Common Sense Canadian

Mad as Hell About Bogus Hydro Rate Increases

Posted December 7, 2010 by Rafe Mair in WATER

It must be a good
line because this is the third time in a week I’ve used H.L. Mencken’s great
line “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands,
hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” After reading the
news item that BC Hydro is asking to raise its rates by 27% for upgrading their
facilities, then reading the next day it was 55% for “badly needed projects” I
found myself once more reaching for my trusty cutlass.  

Is there no end to
what we’re asked to believe? John Horgan, NDP Energy critic, was bang-on when
he linked this to the outrageous $50 BILLION that BC
Hydro owes Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for dams that destroy our rivers
and send power not to BC Hydro but to the United States. Would that the
NDP deals with private power in stark, unadorned English instead of the sloppy
diarrhea that oozes from its program as laid down a few days ago by their now
soon to be former leader. 

How dumb do they
think we are? Are we to believe that there’s a magic energy fairy at the bottom
of the garden who will give Hydro that $50 Billion and rising? This is close
to, if not there, plain fraud.  

The plain fact is
that every householder not courting bankruptcy knows that you cannot hide a
massive debt that is going to build IPPs on our dime, then soak Hydro (meaning
us, folks) to the heavens when it’s forced to buy private power that they don’t

I want to say this
succinctly and in plain English. Our BC Hydro, one of the best
energy companies in the world, has no need of more energy yet is forced to buy
power from IPPs that they don’t need – meaning they either sell it on the
market for ½ or less of what they pay for it or use it instead of their own
power at 12 times their own cost of making it

 All together,
now, let’s read that paragraph again and march to our nearest antique shop for

One would think – at
least an outsider not au fait with BC politics might – that some politician
would take up the cudgels on our behalf! (By the way, if you’re sensitive to
bloodshed, buy a cudgel rather than a cutlass). Here we have a Liberal
leadership with half a dozen or more candidates and not a word will be uttered
about the following: IPPs, farmed salmon, destruction of agricultural land, oil
pipelines and tankers filled with Tar Sands sludge. Not a peep will you hear!
Not a word even in defence because none of them has the guts to even defend
Liberal policies much less oppose them. 

In the unlikely event
that the NDPs recover enough to be in the hunt in the next election, where the
hell is their courage? 

I’ll tell you where.
The NDP’s now soon-to-depart leader, Carole James, has been reaching out to the
business community, as if that has a chance, and doesn’t want to unduly worry
the captains of industry who look upon the environmental disgraces given us by
Pinocchio Campbell & company as great steps forward. 

Ms has James talked
about the IPP fixes in terms of “sanctity of contract.” These deals are
more like those of a hoodlum mayor of a city who hands out plush contracts to
his brother-in-law – they would make “Boss Tweed” of New York, “Boss
Prendergast” of Kansas City, or Chicago’s Richard Daleys, pere
et fils, blush with pride yet the NDP position is “sanctity of contract!” 

What are the options we’re
left with? 

One is to join one of
the major parties and try to make them change their policy. That should be a
remedy but, alas, it won’t work. Political parties are run by the few at the
top and all resolutions they don’t like are either not brought forward for
debate or are so watered down as to be pre-digested mush. 

Another would be to
support the Greens, something I would do in a flash if I thought they could
even win a seat but they can’t and won’t. The Greens, decent honourable people
who want to save and protect the environment often get anger with me at public
meetings when I say this but have no answer when I point out that after 25
years they haven’t elected a soul, indeed haven’t even been close. (At a recent
speech I gave in Courtenay, a “Green” lady went to the floor mic, obviously
annoyed at what I had said, and said this:- the reason the Green Party hasn’t
elected anybody is that they don’t get enough votes!” God’s truth! 

You could encourage
and join a third “middle-of-the-road”

Party if one comes
forward. The logical people to make this happen are Chris Delaney and/or Gordon
Wilson. Delaney already has a party, BC First, and if meat can be put on those
bones it becomes a rational option.

There is something,
however, we all can do and indeed must do – raise Hell; such Hell that whoever
runs for office will know that the electorate is white hot with anger. We must
show all politicians that we will take action no matter where the latest
environmental abuse occurs – action even including civil disobedience. We must
do this even if it isn’t the particular “outrage” that grabs us most.

Damien and I have
started to tour the province and starting next February we will bring our
presentation, including videos, a local voice, and my own.

Let me close with
this: you can always get rid of a bad government and restore the economy with

What you can’t do is
get the environment back – once lost it stays lost.

If you haven’t
started to fight yet, now’s a very good time to start. If you have started, it’s
a great time to intensify the fight and encourage others to do the same.

We have a long way to go and the bad guys have
all the money. Yet, if we all do decide with sharpened cutlasses to get into
the fight and stay with it, we can and will beat the bastards and leave a
legacy for future generations.


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



    What a load of hogwash by Rafe Mair. As usual no sources to his rants.

    BC Hydro has said that the total value of ALL contracts, even those with its subsidiary such as Columbia Power, and with Fortis, Alcan, Teck, and wind, and biomass, and gas generation in Taylor, and cogen, etc. etc. is only $ 17 billion. Only a 1/3 of that is for 20 run-of-river contracts, and then half of the run of rivers will never get built because they have salmon in the streams.

    So about $5 billion over 40 years goes to run of river where BC Hydro receives green, sustainable, and clean power for a very low price (some at 5 cents a kWh), and where the price of such power in California is tremendous – for a huge profit to BC Hydro.

    Rage’s $50 B and “loss” is counter-factual, made up, and with no citation either.

    A bigot against clean energy and self-sufficiency and putting BC ahead should not even be trying to comment on BC Hydro. Rafe wants BC Hydro to buy coal fired dirty power from the Americans to enrich them at the expense of BC.


    Now we know why Campbell was invited to the globalist Bilderberg meeting in May which took place in Spain. He want to enrich himself at BC’s expense. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in Bilderberg got his charges in Hawaii dropped in 2003. He should be investigated for BC Rail, BC Hydro, Vancouver Convention Ctr. These make the fast ferries look like pocket change. Of course let’s not forget the fraudulent science of gloabal warming. (The carbon tax). Even David Jones the head of the climate research university said the “climategate” eamils are true and that the world as a whole is cooling. I used to believe in AGW, but after doing research it’s proven fraudulant. I still believe in caring for the environment.

    Eileen Spencer

    Yes we should be angry! Why are so many BC residents apparently disengaged from these issues? Why are so few of us seeking the truth?
    This and many other injustices cry out for our involvement and yet the apathy is still there. The anti-HST movement aroused interest but was it only because the pocket book was attacked? Have all our values been reduced to money?
    If BC will wake up and recognize that our fundamental rights as citizens are gradually disappearing I believe that we have one last chance to turn things around. You are right, Rafe, THE BC FIRST PARTY is a good vehicle for this. My hope is that the people of BC will wake up to the fact that we will soon become serfs again and take the reins of democracy. BC First offers us a rare opportunity to break away from the control of big business and labour – or any self interest group, and to have an individual impact on the running of our great province. Let’s take back BC people! Sign up for BC First today.


    Campbell & the Liberal government should be indicted for malfeasance – abuse of public office: these are criminals who should be given long prison sentences as a message to all the other greedy people who want to feed at the tax-payer trough.


    it was nice to read this article and all the comments from nolidgable people, helps me a little to understand why after spending thousands of dollars this year upgrading the lighting in our condominium why our hydro bill went up more than 20% SHOCKINGLY when we were told it would go down about 12% !


    John Horgan for leader and premier! No wonder the msm has come out against replacing Ms. James! Keep fighting and working for change everybody!

    Gary Toole

    Thank you Sir, i always appreciate your passion, I think the people of British Columbia are starting to wake up!!! lets hope… Run of river projects were always a joke as existing Dams have there surplus of energy the same time these smaller ones do…… imagine that spring run off…… let see what kind of an application for rate increases they submitt this year
    thanks again To Arms Im going to dust mine off

    Adam Frey

    Raif, you’ll soon notice these IPP’s that no one has heard of as there are something like 11 proposed in the Chilliwack River Valley alone on various creeks that feed the river. Below is a link to a slightly outdated (as in many more are now completed and/or proposed) map of the BC IPP’s.

    The Ashlu River near Squamish is the best example of the destruction that can be caused to these rivers.

    This is a level of fraud akin to what Enron was in California, unfortunately the people in power are currently perpetuating it and until people start to care or do something, nothing will change. That is why we need to do all we can.


    Hey Raif,

    This whole rate increase thing is something that is not being talked about enough, or being considered with enough clarity. I would think that rate increases of this magnitude would get people up-in-arms as soon as its mentioned. Perhaps it’s just from my isolated perspective here in the Columbia Valley, but I have not even heard this matter discussed in public.

    The larger point though, is that rate increases can be very useful for curtailing demand, which is a good thing taken on the whole. The problem is, how can the public swallow massive rate increases if the perception is that the increase is going strait to the IPP industry. If the rate increases were implimented purely for the sake of reducing energy consumption, and the revenues could be put to some sort of good cause that would be ideal. As it stands however, you make a really point about breaking out the cutlasses.

    I don’t want to subsidize the IPP industry through my energy bill. It’s like paying someone to go and destroy the river in my backyard that I enjoy playing on. I can’t believe some dumb economists thought up this idea. They should fired!


    Hey Raif, as the law of British Columbia is the British law as it stood on November 19, 1858 could we not enter int Lawful Rebellion under Article 61 of the Magna Carta

Leave a Response