Category: BC Hydro

Disinformation campaign

John Horgan’s Government is condoning a disinformation campaign that would make despots of the world proud. And, we’re paying billions because of it. Corporate media is today publishing BC Hydro propaganda under the guise of it being authentic news. An example…

Still buying high, selling low

In the current year, BC Hydro expects to export electricity for a price of C$26.50 per megawatt hour. Compare that to the C$91.40/MWh paid independent power producers in the fiscal year ended March, 2018, an amount 28% higher than five years before. Bank of Canada puts inflation at 7% and the average market price barely changed between FY 2013 and FY 2018.

Opprobrium

The analysis by Richard McCandless would be headline material if corporate media were paying attention to the public interest. Burdens imposed on ratepayers measure in the billions and traditional journalists — including the ones who reported for years on far smaller sums lost to fast ferries — report almost no part of the news.

Malfeasance and mismanagement

BC Hydro and the energy ministry employ many people paid salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. But, these people don’t work to save ratepayers’ money but to convince customers that the 80% rate increase between 2007 and and 2018 was appropriate and the huge increases still to come are necessary. We’re paying one load of operatives to remove money from our pockets and another load to convince us that all is well and we as the victims should be happy. Monday, I watched a CTV news report that featured a citizen complaining about 25¢ being added to his monthly electricity bill for the Customer Crisis Fund. The consumer would really be angry if he stopped to think about the real losses he and others suffer through malfeasance and mismanagement.

Die große Lüge

My writings in the past have decried BC Hydro directors and executives surrendering to corporate inertia. Inappropriate rigidity has led to failure in many badly run corporations and it now threatens our giant public utility. But, I now conclude that explanation is too generous to BC policy makers, past and present. We have evidence that shifting energy industry dynamics were anticipated but consciously ignored. Groups with special interests were favoured and fleecing of the public began.

Never retreat, never retract…

BC Hydro suffers a lack of managerial competence, contempt for fiduciary responsibilities, a disregard for present day energy realities and, perhaps most important, a failure of vision. The first exists because Government turned the company into a politicized utility, with senior managers and board members selected for Liberal Party loyalty, not for competence. As a result, BC Hydro dares not plot a new course with even a hint that recent energy policies have been a grand mistake.

Disaster warning

There is an “extremely high probability” that Site C will be delayed by at least one year according to a comprehensive report prepared by international dam construction expert, E. Harvey Elwin, who reviewed a number of confidential documents obtained by West Moberly First Nations in the leadup to their court application for an injunction to halt work on the project. Mr. Elwin’s report contradicts recent assurances by Energy Minister Michelle Mungall praising BC Hydro for doing “a fantastic job” and claiming the project is on track with its current schedule and budget.

Power from the powerful

Politically connected individuals took advantage of citizens’ desire for clean, renewable energy and the Liberals wrote contracts with “lucky firms” that bore no relationship to market prices, guaranteed massive private profits and ensured all financial risks stayed with the public. The contracts in British Columbia last as long as sixty years and allow prices that are as much as 5x market value. In addition, the contracts have annual inflation escalators, a privilege allowed no other commercial segment. All taxpayers get is more power to sell at a loss.

Government review of BC Hydro is specious

Some may be able to moderate use of electricity from the provincial grid but almost no individual can stop being a BC Hydro consumer. That fact obliges politicians to ensure the company is operated with maximum efficiency for the benefit of every citizen, not the relative handfull that are rewarded by BC Hydro’s misconceived spending plans. Sadly, the Horgan Government does not agree. Utility policies and company management are almost unchanged during the last 11 months and the recently announced review is specious.

Financial destruction of BC Hydro

Simple financial analysis demonstrates that management of BC Hydro during recent years was thoroughly incompetent. Largely, that is explained by policies and people imposed by BC Liberals on a utility that had served the public proficiently for more than four decades…

Organizational inertia and Site C

The decision to proceed with Site C was not based on need for power by BC consumers. Demand is this province has been more or less unchanged since 2005… While the NDP has done much to change the direction of government in BC, they’ve been paralyzed when it comes energy policies. BC Hydro has been a troubled organization for years and it will not be rescued by timid actions. That’s bad news for every BC business and ever resident who consumes electricity.

Priorities

There is a small group of people — BC Liberals and friends — who viewed BC Hydro as a giant faucet for disbursement of cash. It is a costly reality for consumers of electricity in British Columbia…

Solar power unstoppable, even on the wet coast

Dave Melrose, a reader who is in the solar installation business, commented on my previous article Death knell for net metering. He worries that people could be misinformed because I didn’t make clear that self-generation of electricity remains viable for homeowners. People tell me a 15-year payback on solar installations is common, even without selling excess power to the utility. However, having studied the financial statements of BC Hydro, I know that huge rate increases are coming. These will shorten the solar system payback considerably…