Blog

B.C. Hydro Loses $560 Million in Fifteen Months on Interest Rate Hedging Gamble.

B.C. Hydro's interest rate hedging program incurred dramatic losses from April 2018 to June 2020. The shareholder was protected by a regulatory account. How did the hedging program begin and why is it failing the ratepayers?

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Quebec "Simplifies" Pricing of Electricity by Sidelining the Regulator.

The new Quebec government has significantly dminished the role of the independent body that regulated the operation and the rates of Hydro Quebec. The change is reviewed in the attached paper.

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Should Ratepayers Subsidize the Electrification of Oil and Gas Production?

This Commentary reviews the government's assumption that B.C. Hydro ratepayers will subsidize the cost of electrifying the production of oil and gas in the noeth east reagion. It is a sudsidy because the cost is greater than the anticipated revenue. The social benefit of reduced carbon emissions should be paid by the government, not the ratepayers.

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Insurance Brokers Association Exectutive Director Supports Public Auto Insurance Model

In the August edition of The Broker magazine Chuck Byrne, the exectutive director of the Insurance Brokers Association, wrote an editorial in support of the public model for the provision of compulsory insurance. Exerpts of this editorial are attached.

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B.C. Hydro's 2018/19 Annual Report: Flat Sales but Finances Now Reflect GAAP

This paper provides highlights of B.C. Hydro's 2018/19 annual report. The finances are now based on public sector GAAP and reflect the one-time loss caused by the windup of the revenue deferral account.

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Auditor General Removes Qualification on B.C. Hydro Accounting.

Auditor General Carol Bellringer has accepted the government's pledge to fully restore the B.C. Utilities Commission's authority to regulate B.C. Hydro and removed that part of her qualification on the government's 2018/19 financial statements.

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B.C. Hydro Maintains That The B.C. Utilities Commission is Independent.

Despite the clear opinion of the province's auditor general to the contrary B.C. Hydro asserts that the B.C. Utilities Commission is independent. This paper looks at the issue.

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Manitoba Plans for Electricity Rate Increases; B.C. Opts to Keep Rates Low.

Both Manitoba and B.C. public power utilities are facing major cost increases as large capital projects near completion. The Manitoba regulator is raising prices to smooth the transition, but the B.C. government has chosen to keep the rate increase below the increase in B.C. Hydro's costs. The NDP approach has many parallels to that of the previous government.

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Quantifying B.C. Hydro's Electricity Surplus, 2014 to 2022.

B.C. Hydro has generated or contracted for power in excess of domestic sales for a number of years, and forecasts surpluses for a number of years to come. This Commentary reviews the acquisition and sales.

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Ontario Legislative Committee Report Calls for More Transparency.

This Commentary reviews the recent report by the special committee of the Ontario legislature on financial transparency. The committee was struck to examine how the previous Liberal government ignored public sector accounting standards to lower electricity rates while still claiming to balance the 2017/18 budget.

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New B.C. Hydro Financing Plan and More Authority for the BCUC Announced.

This commentary reviews the new five-year rates plan for B.C. Hydro, as well as the government's plan to restore the B.C. Utilities Commission's authority to regulate the public utility.

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Former Premier Wynne Defends Electricity Rate Manipulation.

This paper reviews the testimoney of former Ontario Premier Wynne at the legislative committee on transparency, and compares the practice in Ontario to that practiced in B.C.

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B.C. Hydro's Q2 Results: Volume of Power Sold Falls While Debt Climbs

My comments on the results and the lack of discussion on accounting changes or future rate increases.

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Ontario Review Promises Greater Transparency and Accountability.

Commentary on certain aspects of the Ontario government's plans regarding electricity pricing and auto insurance regulation.

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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 "Fair Hydro" deferrals. The accounting adjustment of the electricity deferrals increased 2018/19 expenditures by $2,4 billion.

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Some Implications of Restoring the BCUC's Independence. September 10, 2018.

This commentary paper explores in more detail some of the issues involved in fixing the accounting policies at B.C. Hydro.

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Goverment 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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BCUC Approves BC Hydro's $1.2 Billion Dam Purchase

A short commentary on the regulator's 18 July 2018 approval of the purchase of Teck's interest in the Waneta Dam.

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Hon. Mungall Says BC Hydro's Finances in Good Shape--Really?

A comment on minister Mungall's statement and the staff review of BC Hydro's costs.

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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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Public Pension Plan Solvency: Why Is BC Hydro an Outlier?

A comment in response to Vaughn Palmer's article about the BC Investment Management Corporation and the well-funded public pension plans.

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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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Submission to the BCUC Opposing the BC Hydro Rate Freeze. November 20, 2017

Can the BCUC approve BC Hydro's request to withdraw the 3% rate increase for 1 April 2018? I argue that it should not approve the request; includes final submission of 11 January 2018. 

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Will NDP End BC Hydro's 'Wild West' Accounting--The Tyee October 24 and 25, 2017.

The Tyee published my piece which describes the Ontario Auditor General's special report on a government scheme to subsidize electricity rates, and how electricity rates are subsidized in British Columbia; https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2017/10/24/Will-NDPEnd-BC-Hydro-Wild-West-Accounting/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=241017 also Andrew MacLeod's comments from Carole James https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/10/25/Fixing-BC-Hydro-Accounting/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=251017

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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 - Bill Bennett Responds to My Tyee Article. May 4, 2017.

A Fact Check on Hon. Bill Bennett's comments on the Jon McComd (CKNW) show, commenting on rate increases and BC Hydro's debt.

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BC Hydro's Aggressive Revenue Tactics. March 15, 2017.

Big banks have been pursuing questionable tactics to enhance revenue and profits, but BC Hydro has a unique way to achieve its revenue targets.

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BC Hydro Quietly Posts Disappointing Q2 Results

My summary of BC Hydro's 2016 Q2 rseults, and a forecast to year-end.

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BC Hydro Defends Recording of Future Unapproved Revenue. 2 December 2016.

Recently, the BC Utilities Commission asked BC Hydro whether its recording of future unapproved revenue conformed to accepted accounting principles. I forwarded BC Hydro's answer, together with my comments, to Auditor General Carol Bellringer.

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BC Hydro GWh Domestic Sales. 29 November 2016.

BC Hydro data on domestic sales 2006/07 to 2015/16 and three year forecast.

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Does BC Hydro's Rate Smoothing Conform to Accounting Standards? 8 June 2016.

On 8 June 2016 Adrian Dix MLA requested Auditor General Carol Bellringer's opinion as to whether the government-imposed recording of future revenue at BC Hyro conforms to generally accepted accounting principles. 

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