Posted on thecanadian.org you will find a report on BC Hydro by economist Erik Andersen, Sinister financial vectors at BC Hydro, and it should shock all British Columbians. I must add that I feel vindicated since I’ve been saying these things for 2 ½ years based on inferred evidence fortified by the lack of rebuttal by BC Hydro, the private power interests or the Campbell government.
The situation Gordon “Pinocchio” Campbell has got us in is all but impossible to believe, but he’s done it.
Let me quickly lay out why we have a publicly owned power company.
Back in the late 50s and early 60s then Premier W.A.C. Bennett made three decisions – he decided that Black Ball Ferries, being privately owned, would never serve any communities unless it was profitable; he decided the same thing for the old PGE railway; and he held that BC needed an abundance of cheap power for both industry and the general public so he nationalized BC Railway in 1961. Thus we had BC Ferries, BC Rail, and BC Hydro and Power Authority.
The power didn’t come cheap either fiscally or environmentally as huge dams were built on the Peace and Columbia Rivers, however Bennett had got the job done and we had an abundance of cheap power. In fact we British Columbians owned what many felt was the best power company in the world.
Enter Gordon Campbell and his energy policy of 2002. What he did was simple and it was breathtaking. So much so that many British Columbians are only now waking up to what has happened:
1. All new power was to come from private companies and except for upgrading their facilities and Site “C” should they wish to develop that, BC HYDRO was denied the right to create new power.
2. We were told by the government that these projects would be “run-of-river”, namely that the river would be undisturbed.
3. We were informed that these would all be small “mom and pop” operations.
4. We were told that BC was a net importer of energy and that these Independent Power Producers would ensure that we would be self sufficient by 2016.
For the past 2 ½ years Damien Gillis and I, along with Joe Foy and Gwen Barlee of the Wilderness Committee have been speaking around the province telling people the truth. Namely, that these plants were hugely intrusive and destructive of the rivers and their ecosystems, that the companies were huge, such as Ledcor and General Electric, that BC was not short of energy and need never be if we made some modest changes to our policy and that this independent power, because it can only be generated during the run-off, was of no use to BC Hydro since at that time their reservoirs were full and they needed no help.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, we slowly but surely learned what the deals were that Hydro was forced by the Campbell government to make with these IPP’s. And we could not believe what we learned.
To put it shortly and bluntly, Hydro was forced to buy power, on a “take or pay” basis, at double or more what they could get on the export market! If that wasn’t bad enough, HYDRO would be forced to export private power because, as explained above, it was surplus to their needs.
Erik Andersen was only known to The Common Sense Canadian through blogs he did and I was on his mailing list. We have a list of contributors, which you can find on our website at www.thecanadian.org, numbering about 25. These men and women from all walks of life and of every political stripe are asked to do a column for us from time to time for which they aren’t paid a dime.
Erik Andersen did a blog or two which dealt with the issues we’re involved with and we asked him to become one of our contributors and he kindly consented. Erik has been an economist for many years and his resume is fascinating.
On his own, Erik did a blog dealing with many of the points I have above and we asked him if he could flesh that out and give us a report we could circulate.
What Erik was able to do, because of his expertise, was to find the numbers that justified the position we had been taking for the past 2 ½ years – and then some.
I urge you to read this report and send it to friends. What we have here is theft – legalized theft of our rivers, their ecologies and our power. Not only is our power, and the profit traditionally given to the government by BC HYDRO, being sent out of the Province, but we are paying private companies to do it! We get nothing for this, nothing except the same taxes the government would get from a grocery store.
I’m not a young man anymore – in fact I’ve seen many governments come and go and have even been part of one.
Never in my life have I seen such outrageous behaviour as this. It’s made all the more shameful by the government MLA’s doing and saying nothing as their province is ravished.
Read Erik Andersen’s report and weep at the outrages inflicted and still being inflicted on British Columbia by this evil government