The Site C Dam location along the Peace River in Fort St. John in April 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

BC Hydro forced to misspend billions on private energy contracts, report says

Previous government pressured it to buy too much of the wrong energy at inflated prices, report says

The province’s previous government forced BC Hydro to sign long-term contracts with independent power producers, causing it to buy too much energy for too high a price, in a move that will cost taxpayers billions, a new report says.

The report, written by former B.C. Treasury Board director Ken Davidson, says the Christy Clark government fabricated an urgent need for electricity, but would not allow the utility to produce it, and forcing it to buy the wrong type of power from private producers at much higher prices.

READ MORE: BC Hydro’s $5.5 billion in deferred debt puts pressure on rates

“Government directed BC Hydro to purchase 8,500 GWh/year of Firm energy BC Hydro did not need,” the report says, costing a “conservative” estimate of about $16 billion over 20 years, or $200 a year for the average residential customer.

Davidson makes a number of recommendations, including restoring the oversight of the BC Utilities Commission and ensuring all power is purchased and priced at market rates.

He had been tasked to independently review what influenced BC Hydro’s purchases of electricity from private power producers, and how those purchases affected hydro rates.

His report is separate from the two-phase review into controlling costs at BC Hydro – the results of which are to be released on Thursday. The NDP launched the review last June following its decision to proceed with the controversial $10-billion Site C megadam in the Peace region.

READ MORE: Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

“British Columbians are paying more on their hydro bills because of the previous government’s choices,” said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall in a release Wednesday evening.

“Professional staff within government and BC Hydro warned them against that course of action, but that government refused to listen.”

Read the full report here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Nuxalk Nation receives over $4 million in funding for Big House

The funding is joint federal, provincial and municipal and will support 24 infrastructure projects

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Most Read