Category: BC Hydro

Reward without risk for worthless surplus power

British Columbia’s government believes less in free enterprise than in assisted activities for approved associates. Entrepreneurs saw potential for a private power generation industry in the province but didn’t want to risk their own money. Instead, they arranged with the Liberal government for the public to accept all risks and guarantee substantial profits to the schemers…

Twitter bits

The final item may present a clue to the current state of British Columbia’s energy market. It’s hard to believe we came to this only through the sheer stupidity of our policy makers.

News from the echo chamber

Columnist Vaughn Palmer reports concerns expressed by Moody’s Investors Service about growing BC Hydro debt. The agency stated the obvious, which is that numerous capital projects are adding billions to the public utility’s debt and higher electricity rates or contributions from government are necessary. Palmer repeats Moody’s judgement that Hydro’s financial metrics “are among the weakest of Canadian provincial utilities.” However, the Vancouver Sun pundit provides an inaccurate explanation of why the situation exists…

Heart of our economy gets ignored

When government is captured by people pursuing fortunes in real estate development and resource exploitation, the interests of all others become secondary. When the bubble bursts, when phantom markets collapse, what remains?

Small and medium‑sized enterprises employ about 2/3 of Canadians employed in manufacturing. Yet government programs typically aim benefits at large multinational corporations. An example in British Columbia is the arrangement allowing large, mostly foreign owned, mining companies to defer payments for electricity for up to two years. Additionally, Government directed BC Hydro to spend about a billion dollars on transmission lines that primarily powers the Red Chris open pit mine of Imperial Metals, which is controlled by Christy Clark’s favourite fundraiser, Murray Edwards. Substantial expenditures are also being made in the Northeast gas fields, even though government revenue from that resource has turned fugitive…

What’s good for the BC Liberals may not be good for BC Hydro

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced a five-year, $300 million hydro bill deferment plan for 13 mines owned by six companies.Never mind that B.C. Hydro is already grappling with its own deferral problems to the tune of $5 billion. Make no mistake, there’s a price to pay when B.C. Hydro becomes a political arm of government. The intertwining of self-interests gets complicated, while the interests of ratepayers can take a backseat to political interests. Three of the six companies in Bennett’s deal were highlighted in a December Financial Post article, “Debt risks mount as Canada’s base metal miners sink deep in the hole.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s really wrong is that BC Hydro has been spending billions on new capacity but producing less power. Demand has not grown since 2005 but purchases from IPPs, between FY 2005 and FY 2015, rose 108% from 6,444 GWh to 13,377. The purchasing is up again in 2016, by about 11%. The cost of IPP power was almost $500 million more in FY 2015 than in 2013.

When you’re determined to reward IPP friends but have too much power and no profitable export markets, you shut down your own low-cost operations…

Time for action

A reader comment in a preceding article: We all have to be ‘shovel ready’ for the upcoming election and ‘Turf the Liberals’.There will be massive 1%er sponsored support and corporate funded advertorials […]

Pants on fire

Before the last election, Premier Clark justified BC Hydro rate increases as a “common sense decision” that would enable the private/public utility to pay off the billions in its deferred accounts. “People […]

Forces of Know

Site C Is a Climate-Change Disaster, Says Suzuki, Mychaylo Prystupa, The Tyee, February 23, 2016: Flooding valuable farmland to build the Site C dam undermines Canada’s commitment to meet international climate-change targets, […]