To the editor;
With both of BC’s major political parties essentially leader less, now is a good time to bring up the very urgent matter of the bankrupting of our own crown corporation, BC Hydro. Space will not permit an in-depth review, however, I wish to bring some matters to the reader’s attention.
Since its election in 2001, the BC Liberal government has moved to deregulate and privatize BC’s electricity system while integrating it with the U.S.-dominated energy market in the Pacific Northwest. The core of that policy was laid out in the 2002 Energy Plan, which prevented BC Hydro from building new generation assets, and transforms the Crown corporation from not only a generator of publicly-owned electricity, but also to a part time purchaser of energy from Independent Private Power (IPP) facilities.
In an interview with retired economist Erik Andersen, who conducted his own inquiry into Hydro’s affairs, it became evident that the government’s private river power policy is devastating to BC Hydro. By secret contracts, BC Hydro is required to purchase electricity from multiple IPPs at twice or more the cost for which Hydro can sell it, and twice the cost that it can be produced by Hydro itself.
Despite a 2009 ruling by the BC Utilities Commission that this private power is both unnecessary and not in the public interest, the Campbell government has overruled the public watchdog and forced BC Hydro to proceed with more private power purchase contracts – bringing the total liabilities for public purchases of private power to an estimated $40-50 Billion!
BC Hydro will have to drastically increase rates to you and me, or face the inevitable, a declaration of insolvency, with the possibility that BC Hydro’s assets would then be sold off to private interests, at whose mercy we will forever be.
On April 28, 2010, the new Clean Energy Act was passed. At that time, Premier Gordon Campbell stated that this act will maximize the value of our public heritage assets for the benefit of British Columbians by forever securing competitive rates and generating new streams of revenue for crucial public services.
The Clean Energy Act promises that “BC Hydro will continue to be owned by the Province and public ownership of BC Hydro’s assets will remain protected by legislation.”
Since BC Hydro’s formation, our government revenues were boosted by large dividends from BC Hydro and used for healthcare, education, etc. At the end of March 2010, BC Hydro had a loss of $249 million. As shareholders of BC Hydro, the citizens of British Columbia should be outraged at the negligent energy policy of the Campbell Government and gross mismanagement of the public’s crown corporation by its board and management.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope the reader will be challenged to become informed, and start by visiting some websites and/or asking his own questions.
I urge everyone to make some enquiries and ask some questions on his or her own. You can email any MLA by picking and choosing at http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-4.asp.