Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Premier Christy Clark's BC Hydro Hijinks Will Cost You

You're Going to Get Zapped by BC Hydro
Ex-Premier Gordon Campbell - April 2010 at Site C announcement - BC Hydro is dam trouble for BC Liberals - and especially Premier Christy Clark
Why you shouldn't believe Premier Christy Clark's claims her government just spared you from big Hydro rate hikes.

Bill Tieleman's 24 Hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday May 29, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

"Restore an independent Utilities Commission to re-regulate BC Hydro's electricity rates."

-BC Liberal Party 2001 election platform. 

Some political promises are hard to keep, others are violated or shamelessly denied. Then there are BC Hydro promises.

Last week Premier Christy Clark proved she is no different than former premier Gordon Campbell when it comes to not just breaking a promise, but blowing it to smithereens.

Clark's decision to dictate marching orders to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is supposed to be an independent authority regulating BC Hydro electricity rates, was outrageous enough.

But Clark and Energy Minister Rich Coleman went much further than that, wrongly claiming they were actually keeping a promise to dramatically cut BC Hydro rate hikes and save consumers money.
Fat chance.

Power trip

What they are really doing is foisting a scheme on British Columbians that will have you paying grossly inflated BC Hydro bills for decades -- but only after the 2013 election.

Unlike most shell games though, you can see right through this one, if you look hard enough.

Clark and Coleman would have you believe that they've stopped the evil power barons of BC Hydro from raising your electricity rates by 50 per cent, with the Utilities Commission rubber-stamping their nefarious plot.

"When times are tough, a 50 per cent rate increase is pretty tough to take," Clark said. "I think British Columbians don't want to see those huge rate increases, they want to know we are working hard to try and reduce total costs for everybody."
"The Utilities Commission had a different view of this, they would have had rates go up by 50 per cent," Clark claimed before the Commission could even call one witness, let alone make a ruling.

"I told British Columbians I was going to wrestle that rate increase down. I'm keeping my promise!" Clark boasted.

Thank goodness Christy and Rich came to our rescue! Now we can all turn the lights on again without going broke.

It's a real feel-good story -- except for the facts.

Financial facts

First, Clark and Coleman still imposed a 17 per cent BC Hydro rate increase over three years -- money out of your pocket.
Second, there was no "50 per cent" rate hike on the table. BC Hydro's original 32 per cent request had already been cut to 17 per cent last year.

Was Clark being deliberately devious by repeating the wrong number six times in her scrum with media?

Third, Clark and Coleman arbitrarily cancelled public hearings by the Commission that would have laid out why BC Hydro needed a big rate increase.

Those hearings would have included full cross examination of officials under oath about BC Hydro's finances -- and that's why the government quickly shut them down.

Because the Commission would have asked about the horrendously high cost of the government forcing BC Hydro to buy expensive "green" electricity from independent power producers at rates up to 10 times higher than either from BC Hydro's own hydroelectric dams or the spot energy market.
BC Hydro's long term obligation to buy the private IPP's power is more than $30 billion over 25 years.

But the BC Liberal Party's cost to benefit their financial supporters? Priceless.

Deferral of costs

Fourth, the Commission and public interest intervenors would doubtless want to know about BC Hydro's stunning deferral of $4.5 billion in expenses by 2017 that ratepayers will eventually have to pay for.

Those deferrals come at the same time government siphons money off BC Hydro revenues to balance its own budget.

Fifth, the Commission would have looked at the $1-billion smart meter boondoggle, previously having been stopped from reviewing it before the dubious devices were imposed on unhappy consumers by another BC Liberal direct order.

While smart meters are highly controversial for health reasons due to their emitting wireless radiation, what is unquestionable is that they produce extremely healthy profits for the corporations building and installing them.

Sixth, Clark and Coleman conveniently forgot to mention that their government appoints the BC Hydro board of directors and the members of the B.C. Utilities Commission -- they're ultimately in charge of both.

So to sum up, Christy Clark cancels public hearings into BC Hydro's multi-billion dollar debts, but still imposes big rate increases while declaring herself a hero for "saving" us from even higher -- but imaginary -- hikes at the hands of two organizations she actually controls.
That's damn good politics -- if no one catches on.



Christopher said...

Sad state of affairs in BC . Desperation of the cowardly corrupted government BCers never voted in . I just hope that at least some of the massive damage of these bozo's can be undone . The legacy of Campbell era will last sadly for decades . Cheers keep up the excellent work ,

Anonymous said...

It's the oldest trick in the book (dirty trick?). Bring up a whopping increase, then cut it down to make it look like you are our savior. Christy, that trick is old and the electorate will see right through it next year. I can say that honesty is a better approach, but after all, we are talking about Lieberals.

e.a.f. said...

Just the usual workings of the lieberals. Campbell & his lieberals simply made hay for their friends at the expense of voters & the enviornment.

They have made in very difficult for any other governments to be able to manage the debit B.C. is in.

I hope that once the lieberals are gone there will be an inquiry into the hyrdo business practices & the involvement of lieberal politicians. If any of the agreements can be proven to be illegal there would be away for a new government to get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

Not bad, and mostly right, a bit excessive on the smart meters emitting radition, but here's the kicker:

You wrote:

"Sixth, Clark and Coleman conveniently forgot to mention that their government appoints the BC Hydro board of directors and the members of the B.C. Utilities Commission -- they're ultimately in charge of both."

So Bill, from whom exactly and where exactly did the appointees to BC Hydro between 1992, and 1999
come from? From whom did Mr. John Laxton receive his appointment to the BC Hydro Board? Moe Sihota?

Does this mean that the NDP will absolutely postivity with no and I mean no exceptions not appoint their own to the BC Hydro Board, and such appointments will only be on the basis of occupational merit (electrical utility industry management) only?

Anonymous said...

Why, yes it will. Thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

We knew from day one...Campbell's theft and sale of our rivers is only one, of Campbell's dirty tactics/dirty politics.

We see through Christy and Boessenkoll. Christy's hydro scam didn't fool anyone. Christy's family's first, is laughable. So is, the HST would permit the savings of big business, to trickle down the the BC citizens.

I can't think of even one time, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals haven't lied.

Christy's hydro scam, is laughable. The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals have lied so much...they never remember the first lie they told.

DPL said...

Yes, the Hydro scam didn't fool a lot of us, but they had enough support to sign away a bunch of stuff and it will take years to sort out the mess. all the time ex King Gordo is sipping tea( or something) supposedly working for us, but actually doing Harper's wishes. My gosh, BC sure picks some real crooks for politicians. Hopefully we are catching on and won't repeat the same mistakes again.

Anonymous said...

"Why, yes it will. Thanks for playing."

So we gather from this response that some Anonymous left winger believes the Premier Dix NDP will absolutely not appoint to the BC Hydro Board anyone who is connected to the NDP, absolutely none, and that such appointments will be given to those who have an occupational background in electric utility distribution and are not connected to the NDP either current or past?

Good grief is this Anonymous that dense? That the NDP would not appoint political supporters or those who have given to the NDP to BC Hydro?

If people believe that then I have an analog hydro meter I can sell you that looks like a smart meter.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Christy...please give Sir Richard a call. Perhaps you could move in with him back in the UK. A place where former crooked Liberals like to hang out. You will have lots of time on your hands next summer after all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Bill, you are doing a good job denouncing the BC Hydro barons and most British Columbians agree that something is very wrong with this administration. COPE 378 represents more of the BC Hydro workers. I haven't a consistent stand from those guys. What is going on? Are they in the same boat that the big guys? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, ace.

So I gather from referencing Northern Norman that you as I do oppose such self interest activity, and therefore you are as I am steadfastedly against a Premier Dix Government appointing to BC Hydro anyone who has been a member supporter in any capacity or has in any amount of money donated to the NDP for the past 12 years?

Good. Well Bill, that's two. There are far more people out there that are steadfastedly against political appointments to BC Hydro.

The days of appointing the likes of Marc Elisen and John Laxton and Moe Sihota has to end and NOW!

Get your friends in the NDP to ensure that nonsense does not happen. Period. End.

Anonymous said...

Politics aside; the rate hikes will be terrifying... I guess the time has come to go off the grid in any way necessary. I project that within the next 15 years we we see heat pumps and baseboard heaters sitting idle as apartment dwellers warm themselves by the cozy glow of homemade rocket stoves...