BC Hydro

Simple facts about BC Hydro

In calendar year 2019, BC Hydro paid independent power producers $1.27 billion, which was $826 million more than IPPs were paid in 2005.

Between 2005 and 2019, BC Hydro expanded its own generating capacity 17%, primarily by improvements at Mica and Revelstoke dams.

The power transmission network was expanded for collection and distribution of private and public power. These and other capital expenditures were the main reason that assets employed to serve the utility’s customers increased by 210% from 2005 to 2019.

In summary, from 2005 to 2019 BC Hydro:

  • increased the dollar amount of purchases from IPPs by 185%.
  • added 17% to its own generating capacity, and
  • bumped total assets from $12 billion to $38 billion.

In addition, the company has capital projects underway and planned that will add more than another $15 billion to the asset total.

All of that might be fine if domestic demand were increasing as the company had been forecasting steadily until they finally admitted a “demand dilemma” in May, 2020.

Unfortunately, sales to BC consumers have been flat since 2005. Domestic sales by kWh units were 1% lower in 2019 than in 2005 although the amount charged consumers increased by 89%, which is more than 3x the rate of inflation.

I expect the coronavirus calamity will be blamed for a financial predicament that has been developing but largely ignored for years. For that, heads should roll at BC Hydro’s boardroom and executives suites.

11 replies »

  1. Yes, yes, yes, and this is only the beginning.

    One only has to “Google” home power generating system and many devises are at hand and at surprisingly affordable prices.

    And this is 2020. Wait 10 more years and the availability of domestic power generation will both decrease the need for state/private power and greatly improve the local environment.

    Large corporations are so full of bureaucratic fat and flatulence, they cannot see that their time is soon drawing to an end.

    In BC, Site C will be a massive monument for political and bureaucratic arrogance, laced with pure stupidity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many reasons, including the use of LED lights and much more power efficient appliances.

      As energy costs increase, financial rationing increases. In the “Eye’s” house hall lights are on a timer and seldom used rooms have motion detectors.

      Also a lot more people Bar-B-Q on gas or charcoal, using less electricity.

      This all adds up.


  2. Why cant we bring Campbell,Colman,Clark ,Collins,aw crap the whole bloody crew from B.C.R sale of the Fast Cats to the Washing group, Casinos.Ipps sue the crap out of them the whole crew,they painted a lot of good people with their filthy brush

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t forget BC Ferries, the questionable TFN land deal, the Canada Line, where SNC Lavalin bid against SNC Lavalin, etc., etc.


    • Many people have brought up the issues and concerns about BC Liberal shenanigans corruption for many many years like BC Rail as only one example. Never any justice. Never any convictions of big fish. Nothing ever. So one can easily conclude and easily see the integrity of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s office is always compromised and tainted when it comes to investigating it’s own political circle. We have a very poor system. No independence, so it’s always COMPLETELY in the hands of the political party of the day. Completely. It’s like always like having the bad guy in charge of security, or the robber guarding the vault. Christy Clark and Gordon Campbell and the cronies had’er down pat.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And don’t forget that BC’s population increased by 17% in that same time period too. Also Vargarda, Sweden is about the same Latitude as Fort Nelson, BC.


  4. Norm, regarding the IPP purchases: can you tell us how much IPP power was purchased in 2019, compared to 2005? I know many projects came on line during that time — but it would be good to know the IPP payment per unit of power in 2005, compared to 2019.

    Thanks for your continued work on this file.


  5. In 2005, BC Hydro purchased 7,984 GWh of electricity from IPPs.

    In 2019, the IPP purchases amounted to 14,352 GWh.


  6. Great stuff. One other thing that was done between 2005 and 2017 was the burying of Hydros most recent conservation potential report in 2007/08. The 40% savings available at less cost than Site C didn’t fit the narrative very well.


  7. Here’s a quote from BC Hydro’s recent report “Demand Dilemma”

    Click to access BC%20Hydro%20Report_COVID19_DemandDilemma.pdf

    “BC Hydro will shut down some of its smaller plants and spill from facilities, such as Seven Mile and Revelstoke, to balance generation with provincial energy demand in real-time when required. It will also look to spill water from its largest reservoirs
    when they are nearing capacity.

    Another way BC Hydro can address the challenges is to reduce generation from other sources. This includes invoking provisions within its contracts related to situations involving epidemics to reduce its power purchases from some of its large IPPs during the spring freshet period and potentially beyond.”

    So IPP power contracts may be reduced, but not shut down.

    BC Hydro’s own, presumably lower cost, power plants will be shut down.


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