BC Hydro

Liberal legacy

Mark Jaccard, SFU professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management was a promoter of private power producers when BC Hydro was ramping up its IPP deals. Jaccard was quoted in a 2002 Vancouver Sun article:

Experts around the world say that there is huge uncertainty about what constitutes the best investment to meet future electricity needs — coal, natural gas, large hydro, nuclear, small renewables. Some of those investments will be colossal losers, but we don’t know which.

Do we want B.C. taxpayers to carry all of that huge financial risk … or do we want to share it with independent power producers who will lose their shirts — not ours – – if they get it wrong?

In his 2018 report ZAPPED, government finance expert Ken Davidson concluded that somebody got it wrong but definitely not the independent power producers:

The Response EPAs [Electricity Purchase Agreements] cost ratepayers an estimated $16.2 billion over 20 years, the estimated period during which BC Hydro will likely not need the energy Government directed it to buy.

The annual impact of this surplus energy to BC Hydro ratepayers is estimated as $808 million per year or ~$200 per year per residential ratepayer, which is equivalent to $4,000 per residential ratepayer over 20 years. The $16.2 billion Estimate is believed to be conservative.

8 replies »

  1. Why is no one doing anything about this? The Liberals ripped up Union contracts, cannot the NDP just terminate the IPP one or at least renegotiate?

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    • At the very least, when the contracts come up for renewal, Hydro needs to hardball the IPP owners.

      Hydro: “Right… we know you’ve been paid well enough that your total investment — and then some — should have been paid off by now. You’re into the easy money now and we know we can buy wind, solar and spot market power at $X per unit now… so that is what we’ll pay you.”

      Hydro: “And we won’t be buying your power when we don’t need it. We’ve got plenty of capacity at our own dams, most days.”

      Grumble, grumble…

      Hydro: “What’s that? You don’t want to play anymore? Well: good luck selling your power to anyone else. If you like, we’ll take your plant off your hands… for dimes on the dollar.”

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  2. Jaccard was CCT but he didn’t anticipate that Camp Libs would sign sweetheart deals with IPPs giving taxpayers the risks via take or pay contracts. Disgusting. Yet few whistle blowers on this now.

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  3. I’d like an investigation into this. Like who really benefited? We know the B.C. Lieberals signed the deals, well rather had BC. Hydro sign the deals, so who got what out of it. How much did these IPP donate to the B.C. Lieberals. How Many B.C. Lieberal friends and family owned stock in these companies. You know we’d like the answers to some of these question, because don’t tell me the B.C. LIeberals, the party of business was soo dump, so stupid, so ingnorant that they thought B.C. Hydro could make a profit buying something at 10 cents a k. and having to sell it to the public at 3 cents. a K. there is stupid and then there is stupid or rather criminally stupid

    Thanks for keeping on top of this Norm.

    Now given that el gordo thought it was just fine and legal to rip up the HEU contract with hospital workers and throw 9K women out of decent paying jobs, I think it would just be fine to rip up those IPP contracts. Its costing the taxpayers of this province too much money. this is something the B.C. Lieberals did and one is going to have great difficulty convincing most of us the IPPs didn’t know this wasn’t a scheme which would work.

    Hey what does the good Mr. Wilkinson have to say about the great business practises of buying high and selling low. perhaps Big Rich could enlighten us.

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  4. If only Rafe Mair was still around to speak out on the past and how it was colliding with the present the moment the Liberals inked these deals. The people involved in it are and were crooks. It’s painful to watch the degree with which people accept corruption in government and business.

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  5. The entire IPP contract stinks to high heaven from day one.
    I agree the contracts should be reviewed and if ANY untoward dealings are brought to light….. rip these ridiculously unreasonable contracts up.
    Or better yet.
    Rip the contracts up now and let it all play out in full view of the public in Court.
    Disgusting doesnt even begin to describe the way the former Liberal/Socred Govt played with govt contracts. BC Rail, BC Hydro, BC Ferries on and on and on and lets not forget SNC Lavalin has multi year contracts with the BC Govt.

    Signed by Gordon Campbell or Christy Clark Liberals.

    I think the NDP should remind everyone in the final months leading up to the next election …why their Hydro bills are so high.

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  6. It would be easy to believe Professor Jaccard was just somewhat naive in his confidence that the BC Liberals and their handmaidens at BC Hydro would be able to offload “huge financial risk” to independent power producers. The former were playing with our money and the latter with their own, after all.

    What troubles me however is the good professor’s assertion that at the time in BC there existed huge uncertainty about whether we should proceed with coal, natural gas, large hydro, nuclear, or small renewables to meet our future energy needs. Really? Coal? Nuclear? Natural gas? Why invoke the boogeymen de jour unless it was a deliberate attempt to drive public opinion toward an insiders scheme in progress?

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