LETTERS: A look at many heads of Hydro
If you feel your hydro costs are going up, you’re right!
When premier W.A.C. Bennett took over the BC Electric Railway Company in 1961 creating BC Hydro, our Crown jewel, he did so because the private sector was unwilling to develop the generation capacity to power our economy.
BC Hydro has been a critical development lever, historically producing some of the continent’s lowest-cost electricity both for our homes and businesses.
Under the BC Liberal governments of Gordon Campbell and now Christy Clark, those days are gone.
Our already-high hydro rates are set to rise a further 28 per cent over the next five years – that’s three times the 1.9 per cent current annual B.C. rate of inflation! Why?
Campbell forced BC Hydro to purchase privately produced power at higher rates than it can be resold. Clark is milking Hydro, forcing it to pay hundreds of millions in dividends into general revenue, much of it borrowed money, concealed by the rampant overuse of deferral accounts – an accounting sleight-of-hand – which now tally almost $6 billion.
While hydro rates are going up, they are not going up evenly. Large corporations are getting a much better deal than smaller customers, who, generally speaking, are not big BC Liberal campaign contributors.
Homeowners and small businesses are effectively subsidizing the favourable power rates granted to the corporate sector to keep large campaign contributions flowing into re-election coffers.
It’s a shell game with a purpose, having less to do with generating electrical power and more to do with generating political power.
A major change of direction at BC Hydro is needed to restore the jewel in the crown for B.C.’s future.
Jef Keighley, Surrey