This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Hydro hasn’t made a convincing case for pushing costly dam onto taxpayers

Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program was Laila with 71%.

This week’s topic:

Considering the results of the Joint Review Panel report on BC Hydro’s Site C dam, should government approve the project?

A police officer I know once told me that if two people saw the same crime in progress from beginning to end, he would still likely get two different stories from the witness statements.

Likewise, instead of the “clear path to a green light” for the Site C dam that Brent believes the Joint Review Panel report provides, after reading it in full, I see nothing but a giant red light.

There are several great concerns noted in the 471-page report, but one of several key points that should throw up red flags for all British Columbians is this: “The panel concludes that the proponent has not fully demonstrated the need for the project on the timetable set forth.”

The proponent is BC Hydro, a Crown corporation that seems to be used to further the BC Liberals’ political agenda more than it is used to provide affordable energy for British Columbians. The Site C proposal is a perfect example of this.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Over the years, the public has been presented with a changing list of justifications for the Site C proposal. From powering homes in British Columbia, to being essential to power LNG development in the province — a Premier Christy Clark favourite — to exporting power to drought-stricken California, the reasons seem to keep changing.

The questions keep mounting as to why the BC Liberals and BC Hydro are pushing this proposal so hard on a public already burdened by rising hydro costs….

READ the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote at :

*** You can read the entire study I have referenced in this column here, in PDF format : dam cost overruns

11 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Hydro hasn’t made a convincing case for pushing costly dam onto taxpayers

  1. BC Hydro has had a yearly story to tell ever since the early 80s. In the late 80s an independent BCUC said there was no convincing presentation of need then. Now, for obvious reasons, the BCUC has been deliberately excluded from considering need this time around. Governments, particularly our present provincial one, love to “super size” everything that can be turned into a new borrowing and spending project. It is just never about serving the public interest and all about serving narrow private interests. That is why Premier Campbell was made “poster Chairman” of the Canadian P3 industry association in 09.
    BC Hydro reported sales to “others” in fiscal 2013 of 7,417 GWhrs. BCH included this number in presenting total “domestic” sales ( BC customers only) of a bit over 57,000 GWhrs. The BCH Auditors indicated that “others” were customers outside of BC with long-term purchase contracts.
    Site C was expected to produce 3,600 GWhrs by the calculations made by BCH engineers in 2089. Since then the productivity of the same dam on the same water course has grown to about 4,200 GWhrs annually for reasons not given. No matter which number you pick it is way below the sales to “others” that appear to be surplus electricity to current BC only (domestic) needs.
    Need versus want. BC is part of the integrated electricity grid and market of North America under the supervision of NERC. This arrangement is to give all parts of the continent access to surpluses that might arise elsewhere and to need when surpluses exist. Think of it as an insurance concept . Contrary to this logical model our government struck out in 06 to contract for sufficient electricity supply locally (in BC) to ensure enough for every imaginable contingency. An analogy would be an unprincipled insurance broker more interested in his or her commission than the needs and affordability of the customer. Because of that BCH is now effectively bankrupt with disclosed liabilities of over $20 billion; undisclosed liabilities (IPP Contracts) of over $50 billion and accounts receivable from all BCH customers of another $5 billion ( Regulatory Assets Accounts).If the Minister was forthcoming he would have all electricity rates 35% higher right now, before Site C borrowing and financing.
    As matters stand with Site C and BCH there is no effective independent accountability and that best serves those gambling addicts that use other peoples’ money.


  2. Means/ motive/ opportunity/ lobbyist(S)?
    When The Real Cost is Hidden, Making Good Decisions Is Impossible.?
    What is quickest way to bankrupt a region like BC=unwarrented infrastructure.?


  3. Don’t want site C, Don’t need site C. Site C is simply another distraction from the real issue. Where is this province really going and how is it getting there. Building another dam will simply flood thousands of acres of land, disrupt families, farms and wildlife. When B.C. started building dams it caused untold misery to some of the people in B.C. They still haven’t addressed those issues.

    We don’t need site C. Some may think LNG needs it but if they are such free enterprisers, why should my tax dollars help build a dam for private corporations, which aren’t from B.C, don’t pay a hell of a lot of taxes in B.C. We have a provincial government which might want to build site C, but is so broke they claw back money from children whose parents are in receipt of disability pensions. If the lieberals need $17 Million a year from children, who live at 50% of the poverty level, they don’t have enough money to build anything.

    Building Site C isn’t going to provide any jobs. The contract to build the dam will go to an outside firm, most likely with ties to the B.C. lieberals and proceed to hire temporary foreign workers, just like when they built sky train.

    The current debt load of the provincial government, all in, is about $60 Billion. Why build an edifice which will only cost more money. Forget about selling water and power down stream. They might start using sea water and other energy forms. What will we be left with? A very large debt, flooded farm land, and destroyed lives.


  4. They can’t build site c –
    they will need all that fresh BC water to pump back into the earth for LNG cracking/fracking.
    Oh that’s it, they need the juice to freeze cng to LNG and pump it to the coast.and then pump water into fracking after 120 sq of land gets flooded and people displaced.


  5. BC Hydro can’t very well up front tell everyone it’s trying to intentionally bankrupt itself, but if it wanted to be completely honest, that’s what it’d do. At some point covering up the sabotage becomes ridiculously obvious, all very smirking, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know what I mean? know what I mean?…

    We passed that point back when the “Ruin of Rivers” parasitism scam was hatched. Nothing can make accounting sense after that.


  6. BD Hydro is just like the BC Liberal government in that they cannot be trusted. Very little of what they say is truthful or factual – mostly BS to get what they want.
    In BCH case, they are doing exactly what the BC Liberal government want them to do.
    It is painfully obvious they are using the same method of running down an industry to privatize it as Campbell did with BC Rail. BC Hydro is doing the BC governments bidding as I see it.
    If LNG is such a good deal, then let the LNG companies build their own power stations using gas turbine powered electrical generators, on site. That way there will be no costly infrastructure and expensive power lines and right of ways.

    I am afraid there is nothing positive I can say about the w h ole scheme – it is nothing more than a sham. No doubt, if they go ahead with the project then either Kiewit Bros. or Lavalin will get the contract and BC will end up paying three times the actual cost.

    I worry about the future of BC for the children of today. They will be indebted because the gross incompetence of the BC Liberal government and everything it stands for.



  7. We don’t need Site C. When Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors, it set a goal of producing 80% of their electricity from “renewables” by 2050. In the first quarter of 2014, Germany supplied almost 27% of all their electricity from “renewables”. On Sunday, 14 May 14 they broke a renewable energy record at noon by reaching almost a 75% renewable power market share on that day..

    Iran’s electricity grid current is about 70K M.W. of capacity and demand grows at about 5,000 M.W. per yr. The Iranian Energy Minister, Hamid Chitchian, has announced it is Iran’s goal to add 5,000 M.W. of solar and wind energy capacity by 2018. It is interesting to note the Iranian Embassy, in Germany, hosted a gather of renewable energy experts. They obviously are getting with the “renewable” agenda. The Iranian government is “encouraging” this by offering a 15 cent per kWh in subsidy for electricity from renewable resources and covers up to 50% of the installation costs for Residential solar PV systems.

    So what has B.C. done, installed “not so smart meters, at a cost of almost a Billion and is increasing electricity rates by 28% over the next few year. Russia and China have just signed an energy “pact” which isn’t going to benefit North America. Once China has everything up and running, they won’t need our “resources” and will simply dump the contracts, just as the Japanese did back in the 1970s, with coal.

    Where Christy thinks she is going to get the money to build Site C is beyond me, unless of course, she sold B.C. to China. Oh, right Harper beat her to the punch on that.

    If anyone thinks there aren’t victims when a government floods land when they build dams, they might want to go looking for the old black and white documentary which was made after they built the original dams in B.C. It makes you weep.


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