BC Hydro

Spendthrifts at work

BC Hydro’s quarterly report for the period ended September 30, 2018 shows the utility is very good at some things. Specifically, borrowing and spending money. In the thirteen years from 2005, assets employed to service BC consumers have almost tripled in value.

Source: BC Hydro Quarterly Reports

The nature of power utilities is that capital expenditure decisions are made years before assets enter service. Back in 2005, BC Hydro was projecting that domestic demand would increase 20% by 2018.

Trouble is, actual sales to residential, commercial and industrial consumers are less in 2018 than in 2005. The flat demand line is firmly established. Yet, like a locomotive operated by a deaf and blind engineer, the company proceeds as if nothing changed.

Source: BC Hydro Quarterly Reports

BC Hydro is a bureaucracy operated to reward a variety of special interests, none of them ratepayers.

Since 2005, the quantity of domestic electricity sales may not have grown but BC Hydro’s ability to deliver power has increased dramatically. The company not only added 16% to its internal generating capacity, it contracted for about $60 billion worth of private power purchases and made plans for capital spending of more than $20 billion in the coming decade, including Site C.

All this has resulted in rate increases of almost 80%, an upward trend that will continue, even accelerate.

Power consumption in British Columbia, excluding below-cost electricity delivered to the natural gas industry and other corporate welfare bums, is unlikely to grow materially in the near future.

Delivering cheap power to favoured users means the utility must charge higher rates to residential and small business consumers but rising prices encourage customers to seek alternatives. These come in the form of conservation, efficiencies and self-generation.

As usual, people with the least ability to shield themselves from rising prices will be the ones to suffer.

Remember the 3% rate increase that was effective April 1, 2018?

Oddly, BC Hydro reports its average revenues of one kilowatt-hour of electricity sold to residential consumers increased 1.8% in the first six months of the current fiscal year, April to September. That could mean sales reported are about $10 million less than we should expect. Another possibility is that unaudited consumption figures are not reported accurately.

The Canadian Entitlement is an issue that BC politicians and utility executives don’t like to talk about. Yet, buried in the government’s 2018 budget documents, is news that sale of downstream Columbia River power will bring in $105 million. 

That’s about 2.3¢ per kWh, which is about one-quarter of what BC Hydro pays independent power producers. Had the province taken back the Canadian Entitlement and reduced IPP purchases, our cost of energy would have been reduced by $300 million in the last year.

Categories: BC Hydro

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14 replies »

  1. The whole province is being run into the ground by run a way bureaucracies and bureaucrats. TransLink is more of the same.

    Hydro is living in a 1970′ utopian dream, before thermal, solar and wind energy. The era of the big hydro dam making life so much easier is gone.

    As technology surpasses the need of hydro generation, the cost of hydro energy increases.

    Our ossified politicians, worry about Uber or electric cars (which today need a lot of power), the big questions of regional planning, regional transportation and regional livability are ignored.

    The end game has and will be jobs for bureaucrats, with the taxpayers constantly shaken down to pay for their dated and grandiose schemes.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As os September 2017 only 1,600 residences had availed themselves of FREE solar power! Just wait until Hydro prices themselves out of the market! Will the government then put a royalty on sunshine? Of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just noticed a “consumer crisis” charge on my bill to cover the bills of those who face disconnection because they can’t pay theirs. I guess the financial wizards at Hydro haven’t figured out that delinquent accounts are a cost of doing business. That, or they figure they can’t afford to carry people unable to pay their bills. A great example of the redistribution of wealth upwards – they feed money to their IPP pals and disconnect those who can’t afford it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This from head of CSIS speaking to Toronto businessmen 2 days ago…..

      “Tracking economic spies is difficult, partly because they use encryption and cryptocurrencies to conceal what they’re up to, he said. And their attacks can be surgical in nature, Vigneault added.”

      Yup, allowing money laundering in casinos and real estate go unpunished is not enough for our current (pun intended) BC government, they now wish to expand it to public utilities.


  4. If your power consumption goes over 1,376 KWh, you are on Step 2, which costs 13 cents per KWh. I wonder how this affects public schools, hospitals etc, which have high power demand.


  5. no, when it comes to BC Hydro both parties have been terrible. In my opinion one party did a lot of damage and the next one has done nothing to clean it up.

    The crisis fund is a nice idea but not here. We have food bank which enables people to access food when they can not afford to buy it. now what differentiates this crisis fund is that grocery stores contribute to it. in the case of BC Hydro they want consumers to carry the full load. Now if BC HYDRO were some private foreign corp I might see it. However BC Hydro is owned by us the taxpayer. If welfare rates, min wages, disability pensions were all higher there might not be the need for a crisis fund.

    When billionaires can apply to only pay the interest on their bills for their mine but citizens have to pay the full freight something is wrong. When foreigners, the USA, pays less than us, the taxpaying citizens of this province something is wrong,

    When old WAC took over BC Hydro he had a vision and we the citizens of BC were part of that. Subsequent governments have onty seen us as method of subsidizing big business and foreign corporations. ThAT CRISIS FUND IS SIMPLY A LOAD OF CRAP NOW all us who have commented here might want to send a letter to the government, BC Hydro, and our local papers.

    if they expect all of us to use more electricity because we will switch to electric cars, news flash can not afford the electric car, my hydro bill is too big. the gas fire place is heating most of the house and the base board


    • Perhaps if we all moved out of the province we could qualify for rates paid by the foreigners and USA. But if we weren’t here, we wouldn’t need it. Silly idea!
      Why not charge the foreigners and the USA MORE than we pay? Good Idea?
      Maybe if we charged the LNG industry actual cost for electricity they would go away, we could keep our NG for domestic consumption and we wouldn’t receive a negative royalty.


  6. Here are a few questions for politicians.
    See note below:
    Are the Federal Liberals bailing out the Canadian Press with taxpayer money?
    Who would buy BC Hydro’s 85 year old electrical infrastructure?
    How did the audit arrive at the sticker price of $25 Billion for B.C. Hydro assets?
    Does the Federal election in 2019 include a price for vote buying?
    Why is the Site C Dam not included in the audit if it is “on time, under budget?
    Why is BC Hydro “publicly shaming” those who are decorating their homes during the Christmas season? “12% increase in electricity use”.
    Can B.C. Hydro be held liable for wildfires started by antiquated infrastructure?

    Here is a quote today from the Canadian Press:
    “Carol Bellringer says in the audit that BC Hydro’s assets are valued at more than $25 billion and even though some generating facilities are more than 85 years old, they continue to operate near full capacity.

    The report says about 80 per cent of Hydro’s assets are dams, generators, power lines, poles, substations and transformers that are used to provide electrical service to B.C.

    READ MORE: Former B.C. Hydro CEO earns half a million without working single day

    The audit says Hydro invested almost $2.5 billion to renew, repair or replace the assets it manages during the last fiscal year, ending March 31, 2018.

    Bellringer’s audit does not examine the $10.7 billion Site C dam project.”

    … will taxpayers be electrocuted when the Site C Dam is finally plugged in?


  7. BC’s new climate plan is big on LNG. Providing hydro power from BC Hydro to natural gas developments will somehow make them ‘cleaner’, and allow them to export even more natural gas, as LNG. Which gets burned when used (elsewhere).

    This is apparently why the $10 billion Site C dam is needed.

    “Nearly half of the (CO2 emission) reductions unveiled Wednesday are targeted at industry, including electrifying extraction and production of the natural gas and oil sector in northeast B.C.”

    “The strategy will require an additional 4,000 gigawatt hours of electricity over current demand,”



  8. So with the Clean BC plan, we pay rising carbon taxes, which would go to the oil and gas industry to help them electrify to renewable hydro power, so they can export their fossil fuel to other countries?

    “It (Clean BC) also redirects revenue from the carbon tax into incentives for the province’s biggest industries (ie oil and gas) to move to cleaner operations.”



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