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Site C dam would hike power bills, drive mills, mines out of business

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PostedJune 15, 2014 by in Western Canada
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Big industry - Site C Dam too expensive, will raise power bills

Read this June 10 column from Judith Lavoie at Demog Canada on the opposition to the proposed Site C Dam from major industrial power users.

Major industrial power users in British Columbia fear that if the proposed Site C dam becomes a reality, rate hikes could put mills and mines out of business while saddling taxpayers with a costly white elephant and ballooning BC Hydro debt.

A decision on the $7.9 billion plan to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River will be made by the federal and provincial governments this fall.

Economic questions about the mega-project were raised by last month’s joint review panel report, which noted the dam would likely be “the largest provincial public expenditure of the next 20 years.”

The panel, which did not come out for or against the project, found that, based on cost comparisons provided by BC Hydro, Site C would be the most economical way to provide new power — but said it could not measure the true cost or need and recommended the B.C. Utilities Commission should look at it, an idea immediately dismissed by Energy Minister Bill Bennett. (The commission turned down the Site C project in the early ’80s.)

Strong opposition to Site C is now coming from the unlikely direction of the Association of Major Power Customers of B.C., an organization representing about 20 of the largest employers and industrial customers in the province.

We have absolutely no confidence that this is the least cost plan,” association executive director Richard Stout told DeSmog Canada.

Major industrial power users in B.C. have seen a 50 per cent increase in rates over the last five years and are looking at another 50 per cent over the next five years, he said.

It is unusual for us to criticize a government of this stripe, but BC Hydro has been out of control for a good 10 years,” Stout said, pointing to almost $5-billion in deferred accounts.

Any other business would have been declared bankrupt by now,” he said.

Site C will take a decade to build and, with changing markets and a burgeoning natural gas industry causing a surplus of generating capacity in North America, it is almost impossible to accurately predict demand and prices, Stout said.

All we know is the original load forecasts are going to be wrong,” he said. “It’s not the right project right now.”

READ MORE: http://desmog.ca/2014/06/10/b-c-business-community-slams-astronomical-cost-building-site-c-dam

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5 Comments


  1.  
    Hugh

    BC Hydro is about $15 Billion in debt. That doesn’t include the $50 billion it owes for power from IPPs, much of which it sells for a loss. Then add to that $8+ Billion for (proposed) Site C. You can see where this is going.





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