BC Hydro Statement Shows a Power Surplus

Mike Carter, Chetwynd Echo Reporter
 
CHETWYND – BC Hydro released its Environmental Impact Study for the Site C dam Jan. 28.
 
The Crown Corporation will hold a public consultation Feb. 21 in Chetwynd at the Pomeroy Hotel from 4 pm – 8 pm.
 
The documents submitted show that the hydroelectric dam will flood 3,800 hectares of farmland and require a realignment of Highway 29.
 
The study also reveals that a total of about 100 “land holdings”, 30 of these households, will be affected by the project. Ten will be forced to evacuate the area, another 10 will have to relocate to adjacent positions on their properties and an additional 10 may not have to move at all. 
 
All of the residents forced to move would be compensated, BC Hydro says. 
 
The NDP is saying that the Site C dam is not needed in the near future.
 
On Monday, the provincial opposition party released a statement that says BC Hydro’s own documents show the company already has a massive surplus of power that will cost the province $296 million this year alone.
 
The bold news release that harkens the beginning of a campaign for this year’s provincial election in May also states that the Liberal government has made several missteps in managing its energy resources. “BC Hydro will lose nearly $300 million this year alone thanks to Liberal government policies that have resulted in high priced long-term contracts for power we didn’t need,” said New Democratic energy critic John Horgan. 
 
The Site C Environmental Impact Statement shows a power surplus of five, 200 GigaWatt hour (GWh) for 2013, and an expected surplus of 5500 GWh in 2015.
 
The company’s 2012 Annual Report lists long-term energy purchase obligations of 15,157 GWh at a cost of $1.4 billion for 2012 and 2013, amounting to $94 per Megawatt Hour (MWh). The company’s figures also forecast an average sale price for electricity of $37 per MWh. 
 
“The difference between the purchase price and sale price results in a $296 million loss this year,” an NDP news release stated. “The Liberals locked us into high-produced long-term contracts for independent power projects that require BC Hydro to buy the power whether we need it or not,” Horgan explained. “These documents show we are a very long way from needing [Site C].”
 
The opposition’s energy critic also charged that the insistence on signing expensive private power contracts prove the government’s “incompetence” when it comes to managing hydro. 
 
“The Liberals have allowed debt at BC Hydro to skyrocket, and are allowing a growing portion of today’s debt to be hidden in the books for future years,” Horagn said referring to the deferral accounts that the government has said it has used to keep rates stable. 
 
Generally speaking, in accounting, a deferral refers to a delay in recognizing certain revenues or expenses on a company’s income statement until a later date. In hydro management, this is done to stabilize rates for consumers in periods where significant expenses must be made for new projects, or in this case, contract commitments to buy power from sources external to the province. “It’s one thing to use deferral accounts in a responsible way to help keep rates stable,” Horgan said, “but it’s just poor management to allow those accounts to grow to $4.1 billion with no plan to pay it back.” Horgan added, “ Ratepayers and taxpayers will be on the hook for years to come because of disastrous energy policy under the Liberal government.”