BC Liberal takes MLA Norm Macdonald to task

To the editor:

It’s like Adrian Dix sneezed, and Norm Macdonald caught the misinformation flu which has resulted in his misinformed, biased opinion piece about BC Hydro in your Nov 29th posting.

British Columbians understand the need to invest in the future of our economy and do not support political parties that pretend saying “no” to everything is a good idea. The NDP clearly did not hear the message that British Columbians sent them in the May 2013 election. Actually, in my view, Mr Macdonald’s opinion piece is a sign that he has nothing left to offer his constituents other than what his handlers in Victoria email to him.

There is no question that the BC Liberal government has been far from perfect in relation to handling the BC Hydro file and in response has started to put in corrections. The new and recently announced ten year plan clearly outlines that government will take $2 billion less from BC Hydro over the life of the plan. In addition the so-called “deferral accounts”, which are standard practice in the utilities industry, are also being paid off.

What about private vs public power? Charles Reid, CEO and President of BC Hydro reported last week that the cost of the electricity produced by private producers cost no more than what could have been produced by Hydro itself with public assets. The reason power produced by new generation and transmission is more expensive than power produced by assets built decades ago ought to be self-evident; even to the economically-challenged NDP. Simply, construction costs are much more today than in the 1970’s, no matter who is doing the construction.

Residential hydro rates in BC are the third lowest in N.A. and adjusting for inflation, we are paying the same for electricity as we paid in 1975. In spite of what the NDP call unpopular rate increases of 9%, 6%, 4%, 3.5% and 3% over the next five years, the world is not exactly coming to an end. Special programs are available for low income British Columbians. In addition large industrial power users and all rate payers will have access to strong Power Smart programs to help them reduce use.

BC Hydro is investing $1.7 billion in each of the next ten years to upgrade old generating and transmission assets, some built in the 1930’s. The government will also bring on new generation and transmission to meet the needs of our growing population and growing economy as the demand for electricity is expected to grow by 40% in the next 20 years.

The BC Liberals never promised not to raise rates but they did promise to make decisions that are in the best long term interests of British Columbians; decisions that might be unpopular. While the NDP would prefer to pass the cost of investing in the future over to our kids and grandkids, your government is biting the bullet today, making huge investments, keeping rate increases down, and taking less dividends from BC Hydro.

For more information as to why rate increases are necessary check out this link: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/11/10-year-plan.html

Doug Clovechok
Fairmont Hot Springs