BC Hydro

Falsehoods and misinformation, government specialties

Section 10 of BC’s Budget Transparency and Accountability Act requires that crown corporations and government organizations must by November 30 issue financial reports for the six month period ended September 30.

BC Hydro chose to hide its report from the public until the Christmas break. A quick review shows why they wanted it hidden.

In the six months ended September 2020, BC Hydro sold less electricity to BC’s residential, commercial and industrial consumers than in the same period of every single year since 2002.

Throughout the charted periods, BC Hydro has claimed that demand was climbing steadily. That justified massive spending by the corporation to enlarge the empire.

But in addition to expanding its own generating capacity, BC Hydro committed tens of billions of dollars for contracts—as long as 60 years—to buy from independent power producers (IPPs). Despite flat consumption and in 2020, BC Hydro dumping water without generating electricity, business remained fine for IPP contractors.

The agreements with IPPs contained inflation escalator clauses that ensured prices paid for private power would increase regularly.

To improve BC Hydro’s financial statements, Liberals deferred costs and booked non-existent revenue as “regulatory assets.” In opposition, NDP complained about accounting tricks used to report false profits. But September 2020, BC Hydro’s regulatory assets are almost $1 billion higher than September 2019.

Reform of BC Hydro was a BC NDP promise before the 2017 election. Instead, we’ve are experiencing more of the same BC Liberal style. It seems two political parties enjoy playing the same games.

The Premier’s office is directing BC Hydro policies. That is why John Horgan appointed underqualified Michelle Mungall as Energy Minister in 2017 and assigned Horgan loyalist Bruce Ralston after Mungall departed.

Despite evidence that BC Hydro continues to waste billions of dollars that might have eased ratepayers’ burdens, don’t expect a sudden change in direction. Knowledgeable observers recognized the constrained BCUC review of 2017 was not intended to alter plans for Site C. It was public relations. Continuation of construction during the review was the first piece of evidence.

Government has issued various statements about independent monitoring being improved in the past three years but those too were public relations exercises without meaningful purpose beyond selling the project to the public.

In 2020, despite growing uncertainty about the physical viability of Site C and major budget unknowns, another PR exercise goes forward in the form of the Peter Milburn review.

Don’t expect any material thing to change when the Premier finally releases results of the latest examination by a trusted observer.

Meanwhile, construction on the Peace River continues and BC Hydro still fights with affected landowners and indigenous people who’ve been sustained there for millennia.

Categories: BC Hydro, Site C

10 replies »

  1. Up to your usual high standards Norm. There is now nowhere for BC Hydro and Government left to hide. It is as they say in bush flying, a coffin corner, no height above ground and no flying speed above a stall, at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BC Hydro is beginning their own death spiral as predicted by others in the past. Senior managers, civil servants and politicians who are responsible for this disaster will enjoy parachute packages and healthy pensions as they exit the sinking ship. There is and will be zero accountability for the damage they have caused.

    Voters are largely naive and uniformed, caring more about the latest cat video than the piecemeal destruction of their province. The only hope for the utility is to separate all generation from the wires business and let the generation business go bankrupt. No politician has the courage to actually try to solve the problems before us.

    Expect to be disappointed by all of our politicians and expect them to line their pockets and give out cushy contracts to those who have coerced them in the private sector.

    Our only weapon against this kleptocracy is the truth and shining a light on misdeeds and incompetence. Start by inquiring if the manager/deputy minister/MLA/MP have a signed declaration of competence. Then ask who are you relying on for technical experience in the areas you are making decisions.

    Fire all managers that have signing authority and no post-secondary education.

    I fear these recommendations will not be heeded and this whole fiasco will end with loss of life on the Peace.

    If you live near the Site C dam, you will not rest in peace…. until the dam fails and many will Rest in Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yessss.
      Never underestimate the ability of an Engineer to lord his degree over all others….

      Far be it for me to suggest that the slick politicians with ( or without) post secondary educations have gotten away with financial murder.
      I fail to see how another degree from university makes politicians “more honest”.

      The problem as I see it is .

      Politicians of ALL strips have ZERO accountability no matter how stupid OR educated they are..

      They can toss money from the bandwagon with impunity as long as they have a majority.

      Back when Parliamentary process was written ….we weren’t taking about mega projects that could destroy the finances of a city, province or ( in the $400 Billion Cerb Liberal case) , country.

      Politicians( for hundreds or years) literally ran on the promise they would build a road, a bridge or a Hall ….and if they spent too much money or wasted it on frivolous endeavors…..gone.

      Perhaps ALL planned/promised mega projects should be brought to an accounting committee for fa feasibility study and if it is considered too costly or too risky…….nixed in the bud.

      Time to link politicians pensions with balanced budgets?
      Nothing like a gutted pension plan to focus one’s attention.

      Oh, and just to clarify…..
      I dont have a post secondary education …..


      • It seems that we all at EGBC need to do a better job at educating the public about the importance and responsibility of Engineers. We take an oath to protect the public and we don’t have the luxury of choosing our opinions or our careers over our responsibility to ensure the safety of all life.

        I’m sure you wouldn’t tell a doctor that they are ‘lording their degree’ over you when they give you a diagnosis or a treatment. Do you tell a plumber that they are ‘lording’ their ticket over you when they are fixing or building the plumbing for your house? We have professions so that certain individuals can spend years learning specific information related to keeping our civilization going. I’m also certain that you have specific areas of expertise and education where I would defer to your considered judgement where I would be less informed.

        This is exactly what we are asking for with a Declaration of Competence to be signed by every single public servant who has any signing authority. This would merely be a signed personal declaration of competence that would be a legal document and would have to stand up to a challenge in court. Lying on this document would be an offence.

        This proposal will protect the public (and the people who sign them) from the impacts of the Dunning-Kruger effect on major decisions. It turns out that the people who are most confident in their decisions are the ones who understand the least of the consequences of their decisions (e.g. Rich Coleman, Christy Clark and Donal Trump).

        I understand that you do not have post-secondary education. This in no way positively or negatively impacts your value as a citizen; it does however, preclude you from engaging in professional work such as dentistry, law, veterinary medicine or engineering. I do hope that you are not a senior civil servant in charge of signing off on multi-million dollar decisions impacting the safety of our citizens in BC. If so, it’s time you signed a declaration of competence and limited your decisions to the zone of your competence… as an engineer, I am required to only sign off on decisions that are within my competence, don’t you think this should apply to all public servants?


  3. It’s also interesting to see that the cost of domestic energy is more than the cost of trade energy over the last 6 months. This trend will continue and the gap will continue to widen. Energy in BC wil simply become uncompetitive for domestic industries and for trade. Expect more large industrial customers to permanently shut down their operations over the next few years.


  4. Horgan’s NDP or should I say Megg’s NDP is nothing more that Vision Vancouver, provincial. Corrupt, arrogant, in bed with every sort of nasty business in BC.

    They have become BC Liberal Lite, vile and unresponsive to the public need.

    I am afraid Horgan is setting up the NDP for another 30 years in the wilderness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our selfish politically ambitious Premier and his people continue to waste billions into the future on Site C while so many people suffer under the weight of the pandemic. Where could these billions go too right now. Horgan give a dam. Pathetic self serving hypocrite.


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