REALITY CHECK: B.C. LIBERAL MISMANAGEMENT HARMING B.C. HYDRO
February 7th, 2012
The B.C. Liberals have undermined B.C. Hydro with a range of wrong-headed energy policies designed to benefit large corporations and Liberal donors, at the public's expense. Liberal mismanagement has led to billions of dollars hidden away in dozens of deferral accounts at B.C. Hydro, while the B.C. Utilities Commission remains sidelined on billions more in capital spending, from independent power production to smart meters.
The Liberals' Failure on Electricity Self-Sufficiency:
The Clean Energy Act put into law the requirement for B.C. Hydro to become electricity self-sufficient, defined by a 50-year drought water level, plus a massive insurance requirement of an additional 3000 GWh. This policy has been a major driver of the Liberals’ push towards buying high-cost power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
Friday’s announcement that the definition of self-sufficiency would be changed is an astonishing admission of failure by the Liberals.
Other policies, such as restricting B.C. Hydro from building its own new sources of power, and eliminating communities’ right to be consulted on power projects in their region, along with reckless programs like the billion-dollar smart meter roll-out, continue to weaken our public utility.
The Liberals want to have their cake and eat it too: while relaxing self-sufficiency requirements, they plan to maintain the need to purchase power from private producers by claiming it will be used to fuel new LNG plants on the Northwest coast, despite the fact that intermittent power from run-of-river and wind is virtually useless without firm power sources, such as B.C.’s heritage dams.
The Liberals have forced B.C. Hydro to rack up $45 billion in contractual obligations, primarily to IPPs. The Liberals have accused New Democrats of planning to tear up those contracts, which is simply untrue.
The Liberals refuse to admit the costs of their mismanagement of B.C. Hydro, which is why they have sidelined the independent public oversight of the B.C. Utilities Commission. New Democrats have consistently made it clear that B.C. Hydro must have a renewed mandate for a leading role in B.C.’s electricity delivery and development, and the oversight of the BCUC must be restored.
It’s time the Liberals admit to the mess they've made at B.C. Hydro, and start cleaning it up.