Myths and Misinformation: Volume 2
Based on what we’ve seen over the past few years from the well-orchestrated campaign against B.C.’s independent green energy producers, it was inevitable that a new subgenre of myths and misinformation would arise in relation to the new BC Clean Energy Act.
One misinformed claim we’ve already encountered is the claim that the Clean Energy Act “eliminates” the BC Utilities Commission. Well, the BCUC has not been eliminated.
The Clean Energy Act certainly brings some needed change to the commission, but the commission is still there and it still regulates BC Hydro and handles complaints about BC Hydro’s service.
What the Clean Energy Act does do is make it clear that the government, not the utilities commission, sets the province’s energy objectives and policies.
As everyone will recall, the BC Utilities Commission chose to ignore the province’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts — not to mention the public’s demand for clean, renewable sources of electricity — when it suggested in last summer’s LTAP decision that BC Hydro could meet the province’s growing electricity needs simply by firing up the antiquated, gas-fired Burrard Thermal generating plant near Port Moody.
To say the least, it was a major faux pas on the part of the utilities commission and it signaled the need for some major retooling of that regulatory body.
Another misinformed claim we’ve been seeing a lot of lately is the claim that BC Hydro rates are going up because of independent green energy projects. Again, this is not true. Renewable electricity purchases don’t even register among the reasons given by BC Hydro for their rate increases.
BC Hydro rates are going up because BC Hydro is spending billions of dollars upgrading and renovating the province’s mega dams and energy generating and transmission infrastructure, most of which is now several decades old and due for major overhauls and expansion.
A prime example: BC Hydro is spending between $900 million to $1.3 billion just to add two new 500-megawatt turbines to the Mica Generating Station. And that’s just one project among many.
Our co-spokesperson David Field addressed both of these misinformed claims in a letter printed in the Nanaimo Daily News last Saturday. We’ve posted David’s letter below.
Threat of higher hydro bills is overstated
The Daily News
Published: Saturday, May 15, 2010
Re: ‘Clean Energy Act is an assault on democracy’ (Daily News, May 12)
Letter writer Bryan Stawychny of Radium is not correct when he states that the province’s new Clean Energy Act eliminates the role of the BC Utilities Commission.
The BC Utilities Commission continues to regulate BC Hydro rates and the safety, reliability and administration of the BC Hydro system. The commission also continues to handle complaints from BC Hydro customers regarding BC Hydro service.
The Clean Energy Act does, however, make it very clear that the BC Utilities Commission must take more than the cost of electricity into account in its deliberations. The commission must also consider the province’s other policy objectives such as greenhouse gas reduction.
As Mr. Stawychny and others will recall, the BC Utilities Commission suggested last summer that BC Hydro could meet B.C.’s growing electricity needs by simply firing up the antiquated, gas-fired Burrard Thermal generating plant near Port Moody; completely ignoring the province’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts and the public’s demand for clean, renewable sources of electricity.
Mr. Stawychny is also wrong when he states that “backroom hydro manipulations will cause your hydro-bill to skyrocket 33% in four years.”
BC Hydro rates are going up because BC Hydro is spending billions of dollars to update and renovate the province’s aging mega dams and electricity generating facilities, most of which were built in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
A prime example is the $900 million to $1.3 billion BC Hydro is about to spend to add two new 500-megawatt turbines to the Mica Generating Station, just one of many capital intensive BC Hydro projects currently underway or in the planning stages.
David Field, Co-spokesperson
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2010