BC Hydro's Dry Hole: BC Libs, IPPs Can't Distance Themselves from Hydro's Woes

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BC Libs, IPPs Can't Distance Themselves from Hydro's Woes
The response of the private power industry (IPPs) to the recently released study on BC Hydro is goofy even against other barmy statements they make.

The defence against the charge that their power costs many times what BC Hydro can make it for themselves is that BC Hydro has paid for its facilities long ago so doesn’t have any capital costs whereas IPPs must build new plants.

Of course that’s true - AND THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!!!

Why should BC Hydro (that’s us folks) pay huge rates to cover the construction of private dams when they can get the power from their own system at a fraction of the cost? To pay a triple, quadruple bonus to IPPs so they can build power plants that ruin our rivers and supply us with hugely dear power is plain and simply nuts – yet that’s what the Campbell/Clark Government has been doing for 10 years!
 
Repeat after me – Vaughn Palmer and Mike Smyth too please: "We have never needed IPPS, don’t need them now and won’t need them in the foreseeable future."

Independent experts make it clear that with reasonable conservation, upgrade of current facilities, new generators on flood control dams and taking the Columbia River Treaty power back that we currently sell, puts us in a position that no new power will be needed for decades.
 
My Liberal colleague on our Monday morning Political Panel said today, obviously thinking this was in the government’s favour, that the Committee Report is a window into BC Hydro’s inner workings.

I replied and say again, “Yes that’s absolutely right and when the experts look into that window they see a screwed up mess of massive proportions all of which happened during the last 11 years the Campbell/ Clark government has been running the show!”
 
There is no escaping this charge because BC Hydro has its policy directed by the government of the day and always has. The orders to bugger up our rivers and streams by IPPs came directly from the Campbell/Clark government. The government has persisted in this policy even though they have been fully informed throughout.
 
This report also, without saying so, is a condemnation of the media which knew all the facts leading up to the report’s criticism of IPPs, but stayed silent. This is disgraceful and there’s no excuse for their silent support for the Campbell/Clark encouragement of IPPs. If Vaughn Palmer had dealt with this issue the way he dealt with the “fast ferries” issue under the NDP, I have no doubt that the outcry from the public would have been such that the government would have been forced to cancel this outrageous policy.
 
As with fish farms, and will be with pipelines and tankers, it’s all there for everyone to see – BC Hydro has been brought to where, if it was in the private sector, it would be in bankruptcy protection.
 
Premier Clark would like to distance herself from the past and considering her role in government and her silence when in radio, one can understand why.
 
She could make a big step towards her goal by ending BC Hydro’s commitment to private power immediately.
 
If Ms. Clark refuses to change, she will deserve to have her name linked with that of Gordon Campbell because her government will continue to be joined at the hip to the 10+ years the Liberals have been destroying BC Hydro and the environment.
 

My Liberal colleague on the CBC is right – the report is indeed a window into BC Hydro’s government-directed follies which have destroyed our rivers, are bent on destroying many others and committing corporate suicide in the bargain. 
 

 


Rafe Mair was a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979.
Since 1981 he has been a radio talk show host, and is recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists.  
 
 
 
 
 

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