Like Jacqui Gingras, I am not surprised that the BC Liberals intend to raise BC Hydro rates by 28 per cent over the next five years (letter ‘Hike at hydro not surprising,’ Dec. 25, 2013). However, I disagree that these increases are “required.” In fact, the increases are, to a large degree, due to the Liberals’ mismanagement of BC Hydro.
During the past decade, the Liberal government has forced BC Hydro to sign expensive long-term contracts with about 75 independent power producers (IPPs). These contracts commit hydro to purchase power from the IPPs as a priority.
As a result, hydro is often forced to put our publicly-owned generating stations on standby, while paying these IPPs rates that are sometimes twice the cost of other available electricity.
The BC Liberals’ plan is to replace B.C.’s publicly-owned energy system with a deregulated private-sector model that will enrich private power developers and undermine B.C.’s ability to control future energy development.
In his book, Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia, Professor John Calvert argues that these new policies will result in the destruction of BC Hydro, the province’s most valuable Crown corporation.
This book is a wake-up call to B.C. citizens.