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…
The coming shifts in power distribution is referred to as the democratization of energy. It is resisted at BC Hydro and other utilities but it is inevitable. Failure to adapt will cost us billions…
Residents of British Columbia understand financial pain that follows when officeholders subvert public utilities to gain political advantage and reward special interests. BC Liberals aimed to privatize public assets and services. When it could not be achieved overtly, it was done by stealth. After inevitable failures and disasters, legislators concealed them by employing a broad misinformation strategy. BC’s success in duping the public on utility matters encouraged Ontario Liberals to adopt accounting fakery in their own province…
BC Hydro fears the amount of power fed to the grid by participants in net metering will expand substantially. As a result, this week the utility announced they intend to change the program so that it is not available to customers generating power beyond their own energy needs…
Considering the near endless ink and airtime dedicated to what Liberals called “Glen Clark’s folly,” people should compare the attention paid to a Campbell/Clark program that may have cost the province 15 or 20 times as much.
A letter republished with permission of the BC Hydro Ratepayers Association.
Dear Premier Horgan…
Before John Horgan was sworn in as Premier, BC NDP promoted a wise alternative to construction of Site C, a dam that would cost many billions of dollars and had no certain customers for electricity generated. “Clean energy and energy conservation technology will increasingly power our economy and drive the jobs of the future. A major energy efficiency retrofit program for B.C. just makes sense. And retrofits will create meaningful skilled employment and apprenticeship opportunities for British Columbians across the province, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Horgan Government indicated it will conduct a review of private power purchases but lifting contract secrecy is the one thing that could be done immediately. It is inconceivable that IPPs could prove damages from publication of contracts since the business terms are widely known throughout the industry. Secrecy only exists to protect politicians and utility executives from being accountable for massive financial mistakes.
Because many traditional news sources have been sidetracked by political, commercial and personal interests, acquiring accurate information is now more time-consuming. People with other priorities are vulnerable to lies of commission and lies of omission. Postmedia’s obfuscating political reporters are experienced practitioners of new style journalism.
I made reference to BC Legislative Press Gallery members producing commissioned articles. These are public relations pieces intended to serve particular needs of government or entities doing business with government. It is the kind of output that will ultimately be replaced by automated journalism. Mike Smyth’s recent Province column provides an example… Were Smyth not shilling for private producers, he could be a champion of reducing power consumption through increased energy efficiency. However, there are no industry or environmental groups in BC with sufficient funds to push conservation as a serious alternative to generating more power, whether by hydro, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal or any other technology.
Flat demand by BC’s residential and business consumers has not stopped BC Hydro from doling out increasing sums to independent power producers and spending lavishly on new assets. Because of flat sales and excess supply, it appears BC Hydro has had to reduce production from its own power generators.
Readers may tire of reports on BC Hydro but the more I examine this public utility, the more convinced I am that citizens of BC are victims of massive financial deception.
NDP Cabinet Minister David Eby admitted Site C is “…this terrible situation of a massive public infrastructure investment without any apparent customer for the electricity it will produce.”
Because our government lacks the wisdom or the nerve to change course, BC Hydro is a continuing financial disaster affecting every citizen of British Columbia.
When BC Liberals said the Site C completion budget was $7.9 billion, the cost of power from the project was stated to be $87 – $95 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Now, with the Site C budget up 26% to $10.7 billion, John Horgan’s NDP government claims the cost per MWh has fallen 32% to $60.
That the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources took four months to offer a disingenuous response to my communication illustrates that little has changed since a new government was installed in July. It may also explain why policies contrary to the public interest are still being followed.
A BC Government “technical presentation” regarding its decision to continue construction of Site C is filled with misinformation, deceit and false justifications. If this is the quality of the advice taken by John Horgan’s cabinet on one rather important issue, we should be concerned about every other policy being considered. Apparently, if truths are inconvenient, Victoria still prefers deception.
I’m disappointed in the provincial government’s decision to continue Site C. It is not the choice I would have made, were I in a position of influence. However, I understand it. Financial issues […]
In private emails, a number of people with expert economic knowledge exchange ideas about energy in BC. I get copies of some. This example, written by respected and retired economist Erik Andersen, refers to electricity markets in BC…
Since 2006, BC Hydro added $20 billion to its assets and paid an additional $12 billion to independent power producers (IPPs). Yet BC Hydro sold less power to BC’s residential and buiness consumers of electricity in fiscal year 2016-2017 than in fiscal year 2005-2006.