The government of British Columbia has appointed a panel of senior officials to review BC Hydro and develop options to reduce the impact of hydro rate increases on B.C. families.
"Our government's priorities are to create jobs, build our economy, and support families," said Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman. "Our goal is to find the right balance between investing in our hydro system, while keeping rates as low as possible for B.C. families - and this review will help us do just that."
The panel will conduct an examination of BC Hydro's financial performance, including operating and capital requirements, reliability of forecasting systems, administrative expenses, procurement processes, cost-containment strategies and opportunities for savings. The panel will also consider rate structures, corporate structures and business planning. The panel members are also free to examine any other matters that may arise over the course of the review.
The objective of the review is provide recommendations and options to ensure costs are minimized and benefits to B.C. families and BC Hydro customers are maximized. The panel will report back to the Premier and Minister of Energy and Mines by the end of June 2011.
"I have every confidence this will be a very thorough review and I look forward to receiving the report," said Coleman. "I'm sure it will lead to some frank discussions about the challenges, solutions and opportunities ahead."
Ultimately, the recommendations will inform an amended BC Hydro rate application to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). Any amendments to the rate application will be assessed and approved by the BCUC through its open public hearing process.
The three panel members are:
- deputy minister to the premier, John Dyble
- deputy minister of finance, Peter Milburn
- associate deputy minister of the environmental assessment office, Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland
Following completion of the review, a final report containing recommendations will be made public. The panel may also recommend specific areas or topics for the government to review in greater depth.
"British Columbians are incredibly proud of BC Hydro," said Coleman. "The investments made 30, 40 and 50 years ago literally powered B.C.'s development. To protect that legacy, to create jobs and power our economy, we need to invest in BC Hydro. But we also need to minimize costs and take care about burden we're placing on families."
The government review does not replace the normal, more-detailed rate increase examination conducted by the BCUC, which will resume after government's review.
The report is also expected to help inform discussion of BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan, where the first round of extensive public consultations on B.C.'s long-term energy needs has just been completed.
- Terms of Reference
- BC Hydro's Public Consultations on the Integrated Resource Plan (bchydro.com)
- Premier Clark's Radio Address: Review of BC Hydro rates - April 9, 2011 (soundcloud.com)
- BC Utilities Commission
Ministry of Energy and Mines
250 213-6934 (cell)