now conclude that explanation is too generous to energy policy makers, past and present.

We have evidence that shifting industry dynamics were anticipated but consciously ignored and suppressed. Groups with special interests were favoured and fleecing of the public began.

In June 2006, BC Hydro hired a team of experts led by one of Canada’s leading energy management consulting firms, Marbek Resource Consultants Ltd. The purpose was to investigate ways for BC’s industries, businesses and households to save energy.

After months of comprehensive research and input from an external review panel of academics, industry representatives and consumers, the team reported. Bob Elton, BC Hydro President and CEO added a short summary that included:

The Conservation Potential Review (CPR 2007) has identified almost 20,000 GWh/yr of energy savings that are economically viable by the year 2020. The study used a series of workshops to further estimate that approximately 50% of the economic energy savings or 10,400 GWh/yr could be achieved by the year 2020.

While these findings support the target of 10,000 GWh/yr in 2020, as set out by the 2007 BC Energy Plan, they do not include additional savings …through supply-side efficiency improvements within BC Hydro, savings from emerging technologies beyond 2011 or step-changes in energy-efficient technologies.

Elton tried to sell a conservation-first policy to Gordon Campbell’s Government. It did not fit with the BC Liberals’ plan to award contracts worth more than $60 billion to independent power suppliers (IPPs) and to keep expanding BC Hydro’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure.

As a result, the Campbell Government fired Bob Elton and prevented the utility from beginning any program that would lead to significant reductions in consumption.

Elton was on the right track. While his consultants underestimated how efficiencies and low-cost alternatives would alter the energy landscape, they did anticipate change:

…the performance efficiency of major energy-using technologies has continued to improve, technology prices have changed, new products have become available…


The aim to increase BC Hydro’s purchases of private power while it also planned billions of dollars of capital spending required Die große Lüge, the big lie. That came in the form of BC Hydro’s Electric Load Forecasts, such as the one released in 2011, which called for a 51% demand increase over 20 years.

The number was slightly moderated in the following year but the lies continued.

Times Colonist – January 2013:

Hydro energy forecasts indicate customer demand for electricity is expected to increase by about 40 per cent over the next 20 years.

Vancouver Sun – February 2017:

Dave Conway, community relations manager, Site C, B.C. Hydro:

“While the demand for electricity fluctuates year-to-year, we are forecasting demand to increase by almost 40 per cent over the next 20 years…”

However, BC Hydro’s annual reports, the latest released August 28, reveal undoctored truths. In graphic form:

13 years 500

Keep in mind that deliveries of electricity to BC consumers have not increased in the past 12 years. However, something else has changed.

IPP Purchases dollars

IPP purchases gwh

BC Hydro’s internal generating capacity was 10,219 megawatts in FY 2006 and during the year, each MW of capacity produced 458,460 megawatt-hours of electricity. Two years later, each MW produced 509,328 MWh of electricity.

In FY 2018, generating capacity was  11,918 megawatts, an increase of 17%. During the year, each MW of internal capacity produced 402,131 megawatt-hours of electricity, a reduction of 12% compared to 2006.

One doesn’t have to be an energy expert to understand that flat domestic sales, low export prices and increased purchases of private power leave unpleasant alternatives. The first is to sell power outside the province for less than prices paid IPPs; the second is to produce less power from internal capacity.

In fact, the company is doing both. This  chart reflects the reduction of power generated by two of BC Hydro’s main three facilities.

mica and revelstoke production per mw capacity 400




Categories: BC Hydro

13 replies »

  1. Norm:
    Can I talk to you about what BC Hydro did to us, our business and family.
    It will blow your mind and leads directly to BCIMC and CAI PRIVATE EQUITY PARTNERS (David Emerson, Tracey McVicar, Governor General David Johnson and Justin Trudeau (Yes, the Smart Meters Partners in Crime).
    CAI is out of New York.
    John English 250 5109474

    Liked by 4 people

  2. How is such a blatant abuse of power allowed to happen? I guess if the government keeps cooking the books to get their dividend anything can happen. This smells so bad, one might think we are a little banana republic that peels off the skin of the banana for the top 1% and the rest is thrown on the ground to rot. And those abusers are the ones that are getting paid the mega bucks, I guess we all are just stupid.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It is high time that the people of BC snap out of docile passivity. Die große Lüge that is being perpetrated is that consumers have to tolerate whatever the plutocrats choose to dish out. I urge everyone to spend a little over an hour listening to Jeremy Rifkin’s lecture on the Third Industrial Revolution. Cost reducing economies of production are coming, and we are insane to blow $12+ billion on an unnecessary earthen dam.

    Ou NDP and Green Party ought to be joining forces in a serious effort to mobilize every community in the province behind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. This could enable an industrial strategy that David Lewis would be proud of. #PeoplePowerRising


  4. -Ah yes the BC clean energy act and the forbidden Columbia river treaty power sold at half ,at least ,the 9 cent rate of BC Ipp purchases and other forbiddden Burrard Thermal use.?

    -BC buys 100 m more this year over last (1.2 up to 1.3 billion every 12 months)?

    -And what the heck is “OTHER “category of BC Hydro sales of about 7 GWH annually?

    -Does BC Hydro turn off dams,at times (Bypass water and forced to buy IPP 24/7?)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “In some recent years, BC Hydro, through Powerex, has been a net importer of electricity for domestic use.”

    Say what?


    Despite the “performance” of BC Hydro, it is interesting to note that four out of the top ten highest-paid BC public servants in fiscal 2017/18 were the immediate past and present presidents of BC Hydro, and the immediate past and present presidents of its wholly-owned subsidiary Powerex.

    Thomas Bechard, Powerex $898,258
    Jessica McDonald, BC Hydro $541,615
    Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro $529,184
    Teresa Conway, Powerex $518,689

    Norm says, “One doesn’t have to be an energy expert to understand that flat domestic sales, low export prices and increased purchases of private power leave unpleasant alternatives.”

    Yes. But for some, very pleasant salaries.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I don’t see anyone refuting the facts brought up here. They have been said often enough very clearly. You’d think the government would mount a defense of their reputation if these claims weren’t true.
    Just quietly cashing in on these vast dream cheque schemes, I suppose, hoping no one notices.
    Wow, just in it for the money.
    I’d say a Kleptocracy to pillage the public’s wealth is the sport here in BC.
    Legal too.
    We’re “open for business” now is given a different meaning than what was meant.
    Its a shame to see this for the damage it does to honest, repectable people.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One can draw so many straight lines from former Premier Gordon Campbell enriching his corporate friends, one wonders if there is any rule of law in BC, or is it all an illusion under a corporate dictatorship.

    BC Rail
    Canada Line
    Turnstiles/fare cards
    BC Place roof
    Money laundering at casinos
    BC Hydro
    Fish farms
    ALR decisions

    and on and on it goes.

    Former Premier photo-op was not the devil incarnate, oh no, she was the Sorcerer’s apprentice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Norm, I managed to inveigle my way into BC Hydro’s ‘Fort Knox’ style inner sanctum where I was granted access to one it’s managers. Whilst chatting about an unrelated matter I happened to mention that I had just installed a Solar Energy project on my house and expected a 12 -13 year payback, based on CURRENT Hydro rates. He said “In five or so years WHEN (not IF, but WHEN) Hydro is privatized rates will soar and your payback period will be much shorter.”
    After what happened to BC Rail I can believe there is some truth in his statement.
    I won’t divulge the location or person as he also made some rather pointed remarks about IPP’s, Accenture and Site C and I believe he’s on OUR side.


  9. In the 1980’s, there were all kinds of BC Hydro watch dog and protest groups that kept them more or less in check. But look what has happened. We, the citizens, have been asleep at the wheel and the politicians have driven the bus off the cliff.


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