Site C quarterly public update shows project costs to date already more than expected as Hydro pushes work ahead unchecked
The irony of BC Hydro providing updates on Site C to the BC Utilities Commission after a steadfast refusal by government to allow it to review the project, is clear to all who have followed here in recent months. A classic example of how the current government has effectively hog-tied the Hydro regulator,leaving Hydro ratepayers hanging.
I’ve waited a week since this story broke on DeSmog,to see if it would get picked up anywhere else and to date I’ve seen nothing – if I’ve missed something though,please let me know or post it below.
“In only its earliest phases of construction, the Site C dam project has already spent more money than projected and missed key benchmarks, threatening to undermine Premier Christy Clark’s commitment to taxpayers to keep the project on budget and on time.
BC Hydro documents filed June 10 with the province’s independent public utility watchdog, the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), show that that Site C expenditures totalled $314 million more at the end of March than was originally budgeted for that date.
The same documents, reviewed by DeSmog, also flag the potential for cost overruns if interest rates climb, taxes increase or the Canadian dollar continues to depreciate over the projected eight remaining years the dam is under construction.
More than $1.4 billion of Site C’s $8.8 billion price tag consists of interest payments, and twenty percent of its capital costs are based on foreign currency.
“The project is monitoring and evaluating some specific cost pressures and is conducting detailed budget reviews to identify opportunities for savings,” BC Hydro said in its quarterly progress report to the utilities commission, noting that Site C’s overall cost forecast remains “on track.”
Despite Hydro’s assertion that the project’s total price tag will not increase, the Crown corporation’s latest report is an early indication that the Site C dam may be headed the way of major hydroelectric projects worldwide, which have posted average cost overruns of 56 percent.”
Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen said the higher than projected expenditures by March are not at all surprising, especially given that Site C is proceeding “without due diligence.” In 2010, the provincial government changed the law to exempt the BCUC from decision-making authority to determine if the project was in the best interests of British Columbians.
“We can expect nothing but escalating increases in the future if Site C is to go ahead,” Eliesen said in an interview with DeSmog. “This is scheduled to become a big white elephant.”
Eliesen predicts that Site C’s final price tag will be $11 to $12 billion. He points to last week’s announcement that the cost of Labrador’s Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam has ballooned to $11.4 billion, from $7.4 billion in 2012, as an indication of what will happen with Site C.”
You can of course, read my all about that mess and the dire warning that project should have been for the BC government and taxpayers, here: https://lailayuile.com/2016/06/24/shocking-admission-from-nalcor-energy-ceo-serves-as-chilling-warning-to-bc-government-that-exempted-site-c-project-from-independent-review-of-bcuc/
One thing I found very interesting is the section on Material Risks ( page 27 of the above report) which talks about the 4 challenges against the project that still remain unresolved.
One of those challenges goes before a federal court September 14th in Montreal,and critics and observers alike are contemplating the impact the recent Enbridge court ruling could play here.
Blueberry First Nation recently issued a report showing just how great the cumulative impact of all disturbances on their traditional territory has been and this may be consideration in those legal proceedings.
Either way, the lack of financial due diligence and lack of consideration of the cumulative impact on local First Nations, could still halt this project in its tracks – and BC Hydro knows it.
Meanwhile, the good people of the Peace are coming together this weekend for the 11th Annual Paddle for the Peace, an amazing event uniting First Nations, farmers, ranchers, families and activists alike. Speakers include:
- Chief Roland Willson, WMFN
- PVEA – Ken Forest
- Chief Lynette Tsakoza (unconfirmed)
- PVLA – unconfirmed
- Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Joan Phillip
- Lana Popham, BC NDP
- Y2Y – Candace Batycki
- Sierra Club BC – Ana Simeon
- Wilderness Committee – Joe Foy
- Amnesty International – Craig Benjamin
- Professors – Karen Bakker & Rita Wong
- George Heyman, BC NDP
- George Desjarlais – prayer song
- Green Party leader Elizabeth May
All those fighting to save the Peace are welcome.