Bankrupting BC Hydro: the death nail for BC

The following is from a presentation by Damien Gillis in 2013 called “Bankrupting BC Hydro” regarding the hazardous level of debt forced onto BC Hydro:

“…Our  provincial debt has two parts.  The debt we see and the debt we don’t see.  Let’s call the debt we don’t see “secret debt” …this “secret debt” category represents taxpayer liabilities which are now up to $100 billion dollars.

…included in the “secret debt” is the debt for the  infrastructure  and other projects done under a private public partnership model.…These debts have been swept under the rug so to speak but it makes no difference; they still have to be paid back.

…What is contained in that “secret debt” is lease obligations to private operators such as the $55 billion owed to private river power operators [independent power producers IPP] and other private power projects [whose electricity] BC Hydro is being forced to buy at rates way above market value.

The reason BC Hydro is in debt is in part because it took on the smart meter program and infrastructure investment but…the biggest debt for BC Hydro comes from the private river projects

BC Hydro’s $20 billion dollar debt

We have gone from taking in $500 million to $1 billion in revenues (a good year) from BC Hydro and having the lowest energy costs in North America…to massive debt…

…BC Hydro’s debt is climbing upwards towards $20 billion.…The bad news is BC Hydro’s earnings are going down.…This is the road to bankruptcy. Why is this happening? This is not happening by accident.

…You have heard about the Northwest Transmission Line which cost ($716 million) and went over budget by approximately $312 million. Plus the $55 billion of private power contracts for the run of the river projects.

…BC Hydro now has a $1 billion dollar a year operating deficit.

Over estimation of electricity needs

The last two CEO’s who raised issues about over estimation of our power needs were fired. The first was Bob Elton in 2009 and then Dave Cobb in 2011. Both were run out when they challenged the [fake] numbers…

Anyone who goes against the BC government’s privatization agenda is sacked.

Now the problems are arriving fast. The BC government is going to have to raise power rates in order to deal with the debt.…[It is] estimated rates would need to go up right now by 35 to 40%  just to break even.

Eventually BC Hydro will have to be sold off to the very same private sector people that bankrupted it in the first place. This is how it has happened around the world in such countries as Indonesia, South America, Africa…we are next…

LNG and Site C Hydro Dam

Now we are being told that LNG is going to save us. But the problem is that LNG requires enormous amounts of power. Where is that going to come from? From the sold off BC Hydro? What about the residential customers?

Wait, now there is Site C Hydro Dam to pay for…taxpayers will have to pay more than $10 billion for Site C on the Peace River to power the LNG industry. …20,000 acres of farmland and other lands are to be flooded.…All of this cheap power for industry.…Then BC Hydro will be privatized.”

Don’t forget BC Hydro is a big union employer which provides liveable wages to many BC residents in small towns province-wide.

Heat or Eat

You are starting to see the effects of BC Hydro’s debt;  your energy bills are going up and ultimately you will see the effects on the future stability of BC.

There was an article in the Cowichan Citizen this past Christmas of people desperate for help with their BC Hydro bills. A Duncan minister sounded the alarm after an influx of people came to his church seeking relief due to the seemingly ever-increasing BC Hydro rates.