In-Sights: Site C, a Kodak moment

For many years, I worked in the motion picture film laboratory business. One of our profit centres was processing TV News film footage. We had machines in or near TV stations in Vancouver and Victoria. If a story was breaking, news departments would dispatch a reporter and  cameraman to the scene. Rolls of exposed 16mm ...

In-Sights: The art of deception

Proponents of Site C always label it a “clean energy project.” BC Hydro says “It will be a source of clean and renewable electricity for more than 100 years.” Those claims may be deceptive. A paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology expresses concern about these intrusions on nature: There are three primary reasons for the removal of dams. ...

In-Sights: Someone is telling us lies

When BC Liberals said the Site C completion budget was $7.9 billion, the cost of power from the project was stated to be $87 – $95 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Now, with the Site C budget up 26% to $10.7 billion, John Horgan’s NDP government claims the cost per MWh has fallen 32% to $60. Were ...

In-Sights: Sunk costs

I once owned a car that my family had driven almost 400,000 km. The engine was becoming unreliable, down on power while dripping and burning oil. We enjoyed the car and didn’t want to replace it so I had the engine rebuilt at a cost more than $2,000. A short while later, an inspection revealed ...

In-Sights: An open letter to the BC Government

An item in my email today seems worth reprinting. February 7, 2018 Dear fellow New Democrats: We are New Democrats whose critical stance is based on social and environmental justice. We seek environmental justice in order to help build the NDP as a Party that will attract youth activists, people who struggle for social justice ...

In-Sights: Deceit is still a BC Government tool

A BC Government “technical presentation” regarding its decision to continue construction of Site C is filled with misinformation, deceit and false justifications. If this is the quality of the advice taken by John Horgan’s cabinet on one rather important issue, we should be concerned about every other policy being considered. Apparently, if truths are inconvenient, ...

In-Sights: An open letter about Site C

My computer has been idle during the holiday season, partly for an intended break but also because I’ve been laid low by a nasty bout of inflenza. After 2+ weeks, the worst seems to be over and I expect to resume normal activity in the near future. As my reading of online material resumed, this open ...

In-Sights: BC Hydro, the next steps

I’m disappointed in the provincial government’s decision to continue Site C. It is not the choice I would have made, were I in a position of influence. However, I understand it. Financial issues interconnect. Finance ministry people influenced the Site C decision, emphasizing that what is done today affects what can be done tomorrow. A $4 ...

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading. – Damian Paletta and Josh Dawsey report that cash for access is the only way for anybody to raise issues with the U.S. Republicans’ tax bills. And Ronald Brownstein views the tax debacle as conclusive evidence of the closing of Republican minds. – Meanwhile, Mark Kingwell offers a ...

In-Sights: Save BC Hydro from financial ruin

• In fiscal year 2006, BC Hydro sold more power to BC’s residential and business consumers than it sold in 2017. • In fiscal years 2006 & 2007, BC Hydro paid independent power producers (IPPs) $812 million. • In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, BC Hydro paid IPPs $2,442 million. • Between FY 2006 and ...

In-Sights: An electrifying agenda

Access to years of BC Hydro’s financial reports provide me with an indisputable record of the utility’s financial destruction. Eleven years ago, one citizen didn’t have detailed evidence but he did have foresight. A letter to Black Press, September 27, 2006: Editor: Re: Tom Fletcher, B.C. Views, “Road show, or running out of ideas?” Prince ...

In-Sights: Site C – Uncertain costs, ambiguous benefits

Most readers will be familiar with Erik Andersen, an expert commentator about economic matters in BC.  This is the original text he submitted to the Vancouver Sun after the newspaper published an article about BC Hydro’s Site C project. He sets out a reason – one that had not occurred to me – for large ...

In-Sights: Them vs us

Disputing parties in arguments about Site C belong to either of two camps. One is populated by people wanting a share of the billions of dollars to be spent; the other by people who will be forced to pay the huge sums. I’ve seen claims that Site C is needed because of inexorable demand growth, ...

In-Sights: Corporate media works for some but not for its audience

Earlier this year, American Bernie Sanders warned us about the failures of corporate media. In How Corporate Media Threatens Democracy, he wrote: …For years, major crises like climate change, the impact of trade agreements on our economy, the role of big money in politics and youth unemployment have received scant media coverage. Trade union leaders, ...

In-Sights: Site C Twitter recap

I'd like to see a full inquiry as to how BC Hydro execs and previous BC gov't conspired to manufacture the case for #SiteC — Marc Lee (@MarcLeeCCPA) November 1, 2017 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js I'm going out on a limb. BCUC #SiteC report is the beginning of the end for this project #bcpoli @nunwadee1899 @akurjata @Y2Y_Initiative — ...

In-Sights: The Site C choice

British Columbia Utilities Commission will release its second Site C report on November 1. I expect this will provide further information but not a definitive recommendation. But, of course, the buck stops at John Horgan’s cabinet table. In 2014, Bill Bennett provided assurance that, unlike numerous Liberal megaprojects with runaway costs, the $7.9 billion Site ...

In-Sights: Site C – building a cesspool, not a reservoir

There are reasons why proponents of Site C, including utility executives and members of the former BC Liberal Government, continue to promote the project despite much evidence that it was the wrong choice three years ago and remains that today. Read through the linked report or just consider the following extracts and measure the possibility ...

In-Sights: Blunders, haste and waste

BC Hydro’s Chris O’Riley may be new to the CEO’s chair, but he’s not new to the management of Site C. So, it is astounding that his letter to BCUC this week included a particular statement in admitting the project’s budget and construction schedule are askew. O’Riley indicated that another $600 million has been added ...

In-Sights: The Site C money pit

According to Financial Post writer Geoffrey Morgan, BC Hydro sent an October 3 communication to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). The letter explained why it continues to forecast a surge in electricity demand, despite a dozen years of flat sales to BC consumers. Hydro claims it is forecasting new demand by companies that are not ...

In-Sights: BC Hydro – overdue and unimproved

Policies of British Columbia’s public sector management dictate that: Crown corporations must follow the spirit and intent of B.C. government core policies and procedures and comply with all applicable legislation, policies and guidelines… Section 32(7) of the Hydro and Power Authority Act determines the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act applies to BC Hydro. Section 10(3) ...

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading. – Anushka Asthana, Jessica Elgot and Rowena Mason report on Jeremy Corbyn’s path as Labour leader – which include genuinely moving the UK’s political centre of gravity to the left while improving his party’s electoral prospects in the process. – Andrew Boozary and Danielle Martin write that the ...

In-Sights: Buy high, sell low – make up losses with volume

Originally published in December 2014. Is B.C.’s Site C dam a gateway to dirty energy?, Calyn Shaw, CBC News Network, December 22, 2014 The provincial government has made it clear that Site C is about meeting future electricity demands. But the province is currently energy self-sufficient; we are a significant net exporter of power. According ...

In-Sights: Punditry rings hollow

I originally published A false notion in June 2010 and repeated it two years later. It came to mind after Postmedia’s senior west coast pundit wrote B.C. Hydro’s Site C promises ring hollow. I wrote the old article after Vaughn Palmer finally noticed the BC Rail scandal had Liberals mired in rough and unpredictable terrain. Eventually, ...

In-Sights: We are the losers, who are the winners?

Brady Yauch is an economist at the Consumer Policy Institute (CPI), which identifies itself as “an independent think-tank dedicated to achieving lower costs and greater efficiencies for Canadian consumers, particularly in sectors run by government monopolies or those receiving large subsidies.” Mr. Yauch published How Megaprojects bankrupt Power Utilities and Leave Regulators in the Dark, ...

In-Sights: Similarities

Muskrat Falls was always a done deal, and a bad one, Pam Frampton, Saint John’s Telegram: One week the project was all about clean energy, the next it was job creation, then it was all about being an affordable energy source, then it was a means of foiling Quebec, then it was a lure for ...