How BC Hydro Wastes $560 Million Each Year

Until 2010 BC Hydro included Burrard Thermal in their list of available resources at a annual rated capacity of 6,000 gigawatt hours per year.  In actual fact, Burrard Thermal seldom produced electricity since it was almost always less expensive to buy the needed power from the market, either at Mid-C or other North American market hubs.

With the implementation of the Clean Energy Act in 2010 BC Hydro was prohibited from supplying their customers from the market.  Further,  under the terms of the act, 93% of the power they supplied had to be renewable and must be purchased from independent suppliers (BC Hydro was prohibited from constructing any generating facilities other than Site C).  So BC Hydro was forced to contract for the 6,000 gigawatt hours from Independent Power Producers at a price that is at least $100 per megawatt hour higher than the power available on the market.  That additional  price times the needed quantity equals $600 million per year.  BC Hydro justifies shutting down Burrard because the construction of additional power lines to the lower mainland means it no longer needs the back-up security Burrard provides and it costs $40 million per year to maintain Burrard.

So the net loss from shutting down Burrard, in the effort to achieve “self sufficiency” as required by the Liberal Clean Air Act is costing ratepayers $560 million per year.  Doesn’t it feel great to be self sufficient?

About Daniel Potts

Dan Potts is a retired 75 year old grandfather and former forest industry executive. He earned a BS degree in Chemical Engineering at the U of Washington, 1962; MBA, Stanford University 1964. Major part of career was location manager of five different pulp and paper mill locations. These highly energy intensive facilities led to the development of an interest in energy issues. Upon leaving the forest industry in 1999, Potts became the Executive Director of the trade association representing BC Hydro's largest customers. This association sponsored intervention before the BC Utilities Commission on various proceedings affecting industrial customers. It also represented its members to government and BC Hydro when appropriate. Potts retired in 2010. He lives with his wife in West Vancouver and frequently travels south to visit his four children and eight grand-children.
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