BC HYDRO = OUR FAILED UTILITY –ARTHUR HADLAND
BOX 25, BALDONNEL, B.C. VOC 1CO
OPEN LETTER March 31, 2015
BC HYDRO – OUR FAILED UTILITY AND HERE ARE THE REASONS
This is an appeal to the BC business community and the ratepayers of our public utility BC Hydro and
Power Authority [BCHPA] to investigate and better understand the negative impacts and onerous
financial commitment of the unnecessary proposed Site C in the sedimentary basin of the Peace River.
At the very least, this project must be reviewed by an independent BC Utilities Commission and at the
most by a Royal Commission.
1. Escalating Debt load on the backs of BC Hydro Power Authority rate payers. The total BCHPA
debt in 2003 was $30 Billion, while in 2013 BC Hydro CEO Charles Reid admitted an accumulated
debt load of $70 Billion. (Ask for Newspaper details)
2. Escalating cost of construction of proposed Site C. Current cost estimate is $9 Billion. We know
that the WAC Bennett Dam doubled in cost in a 6 year time frame. This means potentially
another $16 Billion to $18 Billion added to the existing $70 Billion Debt. Note that there has
been no business plan in place to retire this accumulating rate payer burden.
3. There were 7 purposes provided for the use for proposed Site C beginning with export to
California to energizing 450,000 homes in BC, ending with export to California (On the last day of
the Hearing). This demonstrates no purpose for proposed Site C.
4. Provincial Credit Rating is deteriorating and will likely be downgraded. Moody’s letter indicates a
total Citizen Debt Commitment estimated at $181 Billion. Compare our failed Provincial
Resource Development Policies with Norway who is parallel in population, geography, and
resources now has a wealth pool of $700+Billion, second only to Dubai! The question is: Why
can we not do as good as or better than Norway?
5. Much more affordable alternates: The Shepherd co-generative gas plant on 60 acres in Calgary
is equivalent to proposed Site C. It has been constructed on budget for $1.3 Billion and has a
guaranteed 5 year rate of .08/Kw hour. This is a faction of the cost of proposed Site C.
6. Existing infrastructure: The Burrard Thermal Plant at Port Moody is paid for, has been
upgraded and is capable of energizing 700,000 homes at the flick of a switch and it is next
to the main load.
7. Safety Uncertainty –”The uncertainties in predicting both the extent and rate of the
shoreline impacts lead to the proposal to adopt an observational approach for
periodically reviewing and updating the reservoir impact lines after the reservoir has
been filled.” Statement in the September 2009 Klohn Crippen Berger and SNC Lavelin
report produced for BC Hydro. This is supported by the report made by the Geological
Survey Branch of British Columbia prepared for the Honorable Jack Weisgerber, Minister of
Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in 1991. (Quaternary Geology and Land forms of
Eastern Peace River Region, British Columbia, by N.R. Catto 1991) Other cautionary
examples such as the Mount Polley Disaster, Teton Dam Failure and the Vajont Dam
Collapse demonstrate that clay sedimentary basins are the absolute worst places to
construct dam reservoirs.
8. Cost escalations caused by missed expenses: i.e. PST costs were missed by estimates, TOTAL
costs rose from $ 7.9 Billion to $9 Billion in one month. Are there others??
9. Most importantly, BCHPA DOES NOT have a social licence to interact with the Peace Region.
This glaring corporate deficiency continues after 57 years of impact on the Valley growth and
two major hydro-electric dams. For example the District of Hudson’s Hope has a decreasing
population. [1400 in 1978, 970 in 2014] The community revenues should be $25 Million for
industrial taxes, instead an arbitrary $1.2 M goes to the community coffers.
This list goes on: the loss of First Nations (FN) historical sites, the Rocky Mountain Fort (1794)
and Rocky Mountain Portage Fort (1806).
10. Where is there a $400 Million Peace Basin Trust Fund?
11. Former BCHPA CEO Reid, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in June 2013, stated that the
$1/2 Billion ‘dividend’ BCHPA pays to the Provincial Budget is borrowed money!!!
Does this mean our public utility is Bankrupt?!?
As a business community who understands that the bottom line is essential to running a successful
business, how would you rate your public utility with the financial facts authored in this letter?
We as householders and ratepayers DEMAND a sober second review of the unnecessary proposed
Site C Dam.
The retirement of the existing $70 Billion debt load is not addressed. The huge debt burden will be
on the backs of all British Columbian’s forever.
DEBT IS NOT O.K.
Is there a Why????
The litany of poor economic performance can lead one to speculate there must be a hidden agenda
for forcing proposed C on the backs of British Columbians!!!
Could it be a future sale of our Public Utility’s assets to General Electric, as was proposed in 2005
but was rejected due to immediate public back-lash?
Or is it simply a make work project for SNC Lavalinon the backs of British Columbians?
To quote Harry Swain, Chairman of the Joint Review Panel: the decision to proceed with Site C is a
“dereliction of duty”.
Submitted by Arthur A Hadland, P.Ag, AACI(retired)
Citizen of the Peace,
Past Peace River Regional District Area C Director
Agrologist of the Year 2001
Food producer and Land Use Consultant
Background information available upon request.