Category: BC Hydro

Other lies

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BC Hydro’s management are using deferral accounts and accounting trickery to conceal the company’s financial conditions and prospects and they are telling outright mistruths about demand for electricity by consumers in British Columbia.

Blunders, haste and waste

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We know the Premier vowed to get Site C dam past the “point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election. Clark’s Liberals have their own reasons for Site C haste and these eventually will be revealed, perhaps by a postmortem report of an inquiry into the economic destruction of BC Hydro. However, we do know that incautiously pushing a project forward can be costly. Unfortunately, the cost of error will fall not on decision makers but on taxpayers not wealthy enough to hide their income elsewhere.

Why this, why now?

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Are there secret reasons why Liberals committed billions of dollars for Site C to produce power that BC consumers won’t need, even in the distant future? Have we had hints of why there is a rush toward what Premier Clark called the point of no return and what others called a route to nowhere? Do those reasons have anything to do with the rewarding habits of prime Site C contractors?

Induced failure

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The set of facts that troubles BC Hydro executives most is the one that best reveals their deceptions. The consumption of electricity in this province has remained stable for a dozen years. In fact, the first half of the current fiscal year shows consumption is down by 2.1%, compared to the preceding year. Under its current Liberal direction, BC Hydro’s leadership forgets the company’s original purpose. Now, the aim is to deliver benefits to a tiny group of individuals and corporations and to have ordinary citizens pay the cost, whether it is affordable or not.

Awash in power at premium prices

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Increasing IPP purchases and flat demand for power obviously means that BC Hydro creates less power to meet demand by its users in BC. However, massive spending means the utility employs more than triple the assets to produce one gigawatt hour of electricity than it did a dozen years ago. This is bad policy not explained by mere incompetence of management. We must conclude that the Liberal Government is directing the public utility, either to cripple it or to deliver billions of dollars to friends and supporters.

Looting W.A.C. Bennett’s legacy

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Opponents of Liberal power policy assume that, beyond grabbing the profits to be made flipping IPP contracts, Liberal operatives aimed to cripple BC Hydro to make its privatization palatable. The guiding parties decided they could gain more another way. There was no need to privatize Hydro’s assets and liabilities. Instead, they privatized its profits and left Hydro and the public with all the financial risks…

What’s another billion or twenty?

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Moody’s Investors Service issued a warning this week about rising debt at B.C. Hydro. In the first six months of fiscal year 2017, term debt increased $1.3 billion to $19.5 billion. That number is up $7.8 billion during Christy Clark’s time as Premier, which is an increase larger than the total term debt incurred in the utility’s first 48 years of operation. Of course, debt has been rising quickly despite current consumption being the lowest in the preceding 12 years.

Swag, the Liberal raison d’être

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Swag is what British Columbia’s Liberal Party is about. Whether it’s cash-for-access, pay-to-play, quango patronage or tried and true scratch-my-back contracting, Liberals are practiced at converting public wealth to private. BC Hydro is an example. The utility paid private power producers over $9 billion between 2003 and 2016. But, that’s only the start.

By the numbers

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BC Hydro has experienced flat demand for more than a decade. Nevertheless, the value of its assets have grown 250% and purchases of private power grew 280% since 2005. Add to this, the fact it has committed to spend another $10 billion or so to build the Site C dam. It is inexplicable.