Friday, June 8, 2012

Liberal's own fast ferry

Last August, Chad Skelton of the Vancouver Sun reported on a conference call between BC Hydro president Dave Cobb and senior staff. Cobb said the utility was being forced by Liberal policy to pay private power producers huge sums for unneeded electricity.
" 'If it doesn't change, it would be hundreds of millions of dollars per year that we would be spending of our ratepayers' money with no value in return,' said Cobb."
Cobb hinted that government was being intransigent on the issue.
"'Believe me, I'm having to bite my tongue probably more than anybody,' he said. 'But we can sit around and pout about it or we can get on with it.'"
Of course, within two months, Dave Cobb was getting on with it. In fact, he was gone. Out the door.

A year later, financial damage that Cobb talked about is not speculative, it's occurring. Losses to BC Hydro customers are huge. In 2012, while some of the utility's generators are quiet, it delivers high cost run of the river power. Excess electricity supplies in Washington and Oregon crowd transmission lines to California. The export market is not there.

Even Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, a supporter of Liberal energy planing, has taken a step back and poses a rhetorical question:
"What went wrong? Everything, it seems."
However, Palmer has a habit of pulling his punches, saying:
"The resource plan calls for Hydro to continue to exploit the market for short-term sales, which have brought in $1.7 billion via its Powerex subsidiary over the past decade."
My reading of BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is less optimistic. Much has changed from the days when BC was bringing in hundreds of millions by selling into the USA. Export markets will not get better soon. Hydro's own IRP says conditions underpinning export market dynamics are expected to persist "into the foreseeable future."

Recommend this post


  1. Yawn Palmer! For Gawd's sake! The guy used to be the rock n roll critic back in the day! Wha happened? Curiosity has vacated all these MSM folks. The LDB issue is framed as a pricing issue when it's another BC Rail scandal. More Bob Mackin please! Our own I.F.Stone.

  2. The BC Hydro/IPP scandal should have the RCMP commercial crime section investigate, the government forcing BC Hydro to pay higher than market rates for power from Liberal friendly power companies. If found guilty, the MLA's and cabinet ministers should be forced to pay and be forced to relinquish their pensions.

    It is my belief the only way the public can receive satisfaction from the BC Liberals raping the provincial coffers is extremely onerous financial fines and penalties, including extinguishing their lucrative pension plans.

  3. I also believe that the MSM, especially CKNW, Global TV, and the Vancouver Sun, is complicit with the Liberal rape of BC and its taxpayers and as such should be charged as accomplices and if found guilty, be subject to the same fines and penalties.

    1. Great thinking! I agree that these corporate media outlets and their pundits can make no claim to objective or neutral 'news' or 'journalism' and are therefore complicit in the very shady objectives of this government just as we are seeing so clearly in Britain.

  4. yes indeed... it's as clear as the nose on your face that MSM has lost their moral compass and is riding the corporate wave as masters of the current government doing their bidding. Our province is suffering and being picked to the bone by these vultures who call themselves FREE Enterprisers... FREE alright they have got the run of the province and are stripping it bare. It' crying time hopefully not for long.

  5. Evil Eye don't forget the Fraser Institute's 'finger' in all of this. Privatize public owned money making enterprises. Campbell and cronies just followed the California Hydro privatization script with a twist. Pay 'friends' high and sell low and bankrupt the company. (and province) The choice now is either jack up rates beyond all reason or claim their 'friends' now own Hydro by defaulted contracts. I truly think Campbell bailed on his party because of a) strike number one, BCR and b) strike number two, HST were just getting too hot. Both were small potatoes compared to strike number three, c) BCHYRO and the smart meters. Each one progressively worse for taxpayers. I really don't think London is far enough away for Gordon when BC citizens realize just what this man, his henchmen and the present (not) leader have done to this Province.

    I wonder what the half hour phone call was about that was reported on today? Just asking.


  6. Criminal charges?

  7. I hope the next government is able to enact legislation that will allow us to tear up these corrupt one-sided deals without fear of penalty. It's an absolute travesty that we have substantial river runoff this year, yet only the IPP projects are producing power!

    I hope Campbell and Clark get jail cells next to each other so they can talk about the fleece job that each did to this Province!

  8. Two things here, come to mind. First, the government does not "own" the power, the people of BC do. The "BC Liberal" deals are not in the best intrest of the people of BC and "will" be quashed by the next "more intelligent" government. A financial boondoggle if ever there was one. Not to mention, the HST, BC Rail, etc. The kleptocracy must be reigned in and former government deals, reviewed and torn up where necessary.

    Secondly, I would agree that criminal charges, should be pusued for any "alledged" criminal activity, pertetrated by this BC Liberal lead government. Too many scandals, and far to much interferrence in provincial regulatory matters. This would seem to benefit only those select indivduals within the so called "free enterprise coalition".

    Most of BC has had enough of this. Where is the power that the taxpayer has to have, to go after these scam artists. One vote every four years, does not cut it. We need major recall legislation, through a non partisan body that will allow a government to be turfed, without waiting and watching for the remainder of a term in office, while the taxpayer is fleeced. This current system is a joke.

  9. A big reason this province is in the mess it is could be heard yesterday on the Gnat( sic) NW. Velvet Paws Palmer with the always transparent Baldry were both soft shoeing, shadow boxing and spinning on the dog paddling BGood's "Deflections from the Ledge" yesterday.

    What a waste of time. These three headliners can rightfully take credit (shame) for most of the mess this province has devolved into over the past decade. All governments need to be held to a high standard of integrity, ethics, honesty and competency. It has not happened with these three.

    It is amazing to hear the Liberals complain about not getting a fair shake from the media when in fact they have been getting free passes, benefits of doubt, and arcane hair splitting logic to their party's support. Too many people have been way too trusting for way too long - thankfully soon they are all on their last legs.

  10. @ Bill
    thanks for your great comment (and as always, Norm's excellent website). Very sad to see Vaughn Palmer selling out. I've stopped reading his columns, buying the Vancouver Sun or clicking on the Sun website years ago. Interesting too that there's no comments allowed on his posts, unlike Mike Smyth and Gary Mason.

    1. Vaughn Palmer can be contacted directly through the Vancouver Sun. Sometimes he even takes the time to respond.

  11. The BC media are nothing other than, propaganda machines for the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals. Never will I forget the media, during Campbell's dirty tactics, when the Fight HST BC was on. How they praised that out and out low-life scum, of a Campbell.

    The media are a disgrace to their professions. They are a far cry from the reporters, that covered WW11, and onto events in the following years. There is no such, good honest journalism, as there was in those days. You knew what you heard on radio, or what was written in the newspapers, was honest and above board. That was in the days, when journalism protected Canadian citizens.

    None of the media, are worth the powder to blow them to hell, these days. Bill Good, Christy Clark on CKNW???? The Vancouver Sun and the Province??? I cancelled both of those papers.

    1. I totally agree - we've even gone so far as to cancel the satellite tv - tired of the propaganda and getting bombarded with asine commercials every 10 minutes (all stuff that turns off thinking!).

      "When deals to exploit economic systems and people are made between special interest parties and signed in secret, they are conspiracies and not "conspiracy theories""

      How does this woman, who's not been elected and who doesn't have a mandate from the people get away with this. Shame on her! If she wasn't in politics and another was doing what's she's doing - she'd be making asswipe out of them on the radio. What is this, do as I say and not as I do???? Get rid of the filthy bunch and especially Coleman, Kinsella and Morgan!

  12. You have forgotten (on his very biased evening Radio show) how Smythe went after the Eagleridge protestors , those against the olympics or how his HOWEVER THE NDP ARE WORSE stories and teachers will go on strike story leading up to the LIARS second term. Also his no story here stories about BC rail or the Tre forest license give a way to the forest companies on Vancpouver Island. They need the lands to sell to stay in business well they have raped the ISland and are working hard to destroy it. Another reason Vancouver Island should separate so we can get rid of the bloodsuckers from the lower mainland.

  13. I don't know how accurate this informal survey is, to you Norm, but I took all of your "Labels" (bottom left hand column)(perhaps you haven't given a Label for every one of your Posts) but I punched the numbers into a spreadsheet and the top twenty-one of 262 are these: (and you do practice the use of multiple Labels too)

    Top Two, almost neck and neck
    Bottom Three of the first 21, without manipulation, are on your Post topic today

    BC Liberals (155) 155
    journalism (143) 143
    Justice (97) 97
    environment (97) 97
    Smile (96) 96
    Gordon Campbell (90) 90
    Harper Government (80) 80
    Ethics (80) 80
    Energy (75) 75
    Income Inequality (67) 67
    RCMP (63) 63
    Accountability (63) 63
    taxation (60) 60
    Christy Clark (54) 54
    HST (53) 53
    Olympics (50) 50
    BC Rail (50) 50
    fishery (45) 45
    Power Generation (44) 44
    BC Hydro (42) 42
    Vaughn Palmer (40) 40

  14. Thanks, it's interesting. I was less diligent with labels early on but I think the top ones do reflect my typical interests.

  15. BC Hydro will be one of the biggest and most contentious issues in the upcoming election, contentious because BC Liberals and their supporters will insist they've done nothing wrong and their opponents on this and other issues will be, until the government is changed, disadvantaged by stealthy BC Liberal book-keeping and the effective loss of our independent utilities regulator. Both culprits and victims have a lot at stake with regard to BC Hydro and it is an issue that can be impolite to raise at dinner parties.

    While attending a birthday with close family friends, I listened as a guest began to rant about "ruin-of-river" projects (a topic I've noticed pops up more and more frequently in all sorts of situations), unaware that one present scion of the host has a job on the ground installing IPP pipes and penstocks. I could only respond, in what seemed to be an uncomfortable circumstance, that it would probably be wise to avoid investing in IPPs given the BC Liberal backers will probably be wiped out in the upcoming election and IPP stock will probably dive when BC Hydro is no longer forced to purchase this hugely expensive and untimely electricity. My young friend, with some relief, heartily agreed.


    Paying off their "friends" before they're booted!

    The gutting needs to stop. The lies need to stop. The backtracking needs to stop. Call the election!



This is an archive only of items published before April 22, 2016. These and newer articles are available at:

If you read an article at this blogger site, you can comment on it at the new site.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.