The recent decision by the B.C. Utilities Commission to not purchase power from independent producers is very welcome news. Contained in the report that their decision was based on is the fact that B.C. taxpayers have been committed to purchasing electricity for far greater amounts than it can be sold. This amounts to all of us having to subsidize the IPP industry so they can retain handsome, guaranteed profits.
The commission noted that continuing to do business this way is "not in the best interests of British Columbians."
Also noted is the fact that B.C. Hydro customers, not government, not the IPP industry, would be the ones to bear costs of the "deal."
One of these bad deals is currently under construction in Whistler. Hardly "sustainable" by definition.
So why would our provincial government enter into these contracts? Why would they not act in the best interests of British Columbians?
Considering recent decisions to permit the largest ever salmon farming operations on the coast, reduce provincial royalties paid by the oil and gas industry by 90 per cent and support the proliferation of river diversion projects province wide, the logical answer to these questions is that "our" provincial government's recent mandate is to represent the best interests of lobbyists and corporate supporters.
Thankfully, the BCUC does not have similar obligations.
We will hear from proponents of private power that we need green solutions to combat climate change. Without enriching them with millions of dollars, the glaciers will soon be gone, etc. Putting all the rhetoric and BS aside, the reality is that our public power company, B.C. Hydro, does produce green energy. Has been doing so for a long time. All the overhead lines that run through various corridors in the province are from hydro dams. Electricity is generated using water and gravity. The Burrard Thermal Plant is for back-up insurance power only. Last year it produced 0.03 per cent of our electricity needs. This facility is a good one to have just in case we need it.
Beware of consultants who are on the payroll of private power producers, who want electricity costs to skyrocket, have B.C. Hydro go the same way as BC Rail, who claim to understand the issue deeply and reap profits using misinformation and fear.
Interested people can read the full report at www.bcuc.com and go to "July 27 decision."
BCUC decision applauded
Last week in your article surmising that a recent B.C. Utilities Commission report may have placed run-of-river projects in limbo, a local lobbyist for private power pronounced that, "everyone's appalled by this who understands the issue deeply."