BC Hydro and government overseers have long claimed electricity demand is growing at a rate of 40% over 20 years. In fact, demand has not grown since 2005. What did grow was the average unit price consumers paid BC Hydro. That increased 115% in the 20 years from 2001 to 2021.
During that time, natural gas production in BC more than doubled and public revenues from gas almost disappeared.
BC NDP is marketing a new program of distraction that promises BC Hydro will spend $38 million annually for five years to promote fuel-switching by its customers.
Somehow, according to minister Bruce Ralston, this will lead to about $80 million a year in savings for consumers. What Ralston didn’t say is that savings must come after rates rise to capture more than $400 million a year to cover Site C losses and to pay higher prices to private power producers, some of whom are paid whether they deliver electricity or not.
As eager promoters of natural gas production, the Horgan Government is rightly seen as a de facto climate change denier. Because that troubles many NDP supporters, and because BC Hydro has surplus capacity, the five-year electrification program was launched.
BC NDP should have eliminated almost $1 billion a year in subsidies that drive growth in fossil fuel production. Instead, they chose to mount a distraction campaign about a very modest plan for electrification. The Premier’s energy policies are more likely to clean our wallets than our environment.
You may have noticed television advertising by the provincial utility that begins with spokespersons saying, “With BC Hydro, everything is powered by water. Making it BC’s cleanest energy source…..”
Federal law in Canada prohibits false or misleading representation. Because everything is not powered by water at BC Hydro, I filed a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada that includes this:
In fact, BC Hydro operates natural gas combustion turbine generating stations at both Prince Rupert and Fort Nelson.
In addition, according to a document on its website, as of April 1, 2021 BC Hydro has contracted with independent power producers (IPPs) to purchase non-hydro electricity, including:
— three agreements to buy electricity produced by privately owned gas fired thermal generators,
— four for electricity produced by ERG (Energy Recovery Generator) systems at natural gas pumping stations,
— twenty-six for electricity produced by Biomass, Biogas or MSW (Municipal Solid Waste incineration).
Thirty-three arrangements BC Hydro has with IPPs are not “powered by water” and they account for about one-quarter of the capacity BC Hydro has contracted for from IPPs.
It is dishonest to say “everything is powered by water” and is intended to mislead people watching or listening to the commercial, which is running frequently on BC television stations.
Categories: BC Hydro