Category: Independent Power Producers (IPP)

A cunning plan

Gaining billions of dollars, with a promise of $50 billion more, by selling an unneeded product to a single customer for a multiple of market value ought to earn IPPs a featured place in the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.


Because corrupt practices of the past are not easily resolved in court, it may be too late to save the billions of dollars that will flow to private power producers. But it is not too late for voters to punish political figures who originated or tolerated this grand scheme. They sit on both sides of the BC Legislature.

BC Hyjacked, provincial utility

In the early 2000s, Liberals changed BC Hydro’s primary purpose from utility service for the public to financial service for party friends and other special interests. BC NDP carries on much as before, except they slightly altered beneficiaries of the utility’s massive spending…

Good advice ignored

More than ten years ago, economist Erik Andersen and famed commentator Rafe Mair warned that BC Liberals had planted seeds of destruction in the bowels of BC Hydro. Indeed, the seeds germinated, spread invasively and debilitated the once proud utility. Citing five vectors, Andersen concluded the financial position of BC Hydro was headed dangerously downward…

Private profits but public risks – Updated

Commercialization of small-scale nuclear power has turned out to be far more difficult than investors expected a decade ago. Even one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs cannot finance a multi-billion-dollar program with an uncertain future. Nuclear may play a role in the 2030s but solar, wind and geothermal are viable power sources today…

Self-interest or public interest?

People promoting continuation of “energy self-sufficiency” are really saying that British Columbia should continue giving a unique and costly advantage to one particular industry, a sector that has grown used to taking in close to a billion dollars a year in above-market payments…

Simple facts about BC Hydro

Despite flat electricity demand since 2005, BC Hydro increased dollar value of IPP purchases by 185%, added 17% to its own generating capacity and bumped total assets from 12 to 38 billion dollars and is spending 15+ billion more on capital expenditures…

Billions lost – bad luck, incompetence or fraud?

Electricity ratepayers, mostly residents and small to medium sized businesses, suffer because of failures by politicians and major media. The public was badly informed and that has enabled losses that will ultimately measure in the tens of billions of dollars. This should be British Columbia’s largest ever political scandal but the people responsible for it will never be held to account. On the contrary, the scoundrels have departed or will one day retire in unsullied comfort…

Steady as she goes

The 40% demand growth over 20 years is a fantasy spun for so long that it is baked into BC Hydro’s DNA. No surprise. Not spending billions of dollars to expand a system with stable demand would leave more than a handful of affluent folks looking for work.

Open for business, at any price

Billions of dollars in the accounts of vested interests instead of the pockets of residents and SMEs. That’s will be the outcome after Clark Liberals and Horgan’s NDP greenlighted Site C, a $12 billion dam, which BC residential and SME consumers do not and will not need.

Same old, same old, part x

Political and power industry insiders dictated terms for the original IPP schemes but corporate inertia keeps them alive. BC NDP enjoyed the short-lasting attention paid Ken Davidson’s ZAPPED report since it highlighted BC Liberal incompetence or malfeasance. But, the expose was quickly put into storage. Business continues largely as before. It’s only the public’s money…

Liberal legacy

Years ago, SFU Professor and private power promoter Mark Jaccard assured us “independent power producers who will lose their shirts — not ours – – if they get it wrong.” In his 2018 retrospective report, government finance expert Ken Davidson concluded that somebody got it wrong but definitely not the independent power producers.

Andrew Weaver speaks

Excepting BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, politicians on both sides of BC’s Legislature are reluctant to discuss natural gas policies. This week, the BC NDP raised gas subsidies. That’s unfortunate because climate change is a critical threat to the world we live in and fossil fuels are a prime cause.

“A cathartic and vindicating moment”

Throughout that time, I couldn’t understand why the obvious insanity of costly private power programs didn’t raise the ire of many citizens. For that, I lay a large part of the blame on radio and Press Gallery pundits. Some had personal interests affecting their points of view and some believed that health of the business coalition party ranked above the public interest.

Power from the powerful

Politically connected individuals took advantage of citizens’ desire for clean, renewable energy and the Liberals wrote contracts with “lucky firms” that bore no relationship to market prices, guaranteed massive private profits and ensured all financial risks stayed with the public. The contracts in British Columbia last as long as sixty years and allow prices that are as much as 5x market value. In addition, the contracts have annual inflation escalators, a privilege allowed no other commercial segment. All taxpayers get is more power to sell at a loss.