Playing political football with BC Hydro

Re: 'Evan Saugstad: Politically-charged government reports don't tell us the full story', Alaska Highway News, Feb. 28

I read the opinion piece by Evan Saugstad in last week’s Alaska Highway News with interest.

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The history on how political influences from B.C. governments have turned BC Hydro into a financial basket case could fill a book, and some would debate the various chapters. However, what is clear is the fact that BC Hydro is a mess, and that is a problem for all of us. 

Unfortunately, the Clean Energy Act, IPPs and the abuse of Deferral Accounts under Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark played a major role in where we now find ourselves. Yes, it is complicated, but to claim that only now with hindsight are those mistakes clear is not accurate.

The gold rush for private power that developed because of an artificial need for excessive power that BC Hydro did not need did enrichen private corporations from overpriced contracts. Ultimately, that has transferred wealth from the public to a chosen few private interests. As Evan pointed out, some of those private interests are “owned by out-of-province corporations.” I fail to see where that is in the public good. Historically, BC Hydro has been a financial windfall for the province that helped to fund schools, hospitals and other infrastructure that was a benefit for all. Due to bad management, those days are over for now, and maybe forever; just google “utility death spiral.”

Sadly, it appears that the current government has not learned from the mistakes of the former government, and is doomed to either repeat some of them, or make their own mistakes. Evan points out some of the problems there.

BC Hydro should not be a political football for the government of the day to use for their own purposes. As a Crown corporation, BC Hydro needs to serve the needs of the province, and should be better sheltered from political wishes or wacky brain farts of government. The Site C dam would not be proceeding if that was the case. In fact, the C.D. Howe Institute recognized that with their recent report recommending the cancellation of the Site C dam even at this stage.

— Ken Boon, Bear Flat 

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