BC Hydro

Steady as she goes

A BC Hydro web page online continues today to proclaim a blatant falsehood:

One thing is clear: the demand for electricity is expected to grow –almost 40% over the next 20 years.

The 40% demand growth over 20 years is a fantasy spun for so long that it is baked into BC Hydro’s DNA. No surprise. Not spending billions of dollars every year to expand a system with stable demand would leave more than a handful of affluent folks looking for work.

While public relations minions work to convince ratepayers that demand growth is inexorable, bean counters who are subject to audit reveal a different story.

BC Hydro’s newly released report for the six months ended September 30, shows that electricity sold to residential, commercial and industrial customers dropped by more than 3% from the same period a year before.

In fact, sales were 4% less in this period of 2019 than in the same period of 2005.

Compared to the first half of FY 2006, BC Hydro experienced reduced demand but bought additional power from IPPs during the first half of FY 2020.

Nevertheless, in the 14 years after September 2005, the company tripled its total assets from $12 billion to $37 billion.

Being aware that civil servants can tell lies without consequences, our public utility employs them elsewhere.

A current multi-million dollar public relations program states “BC Hydro electricity is an incredible 98% clean“.

But much of the power purchased by the company is produced by burning gas, coal or biofuels.

Writing for The Narwhal, Sarah Cox explains:

Behind the sheen of its CleanBC program, the province holds back hydro power to instead import cheap electricity from 12 states including Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska and Montana which generate 55 to 90 per cent of their power from coal.

Before the 2017 election, I was assured by senior NDP members that fixing BC Hydro was a very high priority. Instead, John Horgan’s government continues policies similar to Liberal predecessors and in energy matters, chooses to be similarly economical with the truth.

Promises may fit the friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies.    

Benjamin Franklin

There are more matters of concern revealed in BC Hydro’s second quarter statement.

For the six months ended September 2019, before changes in regulatory balances, the company reported a loss of $611 million versus a profit of $378 million in the same period of 2018.

That is a shocking billion-dollar turnaround and the year is only half over and shows the company is again using questionable accounting to conceal its true condition.

This ship is sinking but despite earlier promises, the master is on the bridge shouting, “Steady as she goes.

5 replies »

  1. Quote: “Being aware that civil servants can tell lies without consequences, our public utility employs them elsewhere.”

    This true with TransLink and their transit planning, based on an obsolete and hugely expensive light metro.

    Lying has now become the norm, where spin doctors repeat so many lies and that Vancouver;’s so yellow Journalism, never fact checks, that the news is mostly unnews, spoon fed by a very corrupt mainstream media.

    Honesty is not in the lexicon of the mainstream media, civic, provincial and federal politicians and their bureaucrats.


  2. Norm, I’m not sure if you’ve seen this recent news from the BCUC. YOU might regard it as ‘light reading.’ I saw a lot of ‘Greek’ — though it looked like there might be some fun rabbit holes for you. https://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2019/DOC_53940_C10-2-CEABC-IR1-to-BCH.pdf

    Please interpret, if there’s any gold there…

    What I WAS looking for was another story, where the BCUC is dragging their feet on rolling over some old IPP contracts (from 1990s NDP days.) Rather than blessing them with more of the rich — and decades long — contracts that proliferated under the Campbell/Clarks, the BCUC is suggesting THREE year contracts.

    I found this in Alaska Highway News, a reprint from Nelson Bennett / Business in Vancouver. (Link is lower down…)

    There’s a great quote from BC Hydro at the end of the article:

    Author, Bennett: “A request for an interview with the provincial energy minister was referred to BC Hydro, which responded in an email, saying it is renegotiating power purchase agreements with independent producers, but at lower rates than what they originally received, as per directions of a government review of BC Hydro operations.”

    Hydro’s e-mail: “As a result, we’ve been renewing contracts with IPPs at prices less than what they would have been paid under the original contracts, recognizing that these have typically recovered most of their capital costs over their original contract terms. In addition, in most cases, the price being paid for electricity from IPPs is higher than current market rates.”


    This sad news for IPPs — and admission from BC Hydro — gives me hope that there is actually a change underway.


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