B.C. Liberals ignored own expert panel’s advice on Site C decision

Written by on . Posted in Legislature News

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberal government ignored the advice of its own panel of experts in exempting B.C. Hydro from a B.C. Utilities Commission review of the Site C dam project, says New Democrat spokesperson on BC Hydro Adrian Dix.

“The government’s own report reaffirms the necessary and legal role of the B.C. Utilities Commission,” said Dix. “Yet Premier Clark and Energy Minister Bill Bennett ignored even their own experts in exempting the Site C project. Instead, they played with numbers to try to reduce the project’s cost estimates without scrutiny.”

The panel, chaired by former Deputy Minister Peter Ostergaard, with members Michael Costello and Brian Wallace, concluded in its interim report on Oct. 1 that “The existence of an independent expert Commission is more important than ever today. By regulating monopolies the BCUC provides an essential public service.” The panel made seven recommendations to strengthen the Commission’s role.

“This is disastrous Liberal policy repeating itself. The government has exempted its actions from review when it is unable to answer basic questions, as in the case of Site C. In recent years, the Liberals have refused to allow their IPP program, the Smart Meter program and B.C. Hydro rates to go before the commission. The result every time has been catastrophic for ratepayers, leading to the 28 per cent hydro rate increase British Columbians are dealing with today.

“As B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan has clearly stated, Site C needs BCUC review and this report from the government’s own expert panel powerfully supports BCUC’s continuing role,” said Dix.

A copy of the interim report can be found here:
British Columbia Utilities Commission – Interim Report