Common Sense Canadian
 

BC Hydro’s real debt has grown 1337% under Liberals…Shouldn’t someone call the cops?

Posted March 20, 2017 by Rafe Mair in Economics
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The Keystone Kops (1914)

The Keystone Kops (1914)

I start this exercise with a couple of general comments.

The detailed information available on the “progress” of BC Hydro since the Liberals took over in 2001 would be very difficult to pull together if we were left to government confessions of error or sleuthing by the NDP opposition. In fact, in this regard, the public are greatly indebted to Norman Farrell, Arthur Caldicott, Erik Andersen, Tom Rankin, John Calvert, author of Liquid Gold, Damien Gillis, myself and, on the question of Site C, people like Harry Swain, who have been steadily reporting and commenting, faced by stony silence from the government, since 2007 or earlier.

The Sun and the Province papers in Vancouver, with their mutual masturbation agreement with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, have been in a coma where the government is involved, thus I think it imperative that The Tyee, The Common Sense Canadian, In-sights, Desmog Canada, and Laila Yuile be singled out and congratulated for providing a constant flow of information demonstrating the all-but-formal and clearly deliberate bankrupting of BC Hydro by the Campbell/Clark government.

Liberals raise Hydro’s obligations by $74 Billion

The hard fact is that under the Liberals, BC Hydro’s real debt – including all its obligations – in constant dollars has increased by 1,337%, from $6 billion in 2005 to $80.2 billion today. This total comes from Hydro’s most recent annual report (2016) and is made up by the following three categories:

  1. Regulatory (Deferral) Accounts: $5.9 Billion
  2. Long Term Debt: $18 Billion
  3. Long Term Private Power (IPP) Contracts: $56.3 Billion

It must be noted that since the Liberal reign began in 2001, Hydro hasn’t been hit by a depression, a burst dam, a substantial labour dispute, a diminution of its customer base, nor any other calamity that could explain this huge increase in debt. In fact, according to Premier Clark and the brains of the outfit, Deputy Dreamer, Rich Coleman, thanks to Liberal policies of perfection, we had absolutely Sooper-Dooper times. Just how their largest trust from the people, BC Hydro, went $74 billion in the goo and de facto bankruptcy on their watch simply isn’t dealt with, on the the theory that if no one heard the tree fall in the forest, it never happened.

BC Hydro HQ

BC Hydro HQ

During this period, Hydro has been borrowing large sums to pay yearly dividends to the Minister of Finance for his annual cooking of the books to make it appear that BC has a balanced budget, a noteworthy piece of fiction in a government noted for fiscal legerdemain.

In fact, this has been a government that doesn’t just employ puffery or exaggeration, it lies through its teeth, as if lying was its default position. I raise this because in a moment I’m going to talk about a criminal investigation being required and in such matters, believability is a critical factor and I tell you plainly that neither Clark nor Coleman can demand to be accepted as truthful people on their public record.

Unforeseen catastrophes aside, there are only three possible answers as to how Hydro could lose all this money: grossly negligent management, money being wrongly spent, or money exerting undue influence on decision makers.

In law there there’s a maxim, “res ipsa loquitur” meaning “the thing speaks for itself”, and I suggest the pissing away of $74 billion does speak loudly and fairly to bloody awful management; yet it hardly seems likely that there wasn’t some culpable conduct somewhere in the mix. There may or may not be a fire but there’s a hell of a lot of smoke. Moreover, never forget that this is a tightly controlled Crown Corporation and the government runs it using its own pet poodles.

The fix is in

BC Liberal Legacy: A Huge Debt Burden

Former Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Colin Hansen

Let’s turn to Premier Gordon Campbell’s radical change of policy in 2002, which forbade BC Hydro from creating any new hydro power of its own (except Site C, as it had been on the books for decades), with new power to be produced on a tiny scale – no more dams or big environmental devastation. Dr. Andrew Weaver, the leader of the BC Greens who has always supported this scheme, told me they only used water wheels! There would be no damage to the streams involved and they would be run by small “mom and pop” operations.

Well, it turned out a tad differently, with rivers blocked, with what sure look like dams, huge pipes, a substantial powerhouse, a notable lack of waterwheels, river banks demolished, fish runs destroyed, trees knocked down and run by little “Mom and Pop” operations such as Ledcor and General Electric. Incidentally, this substantial environmental loss is not computed and included in the $74 Billion loss.

These teensy-weensy “Mom and Pop” operations called Independent Power Producers (IPPs) got a very good deal, in fact the sweetheart deal of all sweetheart deals, such that if you gave the same to your family, the taxman, once he stopped laughing, would disallow it!

In simple terms, BC Hydro must take all the power IPPs produce and pay 3 times the market price. They must buy whether they need it or not and, if you guessed that means during the Spring runoffs – when the bulk of their power comes and our electrical demand is at its lowest – Hydro must buy all their power even though their own reservoirs are filled to overflowing and didn’t need it, you’d be right. If you also guessed that Hydro must have to sell a lot of excess power at large losses, you get a gold star on your report card!

Losing 72 cents on the dollar

Citizens for Public Power member and SFU professor John Calvert explained it like so:

 B.C. Hydro announced the outcome of its 2006 tender call for electricity from private energy developers. The results were startling. Not only had B.C. Hydro agreed to buy three times the power requested in the tender, it had done so at locked-in prices far above projected market rates…

…The core of that policy was laid out in the 2002 Energy Plan, which prevents B.C. Hydro from building new generation assets, and transforms the Crown corporation from a generator of publicly-owned electricity to a purchaser of energy from the private sector.

The rationale for this change is hard to fathom. The old policy worked very well. By generating its own power, B.C. Hydro ensured that ratepayers enjoyed, on average, the second lowest electricity prices in North America. This is because prices were based on the historic cost of production, not the current energy market price…

Flash forward a decade to Norm Farrell’s update on the situation:

…over the past decade, amounts paid to IPPs have tripled. Independent power producers, more than doubled deliveries to BC Hydro, and the utility was forced to dump surplus power outside the province, with trades sales at an average, since 2005, of just 28% of prices paid private producers. And that loss is made worse because of Hydro’s collection and distribution costs.

Then years later, for every dollar we pay them, we lose more than 72 cents.

Consumer demand was not growing, private power supplies were rising and export markets were soft. BC Hydro could only dump power outside the province for little revenue or reduce its internal production. Again, the utility’s own reports lead to a conclusion.

The following numbers are drawn from BC Hydro’s annual and quarterly reports and from U.S. Department of Energy market recaps. They demonstrate that in nine months, BC Hydro paid more than $600 million above market to independent power producers – having purchased the power from IPPs at $85,261/GWh, while the market for selling electricity to the US market was just $28,930 CAD per unit. Unfortunately, the rate of loss is accelerating…

…Dr. Calvert’s warnings were insufficient and subsequent Liberal actions even more egregious. The professor noted early independent power producer (IPP) contracts locked BC Hydro (and BC taxpayers) into financial commitments of up to 40 years. Recently, contracts have extended to 60 years and all are indexed to protect suppliers against inflation. Some required large public expenditures for distribution. Calvert said IPP prices were double the market value but they’ve since risen to even more.

Now here’s a little observation from Mr. Farrell that will make you feel warm and fuzzy all over: “We also know that, instead of costing between $400 million and $500 million every year, IPP payments have climbed beyond $1.3 billion yearly, a number that has increased 188% since 2011 when Christy Clark was appointed Premier.”

Now, none of this would have been possible if this the recipients of this government largesse with our money didn’t have friends on the inside. Campbell before her knew and now Clark knows that BC Hydro’s potential profitability and financial strength guaranteed corporate raiders would attack, seeking to convert public wealth to private. To be successful, they needed cooperation of modern political rulers and, whether explained by incompetence, philosophical bent or desire for covert rewards, the Liberals have cooperated fully.

It will only get worse

Even if the Liberals are given the boot in May, Hydro’s skyrocketing debt won’t stop here. Additional costs already baked into the crown corp’s plans will see its obligations rise to the hundred billion dollar range in the coming years. So serious is the problem that BC Hydro alone could cost BC its prized triple-A credit rating, as The Times-Colonist reported – albeit belatedly:

…projects like Site C are pushing up B.C. Hydro’s debt levels, and adding to concerns about the province’s overall ‘high debt burden’ compared to its peers, Moody’s also wrote in its credit opinion. B.C. Hydro’s debt has increased from $8.1 billion in 2008 to a projected $18.1 billion last year, and there is a further $20 billion expected in the future for infrastructure projects, a $2-billion annual upgrade program and the Site C dam.

‘The anticipated increase in debt continues to pressure the province’s rating since it raises the contingent liability of British Columbia,’ wrote Moody’s…

And that’s assuming Hydro keeps Site C on track at $9 Billion – which is impossible to believe, given the Liberals’ track record with major capital projects more than doubling in cost. Dams are especially prone to wild cost increases (see Muskrat Falls), as recent geotechnical issues with Site C illustrate. Hydro is trying to tamp down concerns over a 400 meter-wide tension crack at the dam site, but locals have been warning for years about the unstable ground upon which the project is being built.

Grandson helps destroy grandpa’s legacy

The father of BC Hydro, WAC Bennett

The father of BC Hydro, WAC Bennett

Ironically and to me sadly, among today’s political facilitators of the utility’s destruction is W.A.C. Bennett’s grandson, and my late friend Bill Bennett’s son, BC Hydro Chair Brad Bennett, who is, I’m told, is a Liberal apparatchik and close Christy Clark pal. Another is Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald. She was Deputy Minister and confidant to Gordon Campbell in 2006 when the premier’s office invited predators to get rich on electricity.

 The companies give generously to the Liberals but it’s hard to get full and accurate figures since, as we now know from Elections BC, who recently sent their investigations of Liberal fundraising to the RCMP, donations are often laundered through individuals, and companies have been known to lie through their teeth on this subject.

One way to get a general picture is to go back to 2008 when the long-term contracts were handed out and there was a call for independent power projects, 75 proponents registered with B.C. Hydro. From July 1, 2008 to September 30, 2010 – when B.C. Hydro was making its decisions – 14 proponents donated $268,461 to the Liberals. Ten of the 14 were successful.

Shouldn’t someone go to jail?

The duties and powers of the Attorney General, Suzanne Anton, for the purposes of this article, are set out in admirable simplicity by the ATTORNEY GENERAL ACT. Under Section 2, Duties and Powers, article b) states:

The Attorney General must see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law.

 

Bearing in mind the enormity of the losses and complete lack of explanation by the government for this incredible emptying of the public purse, where is the Attorney General?

By the simple statement of the law as quoted above, her duty is clear. By long tradition, she sets aside her political role – especially when evidence of a crime comes to her attention – and it is reasonable to assume colleagues are involved.

Christy Clark being sworn in as Premier of British Columbia in 2011, surrounded by her cabinet (Province of BC/Flickr)

Christy Clark being sworn in as Premier of British Columbia in 2011, surrounded by her cabinet (Province of BC/Flickr)

I place before you my opinion in plain terms. There is a great deal of money involved here and plenty of people who feel entitled to share it. We have a premier who, in a political context, has the morals of an alley cat. The deputy premier, also in charge of gas, is hardly any better. It’s surely fair to say that when politics is involved, a fairy tale is second nature, their default position.

The death of BC Hydro has nothing to do with the ordinary risks of the business world and there are no events beyond human control here. Of considerable importance, the premier and the minister in charge are struck dumb on the question of how a thriving monopoly on power could rack up $74 billion in unwarranted costs, with a full clientele and the means to meet all demands.

Ms. Anton, if you don’t order a full enquiry forthwith on the evidence before you, in light of the statutory requirement of the Attorney General Act and your sworn oath to “see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law”, it would be open to fair conjecture that this inaction is to protect your political colleagues.

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About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

49 Comments


  1.  
    ERIK

    Great article Rafe. I JUST DID SOME BACK CHECKING ON SOME REPORTED REVENUE AMOUNTS AND UNITS OF ELECTRICITY SOLD TO THE THREE CUSTOMER GROUPS WHO CONSITUTE THE REAL “DOMESTIC” CUSTOMERS BC HYDRO IS SUPPOSED TO SERVE AND THOUGHT SHAREING TO HELP IN THIS DISCUSSION. I THINK NORM HAS ALREADY PRESNTED BUT THEY ARE WORTH REPEATING.
    FROM 2004 TO 2016 ELECTRICITY BOUGHT BY RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS , IN GWHRS PER YEAR. INCREASED BY ABOUT 11%. FOR THE SAME PERIOD REVENUES IN $S PER MWHR INCREAED BY 74%. AS OF 2016 THE REVENUE FROM SALE OF ONE MWHR TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS STAGGERED IN AT $106.28. THIS IS AN ILLISTRATION OF A MONOPLY WHERE THE PRODUCER DOES NOT FEAR LOSS OF BUSINESS NO MATTER HOW AGGRESSIVE THE PRICING. ALMOST THE SAME PATTERN IS EVEDENT FOR LIGHT INDUSTRY & COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS. FOR THE THIRD GROUP, HEAVY INDUSTRIAL, THE STORY IS DIFFERNT BECAUSE OF THE WEAKNESS IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. VOLUMES FOR THIS GROUP SHRANK BY 12% AND THERE IS LITTLE EVIDENCE OF A TURN AROUND ANY TIME SOON EVEN THOUGH THIS GROUP HAS BEEN ENJOYING SOME SHELTER FROM INCREAED RATES OTHERS ARE BEING FORCED TO PAY UP FOR.
    IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN DEMAND ACROSS THESE 12 YEARS ALL OF THE NEW FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS TAKEN ON BY BCH, MOSTLY FALL ON THE SHOULDERS OF INDIVIDUAL AND COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS.
    AS MATTERS NOW STAND, I ESTIMATE THE BC ECONOMY IS LEAKING ABOUT $ 2.5 BILLION IN ANNUAL CASH COSTS TO PAY FOR GENERATION CAPACITY WE HAVE NOT USE FOR. WITH NEW ADDITIONS SUCH AS SITE C I PROJECT THAT FINANCIAL LEAKAGE FROM THE PROVINCE WILL SOON EXEED $3 BILLION A YEAR.
    THE BC SPORT; GIVE YOUR MONEY TO FOLKS WHO LIVE ELSWHERE, THEY NEED IT!




  2.  
    Jim Ervin

    I don’t see anyone worth voting for in the Burnaby Lougheed riding where I live. If I vote NDP I get another woman who was obviously selected to appeal to the oriental vote. And what happened to the last oriental/Korean woman, Jane Shin? She quit after one term, one term of complete uselesness. I called her Silent Shin. About the only thing she was good for was weather reports. Maybe she found that she was so totally under the control of her party leader, she became discouraged. That much would be understandable to me. But the same holds true for the Green Party candidate, Joe Weatherley. He seems like a nice enough guy, the only one who came to my door so far. He even agreed to call for an end to BC Hydro’s Extortion Fee of an extra $32.40 a month which Hydro has stuck us owners of Analog Hydro meters with. That’s because we refused to convert to Hydro’s fire causing, radiation producing, short lifespan Smartmeters, another billion down the toilet. But where is his leader on this issue? Weaver the Beaver hasn’t said a word. And it doesn’t matter two cents what the MLA candidate promises to do. It has to come from the leader. As for the Liberal Candidate, Steve, the media Darling, he doesn’t even show up at the All Candidates Meetings. I suppose he knows how much criticizm he’d face if he did show up. Maybe he’s thinking of his personal safety by not attending. So it’s just another bullshit election to me. If anyone wants to blame me for spoiling my ballot, I say to you, I was there at the All Candidates meetings, I waited in the lineups to ask my one question to the candidates, I wrote letters to the editor. I did my part. Where the the hell were you?




  3.  
    Skookum1

    somewhere on the BC Mary blog (if not in a post then in a comment) there’s a list that’s the who’s who of who got what IPP contract or board seat; former hydro and ministry bureaucrats, Liberal insiders, many a able to use their IPP rights to encourage partnerships with native bands – so they could get credit they couldn’t have gotten otherwise… I’ll see if I can find that list, it’s kinda relevant these days what with all this going down.

    And of who and how many were American; and how/why they got those licences…all part of the sellout to American wealth and power which is why I believe Gordon Campbell got manoeuvred into power – to destroy the crown-owned infrastructure of British Columbia and give it all to US control or ownership; BC Rail was similarly fiscally fiddled with to justify its sale/giveaway as well as the end of passenger service in order to give a private railtour company owned by a schoolfriend of the premier’s. BC Hydro BC Ferries BCER

    one thing about a lot of the IPPs is they’re off the public radar, they don’t get photographed so nobody sees them for what they are or the kind of wild country they’re being done in, lest there be tourism/environmental reactions – well they were streamlined for approval anyway, that was all easy for them; out of sight out of mind

    Run of the river’s never been pretty; I’ve lived by the Stave River and am familiar with the reservoirs there; that’s how they classify it now, I never heard the term ‘run of the river’ in my time; fancy term for not being a big colossal monster like WAC Bennett or Mica.

    Used to have a BC Government publication called “Water Powers” which was an account of all the developable hydroelectric power resources in British Columbia; lots of nice pictures of waterfalls but also a stream-by-stream account of volumes and gradients etc ; all once a crown monopoly who were stewards of all those resources but castrated by Campbell with the resources being given out to political and business friends. Castrated the UCBC too, as of course your remember.

    How do governments get away with this? This is the problem with having legal/criminal investigation in the hands of politicians; Attorney-Generals don’t investigate their fellow cabinet members (or premiers), and Ottawa doesn’t care and isn’t listening and doesn’t want to know. Why can’t the RCMP move on these revelations as maladministration and criminal malice or something and start arresting and charging? As with BC Rail where the Special Prosecutor and the A-G were former legal partners this is not gonna get sorted out by anyone appointed by Suzanne Anton.

    It’s at time like this that we’re missing not having the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Privy Council Office to appeal to for investigation/intervention or being able to get it raised before the Law Lords. Done away with by Pierre, thank you very much.

    Of course what’s been done to BC Hydro isn’t the only thing a higher legal/constitutional authority might be appealed to about in the criminal empire that is the defacto nature of governance and corporatism in British Columbia.

    Rafe – is there any way the citizens of British Columbia could bring class action against the BC Liberals and those who have bought them in US courts, civil or criminal? Seems to me contracts involving American citizens or corporations should be subject to their own laws regarding involvement with political systems in friendly foreign countries, no?




  4.  
    gary killeen

    the whole system the world over is corrupt and everything is being poisoned. we are going down!!! mayday! mayday! mayday! GLUG GluG !! we are going down!! glu…. glu…..




  5.  
    nonconfidencevote

    Totally off subject
    I just recieved my ICBC annual renewal form.
    I’m over 55.
    Roadstar with a 43% “discount”.

    My insurance for a 4 year old vehicle ?

    $1990.00

    Does ANYONE in the Liberal voting camp not see a problem with this???????????

    face it you liberal voting morons.

    ICBC is a CASH COW for a govt that CANT BALANCE A BUDGET !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unbelievable stupidity votes liberal.




  6.  
    Farmer

    Just for a little perspective: the Fast Cat ferries cost 154 million each. the 80 billion dollar Hydro debt is the equivalent of 519 Fast Cats. Placed end to end it would take 452 Fast Cats to make a bridge from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay.




    •  
      Jim

      Jim: ….and the “fast cat ” ferries were what the rest of the world was moving towards – much research was done – it just went too fast and used to much fuel.

      Also, no one ever discusses the gov’t’s reason for buying the fast ferries – to
      re- establish BC ‘s shipbuilding industry – at least the motive was noble.

      The gov’t’s motive in the BC Hydro scandal is to deliver billions in public money into private hands.




  7.  

    Stephen D. Green. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? It’s all the fault of the NDP and the Tyee, Everything’s their fault. When you have frugal, truth freaks like Christy and Co, how lucky can you get? And have truthful, rough as nails, investigative independent newspapers who never take bribes unless, of course, they’re from the oil industry – i mean if you can’t trust Postmedia just because the Province is a full, legal partner ih Resource Works who shill for Woodfibre LNG which is owned by a world renowned crook and jungle hurner, who the hell can you trust?

    Enough of the bullshit, Steve, this government is far away the most deceitful pack of incompetent fools I’ve ever seen and man that goes back awhile. I have no reason to stick up for the Tyee who, after 10 years, fired me without notice, compensation or explanation nor the NDP against whom I twice ran bitrer campaigns and whipped.. My disappointment with the Tyee does nothing to change the fact that day in and day out they do a hell a good job doing what no Mainstream Media has done – held your pack of dangerous incompetents to account and done it with very fine journalists. Don’t waste time with political gallus snapping, Stevie, tell us where the errors in Tyee articles lie. Try Andrew Nikiforuk on Liberal fiscal and energy fuckups (Sorry Mr Editor but no other description comes close) then give us one reputable source that excuses these catastrophes! Tell us how the Tyee somehow more than doubled the provincial debt in constant dollars since 1991. And tell us again how the NDP fucked up (ditto) all those rivers and their fish while sloshing out hundreds of millions to political pals, bankrupting WAC’s great legacy while doing it.
    Stevie, old boy, I suggest you, Madam Photo-op and her incompetent, lying, wastrels follow a great Canadian tradition – when it’s 3rd and 10, punt. Then I suggest you hang your heads in shame,, slink off the field, go to the far end of the bench and cover your faces with a towel.




  8.  
    Troy

    The biggest problem with this ipp hot mess is it is hard to clearly explain in 140 characters, so it is little understood by the population. I confess it took me a while to clue in even after having it dropped in my lap. That said it is a profoundly important issue that will have a profoundly negative economic and environmental impact on generations to come.




  9.  
    Chris Robson

    The argument about the comparative affordability of BC Hydro to the end user is irrelevant, because BC taxpayers have to pay the interest on Hydro’s debt.
    Taxpayers will also foot the bill for legal challenges, breaches of contracts with IPPs, and all investigations into the corruption in the BC Liberal Party.
    Maybe the Party ought to be put on trial, along with cabal leaders past and present, including Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark, and the Cabinet; a guilty verdict should result in jail time and a timetable for the Liberal Party to pay back lost monies to the Provincial coffers. Their heinous influence peddling is a transparent abuse of power and Public trust.




  10.  

    Anne Cameron – we don’t ever need stupid remarks like that under any circumstances. For those too young to remember, Sirhan assassiated Robert Kennedy and I’m sure Damien as editor agrees with me the author that this sort of excessive and inflammatory remark, even if meant to be funny, is not.

    Our weapons, and quite sufficient ones, are the ballot box and the law.

    Rafe




    •  
      dan

      Those kinds of attempts at dark humour don’t go over well when read as an email, they only seem to work in person following consumption of several of your favorite spirits.




  11.  
    Marc Lowdown

    The first thought is ,” this sounds like Ontario and the mess they are in with “rates through the roof”‘, but low this B.C . Creating a similar debit, a la Weimer Republic in Germany after WW1. Need money just print it.
    Rich and Side kick Kristy Klown, will be long gone before this hits the fan!




  12.  
    Sharon lygo

    Disgusting. If politicians do this it’s a policy they need to review and the previous administration fault if private individuals or small business it’s called GRAND LARCENY




  13.  
    nonconfidencevote

    Well done Rafe.

    Unfortunately if the Liberals win again I fully expect ANY BC Hydro forensic audit would end up behind the same closed doors as a BC Rail trial and result in the TAXPAYERS once again footing the bill for a nondisclosure deal in the tens of millions to shut everyone involved up.

    Sending Clark to prison would be an insult to all the murderers, drug dealers, thieves and conmen currently inhabiting the federal system.
    Perhaps banishment to Richard Bransons island in the Carribean would rid us of her inane utterings while inflicting her upon the uber rich where she so clearly wants to belong.




  14.  
    Stephen D Green

    After years of neglect by the BCNDP to support BCHydro infrastructure, massive funding has been and will continue to be required. The costs for engineering, update of equipment, transmission lines, construction etc., is not a small thing.

    There are three issues that I do have: 1. the IPP (run of river) arrangements, 2. high salaries and benefits of BC Hydro management and staff, and, 3. Crown Corporation, in this case BC Hydro requiring to pay government a so called Dividend.

    Even then, British Columbia electrical rates, compared to many jurisdictions is reasonable. The largest problem is the cost of labour, and updating electrical infra-structure.




    •  
      Stephen D Green

      Let us not forget, the BCNDP basically did nothing to support BC Hydro, indeed they ordered BC Hydro to invest in India. Let us not forget that BCNDP Premier failed miserably to negotiate recovery of electricity that was exported to the United States, a loss of over a billion dollars.




    •  
      Damien Gillis

      Stephen, that’s the bogus narrative the Liberals would like people to believe. As the story lays out, the vast bulk of these expenses come from unnecessary costs: IPP contracts (more than two thirds of the total), racking up the deferral accounts – which are essentially a Visa being used to rob Peter and pay Paul dividends which shouldn’t be paid under these conditions – and a significant amount of capital improvements which are not justified. Sure, upkeep on our old dams is important, as was updating the production capacity of Mica, Revelstoke and others. But those represent a tiny fraction of this $74 Billion figure. And this is all before you add in Site C, which will, mark my words, hit $15-20 Billion if we’re so unfortunate as to see it built to completion. The Joint Review Panel and many other independent experts have found there simply is no need for this power. Heck, even BC Hydro agrees it won’t be needed until 2029! (and won’t be paid off until 2090!)

      http://commonsensecanadian.ca/site-c-not-needed-least-2029-bc-hydros-numbers-show/

      So let’s not fall back into this old game of comparing the Liberals’ transgressions to those of the NDP. They are NOT EVEN CLOSE – not even in the same galaxy. The NDP’s fast ferries went from a projected $210 million to nearly $460 million. That’s bad but, good grief, five of the Liberals’ biggest capital projects have gone $4.5 BILLION over their initial sticker price!

      http://commonsensecanadian.ca/liberals-big-projects-often-double-cost-site-c-dam-different/

      The Liberals have taken fiscal incompetence to breathtaking new levels that the NDP could never, in their wildest dreams, hope to equal. And BC Hydro is the mother of all examples.




      •  
        dan

        Here you go Damien; a comparison of sorts;

        Liberals

        1. Port Mann Bridge/Hwy 1 widening: 550% of initial estimate – from $600 million to $3.3 billion
        2. BC Place Stadium roof upgrade: 145% of initial estimate – from $365 to $514 million
        3. Northwest Transmission Line: 182% of initial estimate – $404 million to $736 million
        4. Vancouver Convention Centre: 178% of initial estimate – $500 million to nearly $900 million
        5. South Fraser Perimeter Road: 169% of initial estimate – from $700-800 million to $1.264 billion
        6. Olympics: 417% of initial estimate – from $600 million to $2.5 billion (BC Auditor General figures) (4.5 billion if including federal funds)
        7. Sea to Sky highway 166% of initial estimate – from $600 million to $1 billion. Then add $276.666.00 per day, 365 days a year for 25 years to the P3 builders.
        8. Lower Mainland Transmission Line ?% of it’s initial estimate – from $725 million to $? million
        9. Site C dam ?% of it’s initial estimate – from $8900 million to $? million

        NDP

        1. Fast Cat Ferries: 219% of initial estimate – $210 million to $460 million – basically given ($19.4M) by the Liberal government to builder Abu Dhabi MAR, and now in Ferry use for oil workers in Egypt




        •  
          Damien Gillis

          Thanks Dan. The only point I’d beg to differ on is the stadium roof. When David Podmore of PAVCO first floated the idea, the cost was $100 million, so it was actually 514% of the original projection.




    •  

      IPPs have already collected about $10 billion for electricity that would have gotten them closer to $3 billion had they been selling into the free market. Indexing these 3x market prices to inflation means that the additional $58 billion committed to IPPs will be far more.

      We have the absurdity of AltaGas being paid a higher rate (on 60 year long contracts)
      for what it delivers as an IPP than it pays for what it consumes as a processor.

      Because sales to residential, commercial, light industry and heavy industry customers has been flat for a dozen years, and private power supplies have increased steadily, BC Hydro is left with two choices: dump surplus power outside the province for 1/3 of what it cost, less transmission costs, or generate less power in BCH’s existing stations. In fact, they generated 11.4% more power in the three years ended 2001 than in the three years ended in 2016.

      Spending $10 billion or more on Site C is ludicrous when there is no demand for its output in the foreseeable future. Site C has a huge environmental cost and the financial cost is double the cost of utility scale alternatives.

      Conservation is by far the cheapest alternative and it can be achieved relatively painlessly. Small and large motors are massive users of power and technology exists for more efficient motors. Homeowners are slowly making the changes but subsidized power rates don’t encourage large industry to change. Today, there are no standards for efficiency in large motors. (BCH is delivering power worth about $8 million a month to a handful of mining companies and getting paid nothing.

      Much of Hydro’s capital spending has been for projects to serve subsidized customers. The NW transmission line and extension cost close to a billion dollars in public money. The main beneficiaries are Alta Gas and Imperial Metals. Politically connected corporations are getting power infrastructure built
      with no job or royalty guarantees in return.

      Look at Dr. Swain’s short explanation of BC Hydro’s accounting trickery and then figure out how you blame the government of 20 years ago. Along with a video explaining how Site C’s Joint Review Panel was a sham, you’ll find the GAAP discussion at In-Sights.

      In reality, any person who defends the financial and operational management of BC Hydro is an incompetent analyst or, more likely, just another political spreader of BS.




  15.  
    Beth

    Well, Rafe, did you actually send this to the Attorney General, Suzanne Anton? Or is it just published in the commonsensecanadian.ca … and it needs to be delivered Express Post, requiring a signature?




    •  
      nonconfidencevote

      I believe Ms Anton would just triple delete it……..
      If it isnt in your email history…..it never happened.




  16.  
    Salal

    Would some backwater in a third world country be of lesser corruption than the Clark Liberals?

    I borrow words from a commenter in the Tyee.

    The corruption and hypocrisy of this BCLiberal government is becoming legend!
    The first thing the new government in May should do is engage an army of forensic experts to review, not only the books, but every contract clause, piece of legislation, regulation and exemption created in the BCLibs tenure.
    •dda




    •  
      Stephen D Green

      The Tyee is largely a mouth piece of the Left leaning folk, not too reliable.




      •  
        nonconfidencevote

        The Tyee is a “left leaning mouthpiece” . Perhaps.
        Whats that make The Vancouver Sun? The Province? Global TV? “Right wing propagandists? Corperate apologists”?

        Sorry Steve-o your pathetic attempts to denigrate facts and figures is typical of the corperate agenda the Liberals and the Clark govt so clearly support.
        If Clark loses this election I predict she will be “employed” as a director or some other meaningless 250k per annum job with the very same companies she’s shovelled billions of dollars in contracts to.
        No conflict there
        Her only regret will be that she cant pocket an extra $50,000 a year in fees from the Liberal Party to “do lunch” with other business hacks lined up at the govt trough……

        Go back to your Liberal Party headquarters and report the voters cant stand her and everything she represents. Greed, avarice, incompetance, arrogance , inflated ego, stupidity.

        P.S. How much are the Liberals paying you to troll non Liberal websites and write comments?
        $50,000 per year? $100, 000?




      •  
        dan

        So states one Stephen D. Green without a shred of evidence to substantiate the claim made.




        •  
          Emily

          One just has to read the Tyee to see that it is a left ;leaning mouthpiece with heavy censorship.




          •  
            Damien Gillis

            To you Tyee haters, can you offer any facts, figures or claims they’ve published that are in error? I suspect not…Many publications have inherent biases – that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s part and parcel of a free press. What is important is whether they are accurate and, to my knowledge, the Tyee is very thorough in its fact checking. Dismissing a publication as a “left-leaning mouthpiece” without offering any back-up is the journalistic equivalent of an ad hominem attack.




            •  
              dan

              Damien they will offer nothing in the way of substantiation because they have none.

              Eventually people such as the ones you have addressed end up in front of an adjudicator in defense of their allegations.

              As I understand it from Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP This is how it works;

              One court order for the publisher (CSC) to release the IP address, and then one for the authour of the content.

              So it is fairly easy to understand why ALL news sites have to be diligent about reviewing content on their web pages that could have the potential to be actionable.

              The Tyee would be included in that news group.
              Some characterize this as censorship; other will call it diligence.




            •  

              It was my experience that everything I wrote was subject to fact checking and the editor had long experience and a fine reputation as a journalist for major properties.

              Appears the comment was knee-jerk reaction from person made uncomfortable by a broad range of views. A person reveals weakness in their own position when they resort to ad hominem attacks instead of reasoned arguments.




          •  
            nonconfidencevote

            Gee apparently “Stephen” has another nom de plume.
            Not to worry “Emily” .
            It doesn’t matter how much money the Liberals shovel at you paid trolls to denigrate the anti liberal message.

            I live in Steve Darlings election riding and just like another paid TV media Liberal lickspittle like Pamela Martin.
            I WONT be voting for him.

            🙂




    •  
      nonconfidencevote

      Unfortunately , no matter what a forensic audit turns up, the Liberals have also gutted the Crown Prosecutors budgets, the prison system budgets, the police budgets……….
      Nothing will happen.

      Vote
      AnyonebutChristy




      •  
        Bill Evans

        Please, No, Please Vote NDP, a vote for any other party will be counterproductive if You believe a change of Government? is very much past due…A vote for any Party that can not possibly win the election is a vote for Crusty….She will skate right through the middle, as She has a reputation for..




        •  

          Rafe revealed Andrew Weaver’s support for Liberal IPP scams, now totaling almost $70 billion for payments made and obligations remaining.

          Green Party leadership prevented George Orr from standing in North Van Lonsdale, even though George, a North Van resident qualified. presentable and electable, had lined up supporters and financing and had engaged countless locals in policy conversations over many months.

          George would have been an excellent candidate but that threatened a Liberal lightweight. Ergo: no nomination for Mr. Orr. Instead, Green introduced someone who doesn’t live in the community and, presumably, won’t damage Naomi Yamamoto’s reelection prospects.

          In 2013, Liberals paid for a full page newspaper ad supporting the Greens on Vancouver Island, where Liberal popularity was low. This week, BC Liberal beneficiary Judi Tyabji sang Weaver’s praises on Facebook. No doubt she’s hoping the NDP loses votes and one of her and Gordon Wilson’s sons (one not facing charges over Fentanyl distribution) can slip through and be elected MLA for the Sunshine Coast.

          I know Green Party members who have a sincere desire to improve and protect the environment. The party leadership, perhaps for selfish reasons, aims to assist the reelection of a Liberal Government. Someone in Victoria told me Weaver expects to be appointed Environment Minister if a coalition forms after the 2017 election.

          For these and other reasons, I’ve taken to referring the Greens by an alternate name: Liberal-Lite.




          •  
            Tom B.

            I caught Weaver on Ledge last night and is sounding more Liberal every day.He criticizes the NDP almost verbatim.





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