Something's got to change at B.C. Hydro.
Energy Minister Rich Coleman was dismissive of NDP warnings this week that British Columbians could be in for a jolt on their power bills.
He blamed losses from controversial independent power contracts on the economy, saying when things pick up, the deals won't look so bad.
But the numbers speak for themselves.
The Crown corporation's own figures show it is on track to lose more than $1 billion over the next four years through IPP contracts in which it purchased power at guaranteed rates, regardless of market value.
The current differential in those rates sees Hydro paying $94 per megawatt hour to IPPs, while the market price is just $37/mwh.
Hydro predicts demand will increase 40 per cent over the next two decades. Despite this, it also forecasts an energy surplus for the next 10 years, which shows you just how much unnecessary power we're currently buying.
Because of this imbalance, it's unlikely the equation will tip in our favour any time soon.
This year alone, the surplus will be so large it could power 472,000 homes.
Utility rates have already shot up 36 per cent in just a few years and, to hear B.C. Hydro tell it, we desperately needed IPPs and its proposed $7.9-billion Site C dam to keep the lights on.
That would add another 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity into the grid every year, enough to power about 450,000 homes.
But do we really need it?
On top of all that, Hydro is mortgaging our futures with massive deferral accounts pushing $2.2 billion in spending into future years.
The figures just don't add up.
- Managing Editor