Thursday, 3 March 2016

Up Goes Your Hydro Bill ...Again!

BC Hydro - CEO Jessica McDonald applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission to hike the rate for the next fiscal year to the tune of a four per cent increase, April 1st. Why? Because they say they need more time to update their forecasts in light of recent events in the mining and LNG sectors.

 No April fools joke here.
B.C. Utilities Commission "that would mean an extra four dollars a month for the average residential customer."

BC Hydro`s plan is to make a three-year rate application using ``government mandated rate caps`` of four per cent this year, 3.5 per cent next year and three per cent in the following year.

Why? Because BC Hydro says "it expects to continue to see an overall increase in demand for the next couple of decades."

Or, perhaps it is BCH who needs cash now to pay those banker loans, particularly the loan of 300 million dollars plus they had to borrow recently to give to the BC Liberals to balance their books?

To seek out the greater truth within BC Hydro s media statement, it seems my request for an interview has gone unanswered. It sorta makes sense with the cat and mouse tactics Ted Olynyk, BC Hydro Communications Officer for Vancouver Island has played since our last conversation at a local Star Bucks.

The one and only question I had for Ted was to show us how it is so that they (BCH) expect to continually see an overall increase in demand for the next couple of decades? Being that BC Hydro is only supposed to build capacity to serve BC only customers.

In asking economist Erik Anderson this same question, Anderson`s response was "I find it hard to answer without swearing." "That since 2005 there has not been an increase in the recorded sales to "Domestic", BC only customers." "In fact, a recent peak in BCH sales amounted to 300 GWhrs, more than the average across the last 10 years."

Anderson went on to say, "In those 10 years, sales to large industrial customers has been decreasing because commodity prices have collapsed." "This reality has recently been highlighted by a Minister Bennett decision to give mining companies, who are facing insolvency if not already in it, a payment holiday, or deferment for their operating electricity bills."

"If you recall in 2013 BC Hydro gave California 5,300 GWhrs" Anderson says "or about 10% of the total BC Domestic annual consumption." "That means that somewhere in their generation assets and private power contracts they had this amount that was surplus to our Domestic needs."

I too recall that Enron shell game back-firing, it was later ordered by US courts, leaving BC Hydro Rate Payers on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in fines.

Anderson continues, "That tells us that BC Hydro has control of generation capacity of about 140% of the amount they expect to get from building Site C."

Its starting to make sense that for about the last 15 years BC Hydro has regularly built domestic demand "forecasts" that called for electricity sales to be 70,000 GWhrs per year.

Which is an amount in excess of 40% greater than is being actually recorded.

"These so called forecasts have in essence been un-true, as seen by several over the past 10 years." Anderson explains, "They should be dubbed, worse than fiction." "The demand forecasts by BC Hydro were only ever meant to serve the end purpose of more construction in BC."

So even with a zero change in provincial demand for more than 10 years BC Hydro official debt has increased by 160% or more like 400% if you include the IPP contracts that are in effect, but not counted as official debt.

With these financial obligations now assumed to all BC Citizens it seems clear to be asking the question to BC Hydro Board Members, and BC Provincial Gov Leaders - Does Site C Dam have a greater purpose, being that its`cost is now approaching 9 Billion dollars?

With LNG export in the toilet, BC Liberals using the courts to bully protesters off Site C land, (who in fact represent most to all BC rate payers,) along with an even greater court battle with First Nations ahead, And this week a National Carbon Tax push by PM Justin Trudeau, Christy Clarke's most recent attempt is to sell Site C electricity to Alberta, all for the purpose of assisting our neighbour province in getting off their dirty electrical production.

As for your hydro bill increase April 1st ...

It really is no joke as Economist, Erik Anderson points out "A 4% increase is a politically determined amount." "BC Hydro is really in need of far more revenue right at this very time as its volume of sales to customers is slipping."

"Several hundred million owing from the mining industry is one of the best pieces of validating evidence."

With the Liberal Cabinet desperate to have folks working at jobs prior to the 2017 election, which explains why the subsidy by BC Hydro, and indirectly, to all BC Hydro customers who will eventually have to pay this bill through higher rates.

Had prompt me to ask ...what might be a more accurate increase to debt ratio for which BC Hydro has occurred to date?

Anderson closes by saying, "If BC Hydro were to set rates to just break even, we would now be paying at least 30% more." " Add in Site C and the paying down of $6 billion of unpaid amounts yet to be collected, sitting in the "Regulatory assets accounts," and you could add another 25% on top of the 30%."

Is it just me, or does it feel like you too have been duped, particularly as it is all unfolding on April Fools Days? It seems this is one hard red pill to swallow.

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