After years of rate hikes and billions in deferred costs at BC Hydro piled up by the previous government, the B.C. government is taking action to keep electricity rates affordable for customers by cutting costs and developing new revenue streams at the Crown corporation.
These actions come out of an internal review of BC Hydro. They follow news that the previous government pushed through contracts with independent power producers, beginning in the early 2000s, that will cost Hydro customers more than $16 billion over 20 years. In addition, the exponential growth of BC Hydro’s deferred debt shows that the old government continually passed BC Hydro’s financial problems on to future generations.
“The previous government made choices that put their own interests ahead of what’s best for the province and BC Hydro customers,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “They ignored the professional advice, they ignored the auditor general, and they ignored the growing debt — and instead chose to make British Columbians pay the price for their choices, today and for decades to come.
“Following this review, it’s our government’s job to fix what’s broken, put BC Hydro onto a sustainable path and make sure rates stay as affordable as possible for customers.”
Mungall said that as part of making sure BC Hydro works better for customers, the government will be expanding oversight of the Crown corporation by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).
“Step one in fixing this problem is to take the politics out of decisions around BC Hydro — the problems we’re seeing today are the result of 16 years of political choices by the previous government,” said Mungall. “The best way to keep BC Hydro on the right financial path, while protecting the interests of customers is to enhance BCUC’s independent oversight of the Crown corporation as we move forward.”
“BC Hydro is committed to working with our customers, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, the BCUC and government as we build on the work of the review to limit rate increases, enhance regulatory oversight and support the Province in its social, economic and environmental priorities,” said Chris O’Riley, president and chief operating officer, BC Hydro.