BC Hydro

BC Hyjacked, provincial utility

Tweets of mine are repeated here since they provide a brief recap of situations that impose huge costs on consumers of electricity.

In the early 2000s, Liberals changed BC Hydro’s primary purpose from utility service for the public to financial service for party friends and other special interests.

BC NDP carries on much as before, except they slightly altered beneficiaries of the utility’s massive spending.

Neoliberal energy policies have already cost BC more than $10 billion, with above market payments to IPPs rising by $750 million to $1 billion a year.

This began under BC Liberals but is continued under BC NDP.

In 2019 & 2020, purchases from IPPs were $1.9 billion more than in 2005 & 2006.

Yet BC Hydro sales to BC residential and business consumers were 1.7% lower in 2019 & 2020 than in 2005 & 2006.

BC Hydro gave set-price, above-market, inflation protected contracts to independent power producers.

Predictable and secure income flows were guaranteed to IPPs, whether BC Hydro needed the energy or not.

Under Christy Clark, IPP contract terms got longer.

AltaGas, the company that was lined up to sponsor her “Om the Bridge” stunt, got 60-year deals to provide power.

BC Hydro bought power from AltaGas a higher rate than they charged AltaGas for electricity at that company’s gas processing plant.

Early on, AltaGas sold a major piece of their IPP operations, providing the company instant cash-out and a stream of ongoing revenues until 2075.

During the compared periods (2005 to 2020), BC Hydro spent billions to add 17% to its own hydroelectric generating capacity.

In summary, BC Hydro added public generating capacity, bought more private power and sold less to BC consumers.

Oh, and spilled water without generating power.

To serve its customers in 2005, BC Hydro employed total assets of $12 billion.

To serve its customers in 2020, BC Hydro employed total assets of $41 billion.

But it sold less electricity to BC consumers in 2020 than in 2005.

BC Hydro demand forecasts have been wrong consistently for 2 decades.

That is not by accident.

Empire builders want their empires to grow, particularly if others pay for the growth.

Site C, with budget now doubled to $16 billion, results from the same unrestrained urge to spend large sums of borrowed money.

BC will not soon need its output, and alternative power sources are far cheaper, meaning exports of surplus power cannot be profitable.

Are there cheaper, less destructive ways of producing electricity than Site C when BC does need more? Well… yeah!


5 replies »

  1. An ongoing disaster, even though it may appear slow moving it is definitely a disaster. at a time when we are supposed to be rebuilding in a better direction we are blowing our financial stability out the window. Every government we have had for the last 20 years has sold us out, without an explanation. Conjecture comes easy in those circumstances.

    Norm, the bar chart showing cumulative capacity is beyond me, is there more explanation? I had a look at the link above, ‘https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’ but that didn’t help because it has all the computer directions.


    • Installed wind power capacity worldwide 2001-2020

      “The cumulative capacity of installed wind power worldwide reached nearly 743 gigawatts in 2020…

      “The largest wind power market in the world is China, with a capacity of over 237 gigawatts of wind power installed. China’s wind potential is remarkable due to a large land mass as well as a long coastline…

      “Emerging markets such as those in Latin America and Southeast Asia are expected to drive the upcoming wind development market. Additional government support and policies will allow for faster market growth in these regions. Global renewable energy generation as a share of total generation continues to grow as renewable technologies become more cost-effective…”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was confused by the bar chart, too, as well as the graph below it. I figured out that PV was photovoltaic, and looked up CSP (concentrated solar power), and then I saved the graph image and converted it to PNG format so I can look at it without hurting my eyes.

        Norm, you fill a void that no one else touches. I appreciate your presence, and value your insight, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a complaint about your blog, but please make the visuals as intuitive as they should be.


      • This was Gordon Campbell’s sole reason to hijack the Liberal party and run for premier – he gave away BC assets to political and corporate friends.


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