Blog

Government Requires Money-Losing ICBC to Fund More Traffic Enforcement

The government has directed ICBC to fund more traffic enforcement, but its more of a restoration. And why is the government not funding more police traffic enforcement instead of asking over-burdened policyholders to do it?

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Government Q2 Forecast Understates Cash Surplus

The inclusion of the net income of BC Hydro and the net loss of ICBC complicates the forecast of the surplus.

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Ontario Seeks to Improve Financial Transparency and Accountability.

A committee of the Ontario legislature is holding hearings into how the previous Liberal government attempted to ignore the accounting rules to make the government books appear than was the case. What lessons might the B.C. government learn from this review?

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Ontario Government Agrees that Hydro Deferral Accounting Inappropriate. September 21, 2018.

The Ontario government has moved to clean-up certain accounting practices, including the financing of the "Fiar Hydro" deferrals. The accounting adjustment of the electricity deferrals increased 2018/19 expenditures by $2,4 billion.

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NDP Perpetuates Liberal Practices Regarding ICBC: Keeps Watchdog Confined. September 4, 2018.

This paper discusses the fact that the NDP government is using cabinet orders to control ICBC's finances and keep the B.C. Utilities Commission confined. These were the tactics used by the previous government to avoid public oversight.

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Governement Begins Restoring Financial Integrity: What's Next for B.C. Hydro's Books? August 31, 2018

This paper provides an overview of why the government set aside $950 million for the 2017/18 fiscal year to begin to fix the financial troubles at B.C. Hydro. the restoration of proper accounting standards at the public power utility presents certain financial problems for the government.

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Commentary: Populist Promises and the Cost of Electrictiy. May 18, 2018

The three main politic parties in Ontario are promising to reduce electricity prices, but are being vague as to what this will cost. It's time for the voters to become educated consumers. 

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Commentary on Matthew McClearn Article on Hydro Accounting in Ontario. April 22, 2018.

McClearn's article in the Globe and Mail provides a useful summary of many of the issues involved in the accounting dispute between the ontario auditor general and the government. Similar issues exist in British Columbia.

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Inappropriate Regulatory Accounting: Ontario and BC Discussion of Auditors' Opposition. March 30, 2018

This 'Commentary' paper reviews the Ontario and BC public accounts committee discussion of the oppositin by the two auditors general of the application of reguatory accounting, and the impact to the governments' financial statements.

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BC Utilities Commission Independence: Is the Government Listening? March 16, 2018.

Auditor General Carol Bellringer issued a report, http://www.bcauditor.com/sites/default/files/publications/reports/FINAL_BCUC.pdf, that reminds the government that five key recommendations of the 2014 independent task force remain outstanding. In August Ms. Bellringer qualified the government's 2016/17 financial statements, in part because BC Hydro's deferral accounts were not overseen by an independent regulator. The Canadian Press provided a limited summary (http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/b-c-auditor-offers-advice-on-utilities-commission-after-previous-studies/wcm/c65203d2-1811-4418-ab5b-f55f3002d5d7. DeSmog Canada's report was more comprehensive; https://www.desmog.ca/2018/03/15/auditor-general-nudges-b-c-amend-act-exempted-site-c-dam-independent-review

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Accounting Treatment of ICBC's Net Loss Complicates Provincial Budget. February 17, 2018.

The national public sector accounting rules require that ICBC's net income or loss be counted in the government's revenue. The increase in the net loss reduces revenue, but there is no change in the actual cash being transferred (which is nil). This accounting anomoly requires further review.

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Alberta Caps Auto Insurance Increase at 5 Percent. December 19, 2017.

The Alberta government has limited the 2017/18 increase in the private vehicle insurance rates to 5%. It stated that the previously allowed 10% maximum increase was not inline with its affordability priority. Background and implications are provided. 

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Email to Auditor General Bellringer re BC Hydro Accounting, December 2, 2016.

This email informs Auditor General Bellringer of recent developments respecting BC Hydro's accounting for future unbilled and uncollected revenue.

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Fact Check - Government Admits Major Rate Increases Coming for BC Hydro and ICBC. April 20, 2017.

On April 19th finance minister de Jong stated that the coming four-year rate increase requirement for BC Hydro is 28%, and close to 70% for ICBC's Basic program. The government's rate suppression policy has postponed the financial reckoning.

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ICBC Deficits-Question Period February 22, 2017. February 26, 2017.

Minister Stone attempts to defend ICBC's deficit forecasts during Question Period on February 22, 2017.

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Understanding Regulation in the United Kingdom 2016. December 18, 2016.

Martin Stanley's compendium of issues relating to regulation of public utilities in the UK; http://www.regulation.org.uk/

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