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NEWS RELEASE · 17th May 2012
B.C. Liberal energy policies that forced B.C. Hydro to sign lucrative contracts with private-sector power producers will result in losses of $180 million during the spring melt season, says New Democrat energy critic John Horgan.

Horgan highlighted a submission from B.C. Hydro to the B.C. Utilities Commission outlining the cost of independent power production compared to the value of the electricity on the open market.

“These documents lay out in black and white what the opposition and others concerned with the Liberals’ private power agenda have been saying for years.

The contracts the Liberals sought with IPPs are expensive, unnecessary, and outrageous,” said Horgan.

The document shows B.C. Hydro will purchase 802 GWh in April 2012, 1,018 GWh in May, and 1,087 GWh in June from IPPs at an average cost of about $68/MWh. During the same three-month period, the average price to purchase power on the open market is approximately $10.

“We’re buying at $68 when the electricity is only worth $10. With the massive volume of electricity we’re buying at those prices, it adds up to about $180 million that B.C. Hydro is overpaying in just a three month period” said Horgan.

Horgan raised the issue in question period Thursday while continuing to draw attention to the fact that on May 9, B.C. Hydro had to spill water over the publicly owned Peace Canyon dam because there was a glut of electricity in the system.

“B.C. Hydro had no choice but to spill more than 800 million cubic feet of water over the dam because they had to fulfill the contracts with private producers.

“This is exactly the situation Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats have been raising for many years. The Liberals are putting their friends' business interests ahead of the public interest. The result is rate increases of 36 per cent over five years, with more to come,” said Horgan.

Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are committed to restoring the regulatory role of the B.C. Utilities Commission, putting a moratorium on signing any further independent power contracts, and reviewing existing contracts to determine whether they are in the public interest.