B.C. Firms Question Business Case, Fear Higher Costs for Site C Hydro
Just as British Columbia sorts out whether its next government will abruptly shift policy on the controversial Site C hydroelectric project, the province’s business community is beginning to fret that BC Hydro has drastically overestimated the electricity consumers will need and the revenue that power will generate over the next 50 years.
“The end result, according to David Craig, executive director of the Commercial Energy Consumers Association of B.C., could be cumulative new hydro rate increases so significant that some industries in B.C. may no longer be able to compete as well in their world markets, potentially risking the viability of some businesses and the jobs they support,” DeSmog Canada reports.
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“We just want to get the truth,” said Craig, a former head of the provincial utility’s accounting and internal audit group. “Hydro’s been buying too much energy at very expensive prices. It’s in the interests of all commercial customers in B.C. and all ratepayers to find out what the facts are.”
With that in mind, he told DeSmog, his association is challenging BC Hydro’s load forecasts before the B.C. Utilities Commission, the regulatory body that approves electricity rate increases.
On the campaign trail, Premier Christy Clark hauled out a very old scare tactic in the fight over utility demand projections, claiming that cancelling Site C would “literally put British Columbia families and business in the dark.” Economist Marvin Shaffer of Simon Fraser University countered that “if Site C didn’t go ahead, there are other sources of supply,” adding that there “never was a business case for the government’s rush to build the Site C project.”