Tag Archives: private river power

It's been a big year for the environment in Canada - including lots of rallies like this one in Prince Rupert to oppose the Enbridge pipeline

How the Environment is Becoming the Top Issue for Canadians


Wendy and I, exercising a habit of some years now, are further depleting our kids’ legacies and will be away until January 10, starting with 20 days in the Caribbean then 4 days in Boston visiting friends.

It’s been an interesting year in the environmental field.

Opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is massive and I predict the same situation will prevail against the proposed Kinder Morgan expansion. In fact, this is the first time in my memory that the environment has been the #1 issue. In fact, one of the signs is that neither the government, nor sadly, the opposition want to come to grips with several major environmental issues. The federal government is beyond all hope and may have to be stopped by massive civil disobedience, which no doubt will come.

All of us who are now waiting in the trenches must, in my opinion, pay considerable homage to those who have fought before us when the public was not so concerned. They were branded as “tree huggers” by many who now have learned that they were in fact heroes.They indeed cleared the pathway to public awareness of what lay ahead if we didn’t learn from their experience.

We – that is to say those not committed to the philosophy of the Fraser Institute and its in-house newspaper, the Vancouver Sun – know that without fail large companies who wish to invade our wilderness and oceans lie through their teeth constantly and without exceptions. This doesn’t make us communists or even socialists – neither of those two styles of governance have been much in synch with matters environmental, with Russia and China being in a class of their own when it comes to ecological indifference – at best.

I believe that many British Columbians know that we’re not talking “left” and “right” here but “right” and “wrong”.

A very good example was my Roast in November 2012 in the WISE Hall in East Vancouver. As I noted on the occasion, many in attendance that night would rather have been caught in a house of ill-repute just a few years before. Perhaps the leading indicator was the folks of West Vancouver who fought so hard to save the Eagleridge plateau from the degradation of the wildlife habitat and then took a bus down to the East Delta Agricultural Hall to help protest against degradation of agricultural land, Burns Bog and other wildlife preserves by the expansion of the Deltaport project and South Fraser Perimeter Road by corporations and the government. The meeting was addressed by people from both the right and the left. It was a moment of great symbolism which simply is not understood well enough by both major BC parties, especially not by the Liberals.

Environmentalism is not shrill protest, for protest’s sake, based on political objects rather than evidence. People have seen and heard with their own eyes and ears what is happening with fish farms, private power projects that have all but bankrupted BC Hydro; they’ve seen farmland destroyed and looked at the record of pipelines and tanker companies; they have not only assessed the risks of catastrophes to come, but also realize the consequences that will flow. They have come to ask, “is it worth taking any risk if the damages will be catastrophic and permanent?”

I think that slowly but steadily the public has come to realize that money is no answer. What does it profit the province if they get billions of dollars but lose their wilderness as a result? In Biblical terms, what does it profit a man to gain the entire world but lose his own soul?

And the soul of the province, how we live, how we look at ourselves and how we look at our legacy has become a hugely important factor.

How much are our wild salmon worth?

What price on our rivers and the ecologies they sustain?

Is there any financial arrangement that will compensate for the loss of our coastal fauna and flora as well as the people who, for centuries, have been sustained by those resources? Incidentally, a recent UBC study found that a single oil spill from tankers on BC’s coast could wipe out all the economic gains of the Enbridge pipeline.

If we lose our farmlands, is there a price that will offset that? Will the farm cease to be the underpinning of our way of life? Is money going to buy us the food we need?

There is this notion that we must continue to “progress”, which is code for “money talks and when it does one should bow down in grateful obeisance to the god Mammon and forever hold our tongues.”

I reject that notion. We can progress and prosper without placing our entire outdoors at the certain risk of destruction. Other prosperous democracies have managed to survive without screwing up their environment as the people of BC are being asked to accept.

In the May election in 2013 we have what may be our last chance to stop right wing governments, mad economists and soulless corporate bloodsuckers from desecrating our beautiful land.

Rich Coleman was recently caught in a conflict of interest scandal (Darryl Dyck - Canadian Press)

Rafe: BC Liberal Government Corrupt


The Campbell/Clark government is corrupt and here are a few of the reasons I say this:

  • Campbell gets convicted of drunken driving and doesn’t resign as he certainly would have demanded that an NDP premier do
  • The 2009 budget that was $1.2 billion short of reality – this amounted to a fraud upon the voters
  • The lies about the HST
  • The BC Rail stink
  • The use of public finds to promote the Liberal Party
  • The use of public servants for party political purposes
  • Private power contracts for political pals which are bankrupting BC Hydro

Readers will, no doubt, find other reasons.

In recent weeks we discovered Rich Coleman taking election funds from a brewery he is now about to save $9 million in taxes.

Let me tell you about the standards that prevailed in my years (1975-81) in the Bill Bennett government.  And, I must say, in the Barrett government before it. Now, mark you, I’m not talking about what policies they supported but the integrity of the premier and his ministers.

I had Coleman’s job and the first thing I did was check my small RRSP and found I had a few shares in Hiram Walker Distillers, which I promptly sold at a small loss.

Of more importance, in 1978 I was greeted by a headline in the morning paper alleging that I had interfered in a hearing before the Rentalsman (the arbiter for rental disputes at the time) who came under my ministry. There wasn’t a particle of truth in it but the Premier gave me 48 hours to deal with it.

It transpired that a judge, hearing an appeal from a decision by the Rentalsman, heard a witness say she had “heard that the minister himself got involved in the case”.

The Rentalsman publicly said that I had had nothing to do with it and had never interfered with his office. I hired a lawyer, now Supreme Court Justice, who within the time limit prevailed upon the judge to withdraw his remarks and say outright that there was no evidence at all that I had even known about the matter let alone interfered in it.

My seat in cabinet was jeopardized, quite properly, by those two matters.

When Minister Jack Davis was being investigated for fraud the Premier promptly sacked him. The standard is not, you see, reasonable doubt but “is the minister under a cloud of reasonable suspicion?”  This principle, one of the foundations of democracy, is not well known to the public nor, it seems, to the Campbell/Clark government.

What has this got to do with environmental matters?

Plenty for this government is going to represent us on pipeline matters, tanker matters and many other concerns we all have about our environment.

The killing of the HST has involved the premier trying to make the best possible deal with the feds when the tax expires just a month before the next election.

Thus the essential question arises: When the feds approve the various pipelines proposed without even the usual sham of an environmental assessment process, what will Premier Clark be doing? Will she, in fact, take favours from the feds and promise not to interfere in return? Indeed, has she already done this?

Are she and her ministers going to fold and do as their federal masters demand in fear of recriminations?

There are some, no doubt, who say that the feds should have their way as they speak for all Canada. That ignores the very principle under which Canada governs itself – namely a division of powers under the Constitution Act (1982), which follows the BNA Act (1867), which underlies a federal state as is the case in Germany, Australia and the USA.

Prime Minister Harper is no doubt going to approve these pipelines and the consequent tanker traffic using the omnibus clause giving him that right under section 91 – “Works connecting provinces; beyond boundaries of one province; within a province but to the advantage of Canada/or more than one province”.

The province retains a number of powers it can use such as the right to issue licenses – especially water licenses – to protect wildlife, including non-migratory fish and to protect its shoreline. 

Will Premier Clark have the courage of our convictions and say, “Prime Minister, these pipelines will be subject to our rights to protect our environment under Section 92 and they will be rigorously enforced?”

Or will there be under the table “deals” made linking pipelines and tankers to other issues between Ottawa and Victoria? Such as the HST? Such as selling our constitutional rights for money from Ottawa’s share of royalties and other taxes collected?

There is no middle ground – just as a woman can’t be a “little bit pregnant”, we either stand up for our environment or we don’t.

In short – forgive the expression – will she have the balls to stand up to the feds or, more likely, will she and her ministers try to find some middle ground?

What we need is an honest government of honest men and women protecting us against the predations of greedy corporations, the government of China and the raw uninhibited capitalism of Prime Minister Harper and his toadies from BC.

Clearly, standing up for our rights and honest dealings based on principles is not this government’s strong suit.


Gwen Barlee Op-Ed: Lifting the ‘Green Cloak’ that Covers Private River Power Projects


Read this op-ed in the Vancouver Sun by Gwen Barlee of the Wilderness Committee, pulling back the ‘green cloak’ that masks the economically and environmentally destructive nature of private river diversion projects in BC. (Sept. 17, 2012)

When I was growing up my mother used to warn me to look out for a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What she meant was to be cautious about people and situations that are not what they seem. This idiom aptly applies to the issue of independent power projects (IPPs) in British Columbia.

At first blush IPPs, notably river diversion projects, seem like a visionary and green solution to producing low carbon energy. Indeed, this is what the Wilderness Committee, a BC-based environmental organization, first thought when we were introduced to the concept a decade ago, and it is what the IPP industry vigorously advocates, as evidenced in Paul Kariya’s commentary to The Vancouver Sun on September 3rd.

Unfortunately, the reality is far different.

History shows that IPPs took root in BC when the provincial government introduced an energy policy in 2002 which forbade BC Hydro from producing new sources of hydroelectricity. This led to over 800 creeks, rivers and even lakes being “staked” by private power companies who were eager to capitalize on the rich electricity contracts BC Hydro was forced to issue. The move to stimulate IPPs in BC had nothing to do with tackling climate change, as the BC government at that time actively opposed the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, it had to do with electricity privatization and deregulation – twin concepts sweeping North America at the time.

Today, because of a horribly misguided energy policy, BC Hydro is now on the hook for over $50 billion – yes, billion – in sweetheart energy purchase agreements to IPPs. It is important to remember that IPP electricity produced here was never meant for BC. It was slated for California, except California doesn’t consider river-diversion projects to be green and it won’t pay a premium for the power.

So here we sit, with a publicly-owned utility saddled with an enormous debt for power we don’t need. BC Hydro, once the envy of North America for providing our province with reliable low-carbon electricity, now hovers on the edge of bankruptcy unless it can pass on its considerable debt to ratepayers.


Photos courtesy of Valhalla Wilderness Society

Action Urged to Protect Ancient Incomappleux Valley from Proposed IPP


The Valhalla Wilderness Society of the Kootenays is urging citizens to send a message today to the provincial government in opposition of a proposed private power project on the spectacular Incomappleux river.

The province’s Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) is accepting comments from the public until midnight tonight (Sept. 20) on private power titan TranAlta’s application to carry out potentially damaging feasibility studies for a proposed private river diversion project on the Incomappleux, considered one of BC’s most intact old growth rainforest valleys.

According to Valhalla:

The upper Incomappleux River and its very ancient rainforest are the gems of the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal.

The valley has been severely logged for a major part of its length.  But the logging stopped before the end of the forest, leaving behind a five-kilometre stretch of river with very rare valley-bottom Inland Temperate Rainforest, with trees up to four metres in diameter and 1,800 years old. Scientists say this forest could have been growing undisturbed since the last ice age. It is part of a 17-kilometre stretch of wild river running through intact wilderness adjacent to Glacier National Park.

This now famous valley has drawn scientists from five countries to study the biodiversity of its ancient rainforest and its extensive wetland. They have found numerous rare species of lichens, mushrooms, snails and plants including a number of red- and blue-listed species.

The organization is concerned that even “feasibility studies” would have a detrimental impact on the highly sensitive and rare ecosystem. “The studies alone will include drilling, and possibly road building and cutting down trees to bring in heavy equipment. This will be a huge investment on the part of the proponent for a development that would then be leverage to get the IPP approved.”

Because the proposed generating capacity of this river diversion project, at 45 Megawatts, falls below the 50 Megawatt threshold, it will not require an environmental assessment from the province.

Some of the key environmental concerns from the project include the diversion of a significant amount of water from the river for an 8.8 km stretch, through prime Grizzly habitat, industrial roads being constructed on the edge of Glacier National Park, and a 75 km transmission line, carved through prime old-growth forest.

Private power projects have been thoroughly criticized in these pages for both serious environmental problems, thoroughly demonstrated by evidence, and for their lack of financial sense for BC taxpayers and hydro ratepayers.

Concerned citizens can register their comments with the ILMB by midnight tonight through their online form.


Feds walk away from environmental assessments on almost 500 projects in B.C.


Read this article by Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun. Excerpt: “Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has washed its hands of environmental assessments of nearly 500 projects in B.C. as a result of a revised Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

“The 492 wide-ranging projects include gravel extraction on the lower Fraser River, run-of-river hydro projects and wind farms, bridge construction as well as demolition of the old Port Mann Bridge, shellfish aquaculture operations, hazardous-waste facilities and liquid-waste disposal.

“Ottawa is also walking away from conducting assessments on various agricultural and municipal drainage works, log-handling facilities, small-craft harbour and marina development and expansion, the sinking of ex-warships as artificial reefs, the disposal of dredged material, and a 73-hectare mixed-use development on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.” (August 22, 2012)

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Feds+walk+away+from+environmental+assessments+almost+projects/7125419/story.html


Advocates seek action on hydro projects


Read this article by Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun. Excerpt: “Environmental charity Ecojustice went to B.C. Supreme Court to seek a judicial review of the province’s failure to conduct a formal environmental assessment on the Holmes hydro power project near McBride.

“The legal action, taken on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, argues that 10 linked hydro plants will together generate 85 megawatts of electricity.

“But because no individual plant would generate more than 50 megawatts – the threshold for triggering an environmental assessment – none were ordered.” (August 23, 2012)

Read more: href=http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Advocates+seek+action+hydro+projects/7132161/story.html


BC Hydro’s $30 Billion Blind Gamble


I was astonished to read, “A new forecast by BC Hydro shows electricity demand in the province is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next 20 years,” in a recent article from the Vancouver Sun. To understand why I use the term “astonished”, one must delve deeper to see that this statement is not supported by Hydro’s own data and other global economic data. Rather than taking everything at face value, I’ve learned it’s critically important to question the statements made by BC Hydro and the current provincial government. After watching a documentary on the collapse of Enron and how wild forecasting and lack of genuine oversight led to one of the largest financial failures in modern history, the resounding statement was, “ask why” – wise words to follow to avoid repeating history.

It will be of help to the reader to understand some of the financial implications of BC Hydro’s forecasting. Discussion should start with the understanding of the unit used to measure and report about electrical energy. It is the Gigawatt hour (GWhr) per year, as you can see in the chart that follows. Using the public values associated with the proposed Site C generation plant, it takes $2,000,000 of borrowed money to produce one GWhr/year of usable energy. Keep in mind as you read what follows, your Government and BC Hydro are apparently intent on borrowing and spending, in your name, $30,000,000,000 by 2017. If left to follow the path set out in the most recent BC Hydro forecast, the corporation’s total liabilities will explode to $80,000,000,000! As a shareholder, ratepayer and guarantor of the debt are you ready for this experience?

This is an evidence-based discussion, which means looking at actual domestic demand from BC Hydro’s annual financial reports in concert with various historical demand forecasts by BC Hydro. This data is shown in Graph 1, below.

It can be seen from this graph that the domestic demand had a significant downturn starting in 2008 and that we are currently at pre-2005 levels. Comparing BC Hydro’s forecasts with the actual demand clearly indicates how poorly they match up, even failing to predict any degree of decline.

What is arguably even more striking than BC Hydro’s apparently poor forecasting skills is the trend in their forecasting. According to their predictions, the rate of increase in demand is greater for each forecast, illustrated by a sharper rise for each subsequent forecast. This begs the questions as to why this would be the case and if there is any justification for it.

BC Hydro has previously stated that this increasing domestic demand is based on increasing population. However, population growth, plotted in Graph 2, can be seen to be fairly linear from 2003 onward. With the population increasing at a fairly steady rate, one would similarly expect domestic demand to increase at a constant rate, if modelled on population growth. Added to this is the growing recognition that per capita demand for electricity has been declining since 2008.  An increasing rate would result from accelerated population growth, which is not the case. This becomes most troublesome with the 2010/2011 forecast, which portrays a dramatic rise in the forecasted rate of increase without the associated population growth to warrant it. What is the justification? There is none – it is a deliberate exaggeration of provincial demand.

Graph 2 includes BC Hydro’s longer term forecast to 2030. In addition, it shows a projection by Erik Andersen that utilizes a per capita demand value for residential plus commercial customers coupled with an expectation of industrial demand. The latter is reflective of new industrial customers having to pay higher than the “legacy rates” that are available to some established large customers.

By presenting an exaggerated need for more domestic generation capacity BC Hydro is giving cover for its call for new Independent Power Producer contracts and for projects like Site C. This is a continuation of a corporate culture documented in the book White Gold by Karl Froschauer.

What BC Hydro and the current government are ignoring is the present state of the global economy.  Of the many global business indicators available one of the best is the Baltic Dry Cargo Index. This historical index combines dry cargo shipping charter rates with volumes. It is considered by professionals as the only uncontaminated global index because it is not subjected to speculative “gaming”. It is also considered one of the best leading economic indicators available to the public. Graph 3, below, adds the Baltic Dry Cargo Index to Graph 1 (above).

It is interesting to note how closely the BDCI matches the trend in domestic BC electricity demand. To ignore the current global economic climate, which domestic demand appears to parallel, is a seriously large financial gamble.

BC Hydro has a well-documented history of exaggerating demand to serve corporate interests and that pattern is repeating. There is no evidence to support their claim and BC citizens need to start asking “why?” to avoid the blunders of the past reoccurring. In terms of the current state of the global economy, there is trouble out there and you don’t go stepping out into new debt at a time like this.

A recent article in the New York Times has shown that Asia has been “falsifying economic statistics to disguise the true depth of the troubles”, which is why a global indicator such as the BDCI is so important.  Folks who aren’t making their “numbers” resort to “Enron-style” information flow. China’s sputtering economy is facing tumbling electricity demand, yet that is largely being hidden.

We must insist on evidence-based projections of demand that take into account the global economy as opposed to wishful thinking on BC Hydro’s part. The latter has the tendency to produce stranded assets at the expense of the citizens of BC.

Sandra Hoffmann is a Ph.D chemist specializing in water chemistry and is the former coordinator for the Peace Valley Environment Association. Erik Andersen is an independent economist and regular contributor to the Common Sense Canadian.

Rafe Mair interviewed Adrian Dix earlier this year on his party's positions on the environment and resources in BC

Dear Mr. Dix: A Letter From Rafe Mair to BC’s Future Premier


Dear Adrian Dix,
The recent polls show that you and your party have a wide lead over the Liberals and Conservatives – something which gives many of us who care deeply about the environment encouragement, including thousands of us who are not usually supportive of the NDP. It is those people whom I have in mind today.
The political spectrum has altered substantially in recent years with a wide gap in centre, which your party is clearly occupying. To do this with success you must address concerns about the nineties when the NDP was in office. Apart from the fact – a big one – that the NDP had, ahem, leadership problems, in fact the NDP had a much better track record in fiscal matters than painted by the “right”, especially when one considers the sudden trauma of the “Asian ‘flu”, which all but ground our forest sector to a halt.
The Campbell/Clark Government has, with some success, painted the NDP as a government that bankrupted the province.
I believe that you should deal with those issues – though not at length, because voters want to know what you will do, not what you have done. The fact is, however, that the Liberals will present themselves as steady stewards of the public purse, which they clearly are not, and in my view you must be able to match allegations with facts.
Before I get to the environment, one other issue. When we sit around the fire relaxing with a toddy, we often muse that it would be wonderful if the federal and BC governments could just get along. The fact is that we are a federated state which sets out – not always with clarity – the powers, rights and obligations of each government. The system is built on tension, not ass-kicking, and the Premier and her party ought to know this.
Premier Clark is presently dealing with the Kitsilano Coast Guard issue with kid gloves. That may be a good policy in issues like this but in the larger sense, the people of BC, I believe, want the provincial government to stand up boldly to the Ottawa bully, especially in these days where the Harper government wishes to devastate BC’s environment.
This segues neatly into the environment issue. This issue does not lend itself to compromise. One of the “weasel” words from the developer is “mitigation”. You either protect the environment or you don’t, and three obvious issues come to mind: fish farms, private power and the pipeline/tanker debate.
On the first, you simply must force them to go on land. I believe it was a mistake to turn that power over to the Feds but that’s been done and we must deal with what we have. I suggest a protocol which requires farms to move on shore within a reasonable time or their licenses will not be renewed. The fish farmers have all denied they do to harm the environment for over a decade and they must be brought to heel. You cannot simply pawn the issue off to Fisheries and Oceans Canada – the people expect you to act.
Your position on private power (IPPs) is more than a bit hazy. You seem to be opposed to them but will, after you make the contracts public, still honour the contracts. I realize this is a tricky issue because if you go further, you will be painted as anti-business. Can you not declare that any licenses granted but not acted upon will be taken away? On other proposals, and I especially refer to the Klinaklini, surely you must say to them, “Proceed at your peril”.
And, of course, you must revive the British Columbia Utilities Commission – with teeth, as in days of yore.
This leads to BC Hydro which, if in the private sector, would be in bankruptcy protection. Much of that unhappy situation results from the IPPs from whom BC Hydro was forced to buy electricity at hugely inflated prices. Hydro has some $40 BILLION dollars in future payments for power it does not need. How can an NDP government deal with this without taking action on these contracts? Isn’t this analogous to the mayor elected on a reform ticket still honouring sweetheart deals between the former mayor and his brother-in-law? These IPP contracts are scandalous payments to the government and its political pals and cannot be protected by “sanctity of contract”
Your position on pipelines and tanker traffic is, in my view, pretty solid but must be restated at regular times. I understand that you have postponed your decision on the Kinder-Morgan line until you see what their new proposal is. That probably made sense in the Chilliwack by-election but otherwise makes no sense at all. It is a time bomb now – how can that situation be improved by increasing the line’s capacity?
The 2013 election will largely be fought on environmental issues – for the first time in my long life.

You must walk the tightrope of support of our environment and the rightwing allegations that you are anti-business. You must expect that, well before the election, the federal government, with a sweetly smiling Premier Clark, will announce big contributions to the province so that we, too, can get rich out of the Tar Sands and be prepared for that. The answer is like the joke where a man asks a woman to go to bed with him for $50,000. She muses about her obligations to her kids, etc. and blushingly agrees. The man then asks if she will go to bed with him for $50 to which the indignant woman exclaims, “What do you take me for, a common prostitute?” to which the man replies, “We’ve already established that, madam; now we’re dickering over the price.”
The lesson is our province is not for sale at any price.
Rafe Mair


The Profiligate BC Hydro


Most of us, whether we live in Newfoundland, Ontario or on the North side of Burrard Inlet, are required to live in the world of financial reality and discipline; reality as to our incomes and debts.
In recent days, a number of articles have featured BC Hydro and its proposed increase in electricity rates. Perhaps it would be useful for readers to have additional context.

Prior to 2008, most citizens of our developed world participated in the biggest global credit bubble ever seen. In 2008, that financial fantasy ended.

One of the most dramatic indicators of that event, the collapse of international dry cargo shipping, was captured by the Baltic Dry Cargo Index.

The BDCI was designed to record international trade volumes in combination with shipping contract prices.

In June of 2008, the index showed a level of about 12,000 units. A mere six months later it was struggling at about 1,000 units and has not recovered since.

Prudent managers have known of this index for decades. They should also know it provides a leading indicator of international trade; not so at BC Hydro or in Victoria.

A corporate forecast can be considered the statement of investment intentions for its business and a credible forecast incorporates a sense of economic situational awareness.

In its 2003/04 forecast, BC Hydro managed to hit the forecast numbers for electricity sales in 2008; but the exaggeration of future demand included in its 2007/08 forecast showed corporate thinking was still contaminated by the bubble years.

As a result, despite the evidence of decreasing domestic demand for electricity from 2009 on, the 2010/11 forecast indicated that this bullish attitude continued to prevail. And despite the evidence of that shrinking demand, BC Hydro is planning for 14,000 units of new electricity by 2017 and for double that by 2031.

The amount of capital it takes to produce a unit of service or commodity is regarded as a good measure of operating efficiency. In the case of BC Hydro, the extent of its capital deployment is yet another indicator of trouble ahead for the corporation and for ratepayers.

Prior to 2008, Hydro managed to meet the electricity needs of its provincial customers with about $12 billion in deployed capital. The 2007 level of demand was about 53,000 units.
Since then, following directions from the provincial government, the corporation has increased its deployment to nearly $20 billion, to provide only 50,600 units.

In summary – BC Hydro used 67 per cent more capital to produce and deliver 5 per cent less electricity when it is normal to gain efficiencies from new investments, not lose them.
What have the bubble era and provincial policies produced in liabilities for BC Hydro? 

Since 2007, liabilities increased by $6 billion. Additional liabilities for ratepayers reached $2.2 billion in 2011 and, according to B.C. Auditor General John Doyle it will not be long before that amount doubles.
The present value of the secret contracts BC Hydro has with independent producers is estimated to be a further obligation of more than $40 billion.

Using the costs and productivity of the proposed Site C dam as a metaphor for new power generation, to get 14,000 units of new electricity means a further $30 billion of liabilities.

It seems pointless to ask the perpetrators why this disconnect with the real world exists but perhaps the answer can be found elsewhere.

In 2006, President Bush granted a group of undisclosed people dominion over all electricity production in North America. The North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) was launched and immediately recognized in Canada with a Memorandum of Understanding between it and the National Energy Board. Since then NERC has secured enforcement status in several provinces including Ontario. Enforcement means the legal right to fine electricity producers large amounts of money for non-compliance.

This may help the reader understand why our government has pushed aside the BC Utilities Commission. NERC is about serving private interests ahead of the public interest of B.C. citizens.

It is way past time for BC Hydro to throw out the anchor but maybe it never was the game plan to curb itself before it was beyond saving as a public asset.

I leave it to you to judge whether this period of exaggerated demand forecasting and Hydro’s attendant spending was, or is by accident or design.

Whichever is your answer there is no avoiding the certainty that you will be called upon to pay up big time.