If you are paying attention to the affairs of BC Hydro, you know the utility in in financial trouble. However, it is electricity consumers that are feeling the pain. Unfortunately, with billions of dollars in phony assets to be written off, a growing power supply that outstrips static demand, payments to private power producers at three times market price and an an export market awash in surplus power, the economic agony dealt by BC Hydro will accelerate.
With news the BC Ferries vessel Spirit of British Columbia is about to sail to Europe for an extensive refit, I bump this article back to the top. – In October 2015, the Commissioner approved $173 million for the project but, as evidenced by the confidential order three months later, increased the approved amount by $46 million to $219 million. Instead of five times cost of the last refits, the 2016 multiplier is eight. So, whether it is $140, $173, $219 millions or an even higher cost subsequently revealed, whether the contract is completed by 2018, 2019 or later, I predict the refits will be advertised as completed on-time, on-budget. That tag is applied to all BC Liberal projects, no matter how many times the budget or completion date must be altered.
A preceding article contains two comments from readers who I regard highly. The contributions, from Rafe Main and Scotty on Denman, were to Overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks… Because they merit close attention, I present them here again for emphasis.
Communications sometime reveal more than planned about policy and political philosophy. That may be the case when a Liberal “digital warrior” tweeted the question, “Why should I pay for someone else’s childcare?”
A favourite blog site for many is RossK’s The Gazetteer. RossK is a busy medical research scientist who also enriches his life performing music. Perhaps above all, he is a humanist. Scotty on Denman, an informed and articulate regular on social media sites, left a comment at The Gazetteer that I repeat here for emphasis.
Pay attention to Section 44. BC Liberals with their media friends and hired guns – the Digital Warriors – pretend the Speaker’s voting rights are limited. But, the provincial statute is clear: “the Speaker has a casting vote.”
In 1653, Oliver Cromwell spoke about you in England’s House of Commons: It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money…
Clinging to power may offend our unwritten constitution but it enabled Liberals to advance favoured projects and reward favoured supporters. More importantly, the defeated Premier has used her illegitimate position to promote an entirely new election platform, mostly lifted from those of opposition parties.
Well connected Liberals have a long and proud history of maximizing personal opportunities. They know how to make meaningful asset transfers with great discretion. After all, that is the fundamental purpose of an unprincipled political party.
The structure of the Canadian Entitlement makes it an extremely valuable commodity in the utility industry. Electricity is more valuable when it is virtually guaranteed to be available, or “reliable,” and when its delivery can be shifted to times of high demand, or “flexible.” The Canadian Entitlement offers both of these attributes. British Columbia’s sale of 4,540 GWh of electricity brings in about $120 million a year, which is 2.64¢ per Kwh. We didn’t need that power because, with ever-increasing purchases from independent power producers (IPPs), the province had surplus electricity. In the last reported quarter, December 2016, BC Hydro paid an average of 9.14¢ a KWh to IPPs. Had BC replaced IPP power with the Canadian Entitlement, at 9.14¢/KWh, it would have saved $295 million in 2016.
The 2009 BC Liberal platform makes broad promises and one of them provides the title for this piece. Their platform offers this additional reassurance:
“. . . expenditures, backed up by a detailed business plan for every ministry. But our record shows that we have the competent team and credible plan to get it right.” Does that give you confidence tax dollars will be managed prudently? Perhaps we should examine BC Liberal announcements for one ongoing mega-project, BC Place Stadium.
Is the BC Liberal Party involved in racketeering, extorting cash from corporations in return for protection from legal and financial sanctions? That the question can reasonably be asked demonstrates the urgency of prohibiting major payments to political parties by groups doing business with government or subject to regulation by public authorities.
BC Hydro and their consultants have not moved up the learning curve despite being wrong year after year for more than 12 years and sadly the BCUC has let them ride on this way. The consequence of being deliberately wrong for 12/15 years is the condition we now have. Residential and small business rates up +70% with no increase in demand. We also have new contractual debts of plus $60 billion to IPPs…
Following British Columbia’s May 9 general election, a political bloc with the majority of votes and a majority of elected members is ready to form government. But, the defeated Premier declines to resign, as she should, and as she must. By hanging on after defeat, Christy Clark disrespects voters and disregards the parliamentary system that governs us.
Christy Clark’s Liberals have gone all in with identifying “persuadable voters” and knowing all there is to know about each person’s voting impulses. This is not old fashioned door knocking and coffee-party campaigning. It doesn’t rely on volunteers. Instead, the highly paid operators work quietly in the shadows “to find tiny slivers of influence that can tip an election.” This is expensive political manipulation, far beyond capabilities of the NDP, a party largely dependent on financial contributions from individual members. But, this suits win-at-any-cost principles of Liberals. It also explains why the Legislature has barely functioned in the past year. Liberal cabinet ministers and MLAs were too busy fundraising to waste time governing. I’m a political wonk and the Liberal’s anti-democratic initiatives and corrupt practices are enough to turn me away from that party, permanently. In addition to being deceitful, Clark’s government has proven itself incompetent, which is not surprising when management positions in the province’s enterprises and service agencies have been sold to Liberal Party contributors.