Feb 2/08: Private Power Producers Spark Rivers Debate, Increases In BC Hydro Rates ...
The selling off of BC’s rivers to private power producers will mean
further increases in BC Hydro rates.
That warning was delivered during a rally held in downtown Vancouver
this afternoon protesting the government practice.
NDP Environment Critic Shane Simpson says the loss of BC interests
goes beyond the monetary, "it means that our rivers --upwards over 500
rivers in British Columbia potentially lost to much use by British
Columbians as they are essentially give away for five or ten thousand
dollars in perpetuity to private interests."
Simpson says BC could also lose control of its energy pricing once the
purchase agreements expire and the private companies are free to sell
their power south of the border.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Barry Penner says the NDP doesn't
understand the difference between renting and owning.
Penner says only 80 water licenses for power generating purposes have
been granted over the last few years, and some of those are renewals
for BC Hydro projects, "The people of British Columbia continue to own
those creeks and rivers, but people are allowed to produce power if
they obtain a license and comply with all of the environmental
conditions of that license."
Penner says using water to generate power is far less harmful to the
environment, than using coal or gas fired power plants to generate