Energy Critic: energy policy is ideological, wrong-headed, and not in the best interests of ratepayers

Columnist Tom Fletcher stands alone in defending the Liberal government’s unnecessary and harmful electricity self-sufficiency policy. The B.C. Hydro review panel’s own report that Mr. Fletcher refers to recommends revisiting the policy, and B.C. Hydro CEO Dave Cobb admitted carrying on with self-sufficiency “would be hundreds of millions of dollars per year that we would be spending of our ratepayers’ money with no value in return.”

Editor,

Re: “Power export plan isn’t dead yet” (Aug. 23, 2011)

Columnist Tom Fletcher stands alone in defending the Liberal government’s unnecessary and harmful electricity self-sufficiency policy. The B.C. Hydro review panel’s own report that Mr. Fletcher refers to recommends revisiting the policy, and B.C. Hydro CEO Dave Cobb admitted carrying on with self-sufficiency  “would be hundreds of millions of dollars per year that we would be spending of our ratepayers’ money with no value in return.”

My analysis is far from a “grossly distorted” reading of the report; on the contrary, the report was a stunning admission that long-held views of the New Democrat Opposition were, in fact, true. Liberal government energy policy is ideological, wrong-headed, and not in the best interests of ratepayers.

The scheme the Liberals, including the former and current premier, five energy ministers, and every sitting Liberal MLA have supported, has proven to accomplish exactly what we’ve said all along it would: increase electricity rates for families while private corporations make huge profits from public resources.

Good government energy policy would require proper oversight of our monopoly Crown corporation by an independent B.C. Utilities Commission, but the Liberals have taken away that oversight and now make politically expedient spending decisions at the cabinet table. The result is decisions like an ill-thought out billion-dollar smart meter program that the utilities commission isn’t allowed to look at. With another $12 billion in exempt projects at stake, and $45 billion (and growing) in contractual obligations to IPPs, it is reasonable and necessary to restore that oversight and revisit the Liberals’ Clean Energy Act.

John Horgan

New Democrat Official Opposition Energy Critic

MLA, Juan de Fuca