For decades, BC Hydro’s leadership has been predicting demand for electricity in BC will grow about 40% in 20 years. The utility continues to misinform citizens of the province even though sales records reveal something far different…
Every young person is taught that willingness to fail is empowering and roads to success are built atop failures. Such precepts are generally true but it is also accurate to say death-dealing disasters are usually reckless failures from which nothing good comes. Italian engineers were incautious when they chose to build a dam where the slopes of Monte Toc were unstable. Two thousand people died in the disaster that followed…
Billions of dollars in the accounts of vested interests instead of the pockets of residents and SMEs. That’s will be the outcome after Clark Liberals and Horgan’s NDP greenlighted Site C, a $12 billion dam, which BC residential and SME consumers do not and will not need.
Political and power industry insiders dictated terms for the original IPP schemes but corporate inertia keeps them alive. BC NDP enjoyed the short-lasting attention paid Ken Davidson’s ZAPPED report since it highlighted BC Liberal incompetence or malfeasance. But, the expose was quickly put into storage. Business continues largely as before. It’s only the public’s money…
BC Hydro’s 2019 Annual Service Plan Report shows the quantity of electricity sold to residential, commercial and industrial customers in BC is still flat. The value of 2019 sales is increased by BC Hydro’s $1.2 billion purchase of Teck’s majority interest in the Waneta dam, a generating site on the Columbia River southeast of Trail. Power produced at Waneta still goes to Teck but, since the dam is now 100% publicly owned, all electricity produced there becomes a BC Hydro sale…
In BC Hydro’s most recent annual report, the company promised “one of the largest expansions of electrical infrastructure in British Columbia’s history.” To gain approval for massive spending, BC Hydro doctored load forecasts, issuing a steady stream of pronouncements about demand increases…
I’ve argued on this website that BC Hydro’s ratepayers are victims of corporate inertia. The company continues to do what it properly did for its first 45 years. Unfortunately, now 58 years old, the company’s failure to adapt puts it on a path of destruction.
Years ago, SFU Professor and private power promoter Mark Jaccard assured us “independent power producers who will lose their shirts — not ours – – if they get it wrong.” In his 2018 retrospective report, government finance expert Ken Davidson concluded that somebody got it wrong but definitely not the independent power producers.
Throughout that time, I couldn’t understand why the obvious insanity of costly private power programs didn’t raise the ire of many citizens. For that, I lay a large part of the blame on radio and Press Gallery pundits. Some had personal interests affecting their points of view and some believed that health of the business coalition party ranked above the public interest.
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.
BC Hydro sold less electricity to this province’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in 2018 than in 2005. The total of 50,472 gigawatt hours in 2018 was also a decline from 2017. Despite buying less in 2018 than in 2005, consumers paid BC Hydro 85% more, an extra $2.2 billion.
In early 2014, BC Hydro awarded SNC-Lavalin a contract to design, build, finance and maintain the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Site C did not proceed through ignorance and stupidity. It was a mean spirited and carefully designed choice to favour special economic and political interests above all others. Residential and small business ratepayers were viewed as powerless consumers who, with sufficient advertising and mistruths, could be convinced to believe Site C was appropriate and inevitable, even a wise choice. The net effect is to remove money from many pockets and deposit it into the pockets of a few.
The BC Government has no business case for Site C. Unfortunately, they also don’t have the courage to terminate this expensive white elephant.
BC Hydro’s quarterly report for the period ended September 30, 2018 shows the utility is very good at some things. Specifically, borrowing and spending money. In the thirteen years from 2005, assets employed to service BC consumers have almost tripled in value. Trouble is, actual sales to residential, commercial and industrial consumers are less in 2018 than in 2005.
Perhaps an even more vile set of falsehoods is BC Hydro’s continuing claims that demand for electricity by its BC consumers has been growing steadily. That has led to excessive capital spending that measures in the billions.
Paul Starr of Princeton University wrote The Limits of Privatization. In the paper, he discusses an effect in which influence on government now comes from the “enlarged class of private contractors and other providers dependent on public money.”
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…
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.
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.