British Columbians will pay the price for deferred Hydro capital investment: BC Liberals

Greg Kyllo

OPPOSITION BC Hydro Critic Greg Kylloon Thursday expressed concern about what he said were “some of the actions the NDP government plans to take in a misguided bid to keep Hydro rates affordable.”

“B.C. currently has the fifth lowest rates in North America, thanks to investments made by our former government, but our system is aging and our population is growing,” said Kyllo. “That means we need to invest more than $2 billion per year in new and upgraded infrastructure.

“But the NDP is now delaying $2.7 billion in investments and upgrades, including the Revelstoke Unit 6 Dam improvement, which would have generated 436 person-years’ worth of total employment. Deferring capital investment means British Columbians will pay the price in the future.”

Kyllo said perhaps the most concerning aspect of Thursday’s announcement is the prediction of a reduced need for power, particularly by industrial users, as the justification for delaying these types of upgrades. This could signal a negative economic outlook.

He also noted Energy Minister Michelle Mungall has publicly stated that energy needs to be purchased at market rates of $25 per megawatt hour. “The cost of IPP energy is approximately $100 per megawatt hour because clean energy is simply more expensive,” said Kyllo. “That makes the Environment Minister’s Clean Energy Plan impossible to achieve. It’s clear Minister Mungall did not consult her cabinet colleague before making these contradictory remarks.”

Meanwhile, he noted the clean power industry has attracted more than $8.6 billion in investment and established valuable partnerships with local communities and First Nations. Kyllo called on the minister to reveal what the path forward will be for First Nations.

He also asked her to reveal the tender process for a companion report on IPPs, given that the report’s author worked for the NDP government in the 1990s.