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Sooner or later the truth must come out. Clearly it must be from outside the government and BC Hydro – and it sure as hell isn’t going to come from the mainstream media.

Let me lay this out clearly – either what The Common Sense Canadian says is true or it isn’t. We’ve laid out the facts and taken our message around the province and are about to start another tour. The numbers tell us that thousands of you are seeing what we do and your response has been fantastic.

We don’t just tell you what comes into our heads – we rely upon the best experts in the business. We are a-political in the sense that we don’t support any political party but we sure as hell will support any party with a chance to form a government that wants to save our province from those who steal our resources and take them and the profits away to faraway places.

Yes, I’m speaking of the foreign fish farmers and the foreign or at best huge Canadian companies who are ruining our rivers to make power for California and pocketing all the profits at no cost to themselves. Indeed the harshest fact is that in both cases we help fund these predators.

There were two news items recently that in days gone by would have had newspapers and TV stations raising supreme hell. In fact they are, at best, printed in a small corner of the business pages.

BC Hydro’s financing of Independent Power Producers took another two astonishing turns.

Until now, if an IPP wanted to dam our rivers – yes they are dams – and the project size was under 10 Megawatts, they could do so free of any public process or environmental assessment. Just pay the peppercorn license fee and away you went with the equivalent of a never-ending winning lottery ticket in your hand.

Now BC Hydro (for which read the Campbell government) intends to raise the limit to 15 Megawatts – by no means a “small”, “run-of-river” project!

That’s a 50% hike in size for thieves trashing our rivers, forcing BC Hydro to go further in the hole for power that is exported to the undiminished profit of the likes of General Electric and without any environmental concerns and without the slightest input from the public!

This power isn’t for us – when Pinocchio Campbell tells us this is for our energy needs he’s laughing he’s bullshitting us. This government mocks us at The Common Sense Canadian and laughs – but whether we win this fight or lose, CSC and all who support us can carry their heads high for doing our best to save what’s left of our province.

But there’s more. Hydro also intends to offer these offshore leeches a raise of between 14-29% for this already astronomical power!

This is like the bailed-out banks paying million dollar bonuses to the people who got them in trouble in the first place! BC Hydro is forced to pay even more ransom to these bastards who send power to Hydro when it doesn’t need it. Most of these projects provide the bulk of their power during the Spring run-off, when our reservoirs are full and our power needs at their lowest. So Hydro must either export it at a huge loss or use it instead of power they make themselves at as little as a 1/12th the cost!

Good God, folks, when is enough enough?

You want a little more sleight-of-hand?

The government, through BC Hydro, is telling us we need a lot more power. Now remember, whatever their power needs, they are not going to get it from IPPs. It’s easy to think that if we need more power, that IPPs are the answer but that’s palpably false.

I told you we have top-notch advisors. Erik Andersen, is one of them. He’s an economist who follows these issues closely and he has a report on this edition of the website which I urge you to read.

Put simply, BC Hydro has, as is their history, grossly inflated the power needs of this province. They did this 30 years ago when I was in government and they always have. It’s sort of a shield against falling short of the needs but now they have outdone themselves, as Mr. Andersen’s figures demonstrate.

Moreover, anyone with half a brain can see that the demands will be far less than Hydro says for at least two reasons:

1.   Industrial demand will continue to diminish, in real terms, because we are in a long-term downturn in the economy worldwide and the likelihood is that it will get worse.

2.   Conservation is no longer some pie in the sky word only used in “feel good” speeches but is, and more and more, becoming an important reality. Hydro’s own 2007 Energy Conservation Potential Review report found that we could save enough electricity through serious conservation by 2026 to power 1.4 million homes (close to a third of our total current electricity demands)

Here, then, is where the Campbell government has got us:

1.   Private power destroying our rivers and the ecologies that depend upon them.

2.   The power they create is not needed by BC Hydro

3.   BC Hydro must take that power or pay for it – now at rates 14-29% more for this new purchase program. The bank has called the robber back to tell him he missed a safe and here’s the money he forgot.

4.   This means Hydro must export the power at a huge loss or use it when it can make its own power at 1/12th the cost on its heritage dams

5.   The environmental assessment, when it’s mandated, is a bad joke and more and more IPPs will dam rivers without any environmental assessment

6.   When the government says it’s doing all this for BC energy self sufficiency, for the reasons above, they’re lying through their teeth.

7.   BC Hydro has consistently made a profit sending a very substantial dividend to the government for hospital, schools and social services. Going bankrupt, it can no longer do that.

8.   Never mind, folks, you’ll get your dividend after all as Hydro will substantially raise its rates to you so they can pay that dividend!

The Liberal leadership hopefuls will not whisper a word about this and one can only hope that the NDP candidates make an issue out of it. Or maybe a third party will emerge.

Either what we’re saying is right or wrong – if we’re wrong, we should be challenged by the Campbell government with hard facts but that’s an unknown policy in their book; Moreover, their long silence tells us we’re spot on; if right, the government must abandon the policy, make the IPP contracts public and do its best to restore and protect our environment.

If the government persists we, and I mean all of us, must consider taking direct action.

3 Responses to “The Numbers Don’t Lie: We Don’t Need More Private Power”

  1. gini says:

    I’ve been reading, with much interest, your recent blogs, Rafe. I totally agree with your assessment of the Campbell government and BC Hydro regarding the IPPs. How can I help ‘The Common Sense Canadian’ in their quest to bring some sanity back to our provincial government?

  2. Skookum1 says:

    Rafe, I tried emailing you a news item on the impending privatization of the Bridge River Power Project and all the money that’s being spent on it before whomever is getting it takes over….not a news item in the usual sense, but on-the-ground info from someone…..apparently it’s worth $1 million/day (=$365 million/year) that will no longer go into Hydro’s coffers once the deal is done. Makes you wonder how much they’re giving it away for, doesn’t it? And how much ARE “we” spending to gussy it up before the giveaway?

    And what should have been a heritage site, the Bridge River townsite (which was a Japanese relocation centre during the war, among other things notable about it), is being razed to make way for new townhouses.

    I don’t have much more info than that, other than that the penstocks are being painted some bright colour as part of the reno, but email me if you’d like to see the original communication….

  3. Skookum1 says:

    Here’s another item on Hydro spending tons on refurbishing an old plant; it doesn’t say so but I”m suspecting that this is similar to what’s going on at Bridge River; getting Hydro to spend money a buyer would otherwise have to, though nothing is said here about privatization. Racking up Hydro’s debts/costs on the one hand, while destroying its revenue stream on the other….


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