Written by Grant G
I read an article tonight, it was about BC Hydro and how rate increase proposals have sent a chill through British Columbia`s industrial power users.....(Reading that article first might be helpful)
The gist of that article is how BC`s pulp and paper industry which has barely emerged alive out of bankruptcy protection, how the industry has cut to the bone to survive, and how proposed double digit increases in electric rates will reduce and or eliminate any competitive advantage they had, they also claim BC will go from the bottom third in electric rates in Canada to the highest rate in Canada, the article warns how big industry could leave our province and more importantly scare away new industry that consumes gobs of electricity..
Let me be clear, the BC Liberals will always side with big industry, especially if they free up company dollars and donate to the BC Liberal party...
But that leaves this Liberal Government in a pickle, how much of the required rate increases can they unload on residential users who are already being squeezed to the breaking point, will they leave industrial rates alone and put it all on the public, for if they do that, if they raise only homeowner rates the increases will have to be on a magnitude of 12% per year for at least 5 years, add in taxes and fees and residential rate hikes will be on the order of 70%...Enough to drive many over the edge, enough to drive even more people to other provinces..
Let me be clear, right now BC Hydro is not short of power, we have power we can`t sell, we are spilling water over our heritage dams and buying high priced run of river power, buying high and selling low..
Sometimes I`m amazed at the stupidity of public voices who speak on such topics, topics like electricity, are they clueless, deliberately obtuse, first off, I like Simi Sara better than most radio personalities but either she hasn`t been paying attention to what is going on with BC Hydro or she is deliberately muddying the water...She had a guest on the other day talking about electrical rates, the man was very upbeat, he was a natural salesman, however, he wasn`t on air with Simi to talk about how Gordon Campbell, now Christy Clark`s Liberals have screwed BC Hydro and by extension screwed every British Columbian, he was talking about how you can reduce your electric bill through conservation, and..
And he talked glowingly about a now defunct BC Government program and how he would like to see it come back, the program was the energy retrofit grant program and BC Hydro residential energy audits, the program was costing the BC Government $25 million dollars per year, the program was designed to help people save on energy...I`ll come back to that point a little later..
He then started talking about turning off needless lights, unplug items, don`t leave chargers plugged in, turn down the heat, don`t use your clothes dryer, hang them up on a line ....And let me say, I personally shut off as much as I can, sometimes to the point of sitting in the dark, and I suppose people don`t need security lights, or a front yard light on, there really is no need or reason to try to fool those less scrupulous that there is someone home when you are out, or away, just leave your residence in complete darkness, I`m sure the thieves will understand your dilemma, trying to juggle safety and hydro electric rates..
So let me explain this again, BC Hydro at present has excess power it is forced to buy, the BC Liberal Gordon Campbell legacy has forced, by cabinet order, and by legislation that prohibited the BCUC from scrutinizing these Liberal economic blunders...this Government has forced BC Hydro to buy gobs of power at prices well above $130 per megawatt hour, we are spilling water over our heritage dams because we have no market for it, and this run of river power BC Hydro is selling at a price range between free and $40 dollars a megawatt hour...buy it at $130 dollars and sell it for $40 or less..
Where was I, yes conservation is a noble goal, so when BC Hydro raises rates by 30% in short order and everybody reduces consumption(theoretically) by 30% your bill, in theory won`t rise?...Hmmm, that was indeed the gist of Simi Sara and her guest, ...Am I missing something, Simi took no phone calls on that segment, I did send her an email halfway through that segment, I thought perhaps she might have picked up what I was laying down..
The public now is conserving energy, more efficient lightbulbs, every new appliance draws less power than the one it replaced, let me spell it out, if BC Hydro was short of power and was forced to buy high priced electricity to fill a need would be one thing, in that scenario conservation would very much help BC Hydro, imagine, a utility needs 20% more power to run the province, that 20% power that the utility buys is very expensive...Then, all of a sudden we customers as a group start conserving 30% of our power needs and ...And the utility doesn`t have to purchase high priced imported power..
Every new home is way more efficient than older ones, the bottom line is residential power demands are not rising at all, ..
Simi Sara, hello, ....We don`t have that situation, we have excess power, excess high priced run of river power, if BC Hydro raises rates 30% and everyone cuts way back on their power consumption, say by 30%...
That in theory would mean that even though BC Hydro raised rates by 30% they wouldn`t end up with anymore money, in fact, the BC Liberals have so screwed BC Hydro, they signed so many 30..40...50..and even 60 year energy buying contracts the more the public conserves electricity the worse off BC Hydro is!...Stunning logic completely missed by Simi Ssara, and I am to the point with our media that I believe her stunning obtusement(is that a word?) is deliberate..
But what about LNG you say?....What if 6 or 8 major players build LNG plants in British Columbia, wouldn`t we then be short of power so in the long run conservation is good...Again, in theory that argument makes sense, except for the corporate factor, LNG plants need a Site C dam each to meet their power needs, the problem is....The problem is these LNG energy companies won`t pay the residential rate for power, they won`t even pay the industrial rate, the major players musing about building LNG plants in British Columbia have requested free energy in lieu of royalties and taxes paid...And..
And if these companies can`t get virtually free electric power and they do decide to build LNG plants they will burn natural gas and produce their own energy, in other words we will still have a glut of over-priced run of river power being bought by BC Hydro and sold for huge financial losses...And the Site C build cost is an estimated $10 to $12 billion dollars, building many Site C power sources would merely add to ratepayer`s bills,
The BC Liberals finally stacked enough straw on BC Hydro to break its back, now residential users are going to feel the rate heat, and as more and more money goes from the consumer`s pockets to IPP run of river operator`s bank accounts less money will flow to other segments of the economy, thus dragging down everybody, every business..
Let me recap our situation one more time...BC Hydro has an excess of electrical power, they are buying high and selling low and with the state of the economies here in Canada and south of the border, with wages flat and falling the near to long term outlook for export electricity rates is flat, maybe even lower priced electric rates, with consumer spending power stretched to the limit now any massive spike in electricity rates south of the border will further damage a stagnant economy...
These IPP run of river contracts the Liberals signed in secret run decades, and there are more energy buying contracts coming online in the near future, this buying high and selling low problem will be exasperated even more in the following years, in other words the Liberals have tied a noose around our necks and an anchor to our ankles..
Industry in British Columbia, mining, pulp and paper and manufacturing are under such pressure from other cheaper jurisdictions, like China and Asia for labour rates and even the USA....Because of squeaking corporate wheels combined with political party donations and the glaring uncompetitive edge industry in Canada faces compared to their counterparts in cheap labour jurisdictions electrical rate increases for industry in British Columbia will be very small, or not at all, as you can read, they are already chirping, we the public don`t get the Government`s ear, at least not from this Government..
Conservation, Simi Sara doing her dutiful public service in explaining how conservation can cut your electrical bill by a third, or more, how we can offset the BC Hydro increases by hanging your wet clothes in your condo, in your apartment, turn off your outdoor night lights, sit in the dark...Well, unfortunately that won`t work in British Columbia, BC Hydro`s problem isn`t the amount of power they have, they have too much, if we as a province push real hard and conserve 30% more power BC Hydro will increase residential rates even higher, if we conserve 50% of our current power usage, conserve 60%...If we turn off everything but a single LED light, darken the high-rise business towers, remove street lights, replace every bulb in BC with super efficient LED lighting, replace every old fridge and freezer...
The BC Liberals have so screwed BC Hydro and British Columbian`s in general that the more power we conserve as a province the bigger BC Hydro`s debt will grow and the larger rate increases for residential users will be!...
Well done Gordon Campbell, well done Christy Clark, hats off to all you BC Liberals..
You broke BC Hydro`s back. too much straw..
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open