BC Hydro’s latest “electricity sale” announcement has become the last straw. Hydro has come full circle. It has arrived at the place it began, and apparently doesn’t quite recognize it : California.
On January 23, 2014, Hydro officials told the Joint Panel Review for Site C here in Fort St John that it needs to sell its electricity to their brothers in California. It seems that Hydro has no memory, virtual or otherwise, of its recent past experiences with its California brethren. California is presently going through a severe drought, which will possibly remove 2500 MW of power from its grid system this year. BC Hydro sees a window of opportunity.
Recall how BC Hydro (and ENRON Corp) sold huge volumes of electricity to Californians at super inflated prices? BC Hydro is more than willing to jump in to assist Californians again. (Never mind that Site C won’t even be operable for another 10 years!)
Hydro’s short-term memory must also be replete considering that just four short months ago, Energy Minister Bill Bennett relinquished the BC position in a long-standing court battle with California. This stems from our sale of electricity to California from 1999-2000. BC has now agreed to pay California a penalty of three quarters of a billion “taxpayer” dollars. So we now have completed the circle of life; in the words of the Lion King, the “need” for Site C evolved over time through the eyes of government and Hydro:
1990’s Site C – electricity for California!
2006 Site C – Horn River Shale gas play
2007 Site C – bitumen production/Alberta
2009 Site C – self sufficiency/425,000 homes
May 2011 Site C – LNG compression/transmission
2011 Site C – self-sufficiency/452,000 homes
Dec/2013 – MLA Pimm states Site C is for “industry”
Dec/2013 – Premier Clark states Site C for LNG
January 23/14 Site C – electricity for California!
Full circle. Of course, back in the early 2000s when the dollar signs were flashing in front of the corporation, it began selling electricity to Californians (our brothers) for as much as $1500/MWh. All good Ponzi schemes must come to an end. The bottom fell out of the electricity market and BC Hydro was accused of collusion. BC Hydro accepted the blame (under Minister Bill Bennett’s watch) and the rest is history. We now pay the piper (California) $750,000,000!
So here we are once again, with BC Hydro scheming on how it will make a fast buck on the backs of the ever-forgiving BC ratepayers. Will things be any different this time around? Will history again repeat itself or will April 1, 2014 be the first of many, many electricity rate increases that finally trigger a public reaction? Time will soon tell.
Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.
– Mike Kroecher
– Rick Koechl
– Charlie Lake