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Posted: February 14, 2016

Immense harm to B.C. ratepayers

Letter to the Editor

We would like to draw attention to a major regulatory requirement for Site C, which was outlined in BC Hydro’s Project Definitions Consultation Discussion Guide of Oct/Nov. 2008. The following two paragraphs are a direct quotation from that guide.

“Another major regulatory requirement would be an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). This application is required before a utility constructs or operates an extension to its existing system. For approval, the BCUC needs to be satisfied that the new system or extension is in the public interest and necessary for the public’s convenience.

“Project justification is a key element of a CPCN application. Analysis must demonstrate the need for the project, confirm the technical, economic and financial feasibility of the project, and compare the costs, benefits and risks of the project with alternatives. The CPCN application must also quantify the impact of the project on customers’ rates.”

The requirement makes complete sense, as it was designed to protect public interest and to guarantee project justification.

By disallowing the BCUC to fulfill its legislated duties, the Christy Clark government used blatant political interference to derail a requirement set up to protect the ratepayers of B.C.

BC Hydro has stated that it would provide complete and unbiased information about Site C, its impacts and all viable alternatives. BC Hydro has failed miserably in this respect. Instead of providing a balanced position, it has flooded (no pun intended!) the public with an extensive, sophisticated pro-Site C propaganda campaign. BC Hydro’s effort to manipulate public understanding into accepting its version that Site C is the only viable option is continuing with full support of the present Clark government.

What does the Energy Minister Bill Bennett have to say? As quoted in the Globe and Mail, he stated, “We have to balance the right to protest with the right of B.C. ratepayers to expect the project would be built on time and on budget.”

This is more than ironic and highly hypocritical because he showed no such concern for the ratepayers when the government cut out the BCUC and decided in favour of Site C, the most expensive option (compared with natural gas) with the largest number of detrimental impacts.

Shame on you, Minister Bennett!

We wonder, how many people are actually aware of the immense harm the Christy Clark government is inflicting on the ratepayers of B.C. by substituting its own political agenda for a well functioning, arms’ length process provided by the BCUC?

Is this how we really want the energy policies in the province to be concocted?

Mike Kroecher,

Rick Koechl,

Charlie Lake

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