Who's fool are you? BC power fraud
A fantastic letter written by Terry Burt of Comox on BC power (March 25). I for one will not be amused the next time I'm bent over to plug in my vacuum cleaner thinking of the position that the BC government has adroitly manoeuvred us into. People need to inform themselves otherwise you won't have a right to complain when this compromising position becomes uncomfortable.
People in the Comox Valley should be cringing at the thought of paying more for electricity. BC Hydro produces some of the cheapest clean energy in the world. However, this cheap clean energy is now being put at grave risk by Independent Power Producers.
How is this possible? The answer is simple, the finger points to the Clean Energy Act. The Clean Energy Act mandates that BC Hydro be committed to long term inflation adjusted contracts that are currently paying Run of River power producers premiums of 300% or more than the Pacific Northwest wholesale market price for mid-winter, the time of maximum electricity demand. However, unfortunately most of the power from Run of River IPP's comes during the spring run-off when BC Hydro has a massive surplus of generating capacity. This adds insult to injury! Why are we paying a 300% premium for power we don't need?
Your next thought might be "let's sell the power". Noble and fiscally prudent idea, however, the continental US our biggest trading partner has a mind boggling amount of new wind power that has created a supply glut on the market. Now, our power that BC Hydro is purchasing for the extravagant sum of approx. $100/MWh from private power producers is worth a mere fraction of that on the open market. To make matters worse we are contracted to pay that inflation adjusted $100/MWh for the next 30 to 40 years. Current market forecasts predict that wholesale electricity prices won't exceed $80/MWh for the next 20 years. We now face the near term prospect of paying considerably more for our hydro than the power will be worth 20 years from now!
You might say this makes no economic sense! I whole heartedly agree as does Marjorie Griffin, a Political Science Professor at Simon Fraser University and former BC Hydro Board Member. She was recently quoted to say that Independent Power Producing contracts "make no sense...they are sometimes as much as 30 times what BC Hydro can sell the power for. BC Hydro isn't at fault. BC Hydro would never have chosen to do this because it makes no economic sense." It is important for all BC citizens to understand that they are currently BC Hydro shareholders, customers and guarantors of all debts to the corporation.
As shareholders of BC Hydro we need to demand that the noose of the ill-conceived Clean Energy Act be cut from around our necks and scrapped. The BC Utilities Commission must be reinstated with its full authority to arbitrate on behalf of the ratepayers against future legislation of this type. Our new Energy Minister Mr. Coleman and Premier Clark would be well advised to attend a course at SFU under the tutelage of Ms Griffin to learn how to calculate "economic sense", a concept that eluded the Campbell government.
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open