At noon today, October 14, I will join others in a webinar arranged by North American Megadam Resistance Alliance (NAMRA).
- Meg Sheehan, attorney specializing in environmental and energy law and NAMRA Coordinator;
- Sarah Cox, author and investigative journalist for The Narwhal;
- Candace Batycki, Program Director, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y)
I will be talking about BC Hydro’s decline from an efficient and profitable crown corporation that served needs of electricity consumers throughout British Columbia to a bloated operation shifting billions of dollars from public to private hands.
These charts will illustrate my points:
Before forming the Horgan Government in 2017, BC NDP was a frequent critic of how BC Liberals managed BC Hydro, our largest and most important crown corporation.
NDP promised radical improvements. Those promises were empty.
The only substantive changes were the appointment of Chair Ken Peterson and multi-billion dollar increases in capital spending.
Premier Horgan knew and trusted Mr. Peterson but the new Chair had spent most of his 40 year utility career in times when consumption increased steadily as population grew and the economy expanded. Starting about 2005, the trend line of total consumption flattened and per capita use of electricity declined.
BC Hydro may have noticed the shift but the corporation carried on as it had done since the 1960s. Around the world, nations have been installing wind and solar power but BC’s public utility kept its focus on expensive and destructive hydro power.
At a time when progressive utilities around the world are adapting, BC Hydro pursues policies of the 20th century. Failure to adapt would be fatal except government backed monopolies have unique abilities to survive.
That’s not good news for taxpayers and consumers but it’s great for executives and contracted corporations that profit from status quo management.
Categories: BC Hydro