Category: BC Hydro

Induced failure

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

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

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…

Neither fair nor balanced

With mounting losses, declining consumption, soft markets for surplus power, $58.3 billion committed to high cost private power and a massive capital spending plan, only BC Liberals and their minions can see anything positive on the horizon for BC Hydro.

What’s another billion or twenty?

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

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

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.

Damn the torpedoes…

Leaders cannot keep marching in the same direction simply because they have invested heavily in a particular course of action. Instead, leaders must react to changing conditions and be willing to shift direction accordingly, perhaps even to pivot one hundred eighty degrees if the situation warrants it. This is not a complex direction but it doesn’t resonate with the small minds running government in Victoria. Regarding BC Hydro, they’ve become overly committed to announced policies despite consistently poor results and clear evidence of failure.

Confusing wishes for needs

During their tenure, BC Liberals declared increases in private power purchases and aggressive expansion of BC Hydro assets were needed to meet growing demands by consumers. After 2005, electricity sales mocked that claim. So, the politicians asserted a need to serve North America by supplying clean energy. Others were better equipped to apply new technologies and they didn’t believe BC’s river damaging energy was particularly green. The goal changed again, to powering a trillion dollar LNG industry that would add $9 billion a year to the public treasury. When that was revealed as fantasy, Liberals suggested BC could provide clean energy to enable Albertans to harvest dirty energy from bituminous sands. Recently, Christy Clark said the Site C dam was needed to flood the Peace River valley as a measure to prevent flooding of the Peace River valley. The Premier needed a new justification for building the dam after it became clear that plans to sell to Alberta were as realistic as paying off provincial debt with natural gas revenue.

Damien Gillis wrote…

The mainstream media, as is to be expected, is largely parroting the government’s cover story and ignoring the real problem: BC Hydro and its ratepayers are in a world of hurt because of 12 years of very deliberate and disastrous BC Liberal Government policies, pushed on the public utility.