BC Hydro + crony capitalism = you’re screwed

There’s a government press release on the front page of the Vancouver Sun.  Confusingly, it’s refuted by Vaughn Palmer’s column, over the page.

The press release, rewritten by Jonathan Fowlie for the Sun, claims Rich Coleman and Christy Clark are saving you and me from BC Hydro’s plan to raise rates yet again.

The Palmer column gives us the raw unvarnished truth:  Clark, Campbell and Coleman have gutted BC Hydro to aid their friends and balance their books.  You and I will pay the cost starting whenever this corrupt government is kicked out of office.

You see, yesterday by Cabinet order and with the Premier out of town and incommunicado, the government ordered the supposedly independent BC Utilities Commission to adopt the government rate plan and associated decisions.

The government’s decision effectively killed Utility Commission hearings due to start yesterday.


Because the government doesn’t want ordinary folks poking into the disaster that is BC Hydro under their reign.  More to the point they don’t want people to see how they’ve stripped assets and value that will at some point force electricity rates higher, much higher.

Just last week we heard how BC Liberal decisions to prioritize their friends and donors in the private power sector has cost BC Hydro and eventually ratepayers $180 million in just three months.  Using their brilliant financial acumen, the BC Liberals have devised a way for British Columbians to pay up to ten times the going rate for electricity by subsidizing private power operators while Hydro’s turbines sit idle.

They’ve made Bernie Madoff look like a piker.

Before that it was the use of deferral accounts to siphon off money while driving BC Hydro’s debt to unsustainable levels.

Billions have gone out the door to help balance the books and pay off friends for power that wasn’t required. That’s not even to mention the billion dollars they forced BC Hydro to spend installing smart meters.

Now BC Hydro is stuck with debts and infrastructure demands that will take at least a decade to clean up.

And they say they and only they know how to run a business?  Maybe if your model is Al Capone.


You’d think with the Fowlie story this was a new issue, but Bruce Ralston and John Horgan have been raising this disaster in the making for years.  You can start here and work backwards if you’re interested.

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11 Responses to BC Hydro + crony capitalism = you’re screwed

  1. e.a.f. says:

    Al Capone sold a product people wanted & he made money. If Al Capone was running B.C. right now, we’d be in a better position. They finally got him for tax evasion. Maybe we should start looking for undeclared income amongst some of those lieberals.

  2. kootcoot says:

    Many people like Peter Dimitrov, Rafe, the author of Liquid Gold and others have been addressing the absurdity of the Rape of the Rivers in a purely business sense as well as the environmental degradation for almost a decade, but with absolutely NO coverage in the handmaidens of the media relied on by most British Columbians who are as complicit in the crime spree that has been the LIEberal regime as the government itself and the string pullers behind the scenes.

  3. Robbie says:

    BC Hydro + Vanoc crew ” = $$ for Olympic debt.

  4. John Brennand says:

    Rape & pillage of BC Hydro now makes Liberal looting of ICBC look like petty theft.

  5. John's Aghast says:

    I just hope it isn’t the same magnitude as the theft of BCRail.
    Really, its not all that bad. The MSM has kept us in the dark about this mismanagement all these years so it will not be a stretch to keep living in the dark after I cancel my Hydro contract. I’ll be okay on candlelight and Fortis, nothing to see on TV. Things could be worse.
    I’ll bet the heavy users (Tech, for one,) will be pissed when they have to shoulder the whole load themselves.

  6. Norm Farrell says:

    Note Ian’s wording:
    “The press release, rewritten by Jonathan Fowlie for the Sun, claims…”

    We’ll be better off when a major newspaper stops rewriting government press releases. And that applies to whichever party is in power.

    Media should hold their feet to the fire, not join them as helpers.

  7. Hugh says:

    This is the article about how BC Hydro is not operating some of its own turbines, because it doesn’t need to. IPPs still getting paid, though:


  8. amazed says:

    Somebody call the anti-corruption squad! This is blatant theft…the taxpayer is being hosed big time. What do we have to do, to stop all this crap?
    Where is the taxpayers means of putting and end to and reversing this nonsense?
    A way has to found to prevent this crap from continuing, and prevent it from ever occurring again.

  9. Scotty on Denman says:

    Hey amazed: this is the central question, isn’t it? No amount of complacency at the certain electoral doom of the BC Liberals can remedy their theft and public breaches of trust right now, BC Hydro being just one of several targets for beggaring, bankruptcy and sale to insider friends for pennies on the dollar. What to do?

    As long as these criminals are in power they will continue to bilk the public purse. Shamelessly. Is the only solution to wait for them to lose the next election? Surely there must be something more we can do. We have to because these rotters can still do a lot of damage to the public weal in the 51 weeks left before the fixed-election date. And as many have noted, there is nothing stopping them from repealing the fixed-election date law and availing themselves of the constitutional limit of five, instead of four, years. We should assume the worst from these bastards; that’s what we’ve been getting, worse and worse. Can you imagine a hundred and three more weeks of this corruption? Yikes!

    So, the solutions are basically two: the BC Liberal government ends sooner than later. Either Christy calls an “early” election (there are a few scenarios) or her government loses a confidence vote, which would require several of her caucus to vote against or allow a confidence bill to fail through abstention, a difficult thing for the electorate to make happen. Don’t dismiss this possibility just yet.

    Maybe we can beseech the government bureaucracy to throw some wrenches into some of the more egregious executive orders. Seems a stretch…maybe if bureaucrats felt safe enough to do so, that is, right at the end of the “mandate” which, as noted, could be anywhere from next week to two years from now. I don’t really consider this to be viable right at this point.

    But let us recall what happened when Mike Harris’ government attempted to privatize public-owned Ontario Hydro. Concerned people went to a judge and obtained an injunction, which provoked closer inspection by the electorate, which fomented anger at the breach of trust and fiduciary duty, which contributed to Harris’ political demise, which caused his government to get thrashed at the polls and which, incidentally, caused one of Harris’ disciples, one Gordon Campbell, new Premier of BC to change course on his own plan to privatize BC’s public hydro producer (switching from whole-hog sell off to piecemeal beggaring, a strategy he also adopted for other public institutions like BC Ferries…he was also probably having recriminations about one of his first acts a Premier, the whole-hog and corrupt sale of BC Rail.) What the Ontario injunction against the sell off of their hydro provider did was to buy enough time to stall the sale until an election could be called. The results speak for themselves. Why then are we not doing the same thing here in BC?

  10. kenn says:

    good one Ian.
    It is hard to think of where to start in any planned reparation of our public power corp. I suppose putting planning back in the hands of an active forum at the BC Utilities Commission would be a start. There has not been a Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) filed by BCHydro at BCUC for some years. With the 2010 Clean Energy Act some $12B of planned projects are excluded from discussion. In their wisdom the liberals have ruled against BCUC participation. Now, the liberals have begun a publicity stunt by having BCHydro go consulting on their Integrated Resource Plan. This is a plan that will not benefit from discussion at BCUC but will go to those renowned unbiased energy experts in the liberal cabinet.
    I look forward to the day when the body governed by the Utilities Commission Act can again do its work on our public energy projects.

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