Thursday, July 15, 2010

BC Hydro's Plans.


I’m sending you this email because you are on my 10,000 person email list of community leaders in British Columbia and I know that you want to be made aware of a very serious event which has emerged due to dryer climatic conditions here in BC.

Yesterday, our public electricity utility BC Hydro applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission to use $220 million from a deferral account to cover increased power exports expected during the fiscal year that ends next March.

The BC Hydro deferral account is used to keep fluctuations in electricity costs from causing sudden spikes in electricity rates. The account is drawn on when costs go up, and the utility pays it down in years like 2007 when an abundance of water allowed more power to be sold for export.

“We” as BC Hydro customers pay a "rate rider" on our monthly bills that goes into the deferral account, currently at four per cent of the residential electricity billing.

This application represents a pivotal point in energy policy where BC residents will be blatantly abandoned in favour of export contracts with the United States. This is a trend that must be reversed. BC energy must be first and foremost for the people of British Columbia – not to be used as a cash cow for decision-makers in Victoria.

The trend is clear, northern BC rivers are running at near-record low levels, the region missed out on much of the June rain that filled lakes and streams in the rest of the province after a warm winter that left low snowpack behind. The Peace, Stikine, Nass and Skeena Rivers are all near record low levels for this time of year, according to this week's water supply bulletin from the B.C. environment ministry.

The dry conditions have left the Williston Lake reservoir on the Peace River at 77 per cent of normal level for this time of year. Stream flow conditions are normal in most of southern B.C., except for the Fraser River, which is well below normal level throughout its length.

Using the environment ministry rating system, the drought level for the Southern Interior and Vancouver Island is generally level one (normal). The Central Interior is classified as level two (dry) and the drought level for northern rivers is generally level three (very dry).

Last year saw summer drought conditions in parts of the southern Interior that prompted the first-ever suspension of a water license for a ranch in the Nicola Valley. So what we are learning is that in BC there are extreme and fluctuating climatic conditions that are unpredictable.

The government must set a priority to protect its citizens within a good framework of stewardship first – before it creates export contracts that it may not be able to deliver on.

Please make your voice heard – tell your MLA that you are not satisfied with the BC Hydro application to squander “our” deferral account.

Email your concern directly to the Minister in charge:

Honourable Bill Bennett

Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Please forward this email to your friends and contacts.


Don Elzer


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About Me

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.