Politics Versus Good Governance for BC Hydro. April 15, 2017.
Marvin Shaffer criticizes the Liberal government's politicization of BC Hydro; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-politics-versus-good-governance-for-b-c-hydro
Marvin Shaffer criticizes the Liberal government's politicization of BC Hydro; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-politics-versus-good-governance-for-b-c-hydro
This paper attempts to summarize the election platforms of the three main parties, and what they say or imply about BC Hydro and ICBC.
This paper reviews the last four years capital depletion and the growth in the claims backlog at ICBC.
ICBC announced a toughing of its Basic insurance discounts for 2018, which will result in higher insurance for at-fault drivers; good drivers will be big losers.
A generally negative survey of the no-fault auto insurance business in Ontario, by the Globe and Mail; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/the-real-reason-ontarios-auto-insurance-rates-are-so-high/article34560827/
A detailed review of ICBC's three-year forecast shows alarming loss of capital; immediate and longer-term initiatives are suggested to restore ICBC's finances to a healthy condition.
The new provincial government must make the restoration of ICBC's financial health a priority, as capital reserves are now below the regulatory minimums,and rake shock looms.
A review of the financial impacts of the cold and snowy winter on the finances of BC Hydro and ICBC.
Big banks have been pursuing questionable tactics to enhance revenue and profits, but BC Hydro has a unique way to achieve its revenue targets.
This paper suggests that BC Hydro's annual target rate increase of 2.6% is optimistic, as is the 10-year financial plan.
This Fact Check concludes that ICBC's claim that fraud is costing $600 million annually is significantly exggerated.
In 2011, the government's Internal Audit and Advisory Services group conducted a review of ICBC's operations, and published its report in August; http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/iaas/pdf_docs/ICBC_Review_2012.pdf
This paper reviews Mr. Crombie's comments in a recent interview as reported by Keith Baldrey in the Burnaby News of March 6, 2017.
AMPC submissions of 2013 and 2017 call for BC Hydro to moderate cost and rate increaes; http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/electricity-alternative-energy/electricity/iepr/iepr_submission-association_of_major_power_consumers_round_1.pdf and http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2017/DOC_48816_C9-7_AMPC-Evidence.pdf
The Globe and Mail is not impressed by the Ontario government's move to reduce the cost of electricity; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/lower-electricity-rates-dont-fall-for-premier-wynnes-power-move/article34195391/ and http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/will-kathleen-wynnes-last-ditch-hydro-fix-just-add-to-the-mess/article34182155/ also an editorial by The National Post; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-kathleen-wynnes-liberals-bail-themselves-out-with-public-money-again
On 2 March 2017 the Ontario government announced new measures, including a greater taxpayer-funded subsidy, to moderate the rise of electricity prices; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-wynne-slashes-hydro-rates-residents/article34183180/
On March 3, 2017, Policy Options published my article comparing how the governments of Ontario and BC are subsidizing electricity prices: http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/march-2017/how-bc-politicized-electricity-rates/
This paper explores BC Hydro's flat domestic sales and its high profits during the last five years, and suggests that the recording of future ubapproved and unbilled revenue helps explain the healthy bottom line.
Keith Baldrey, in the North Shore News, writes about the looming financial crisis at ICBC;http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/baldrey-get-ready-for-massive-icbc-rate-hikes-1.10685159
A report in Bloomberg Businessweek describes how rising claims costs are forcing auto insurance price increases, providing opportunity for new entrants to the market; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-16/insurance-bills-rise-as-texters-crash-cars
Minister Stone attempts to defend ICBC's deficit forecasts during Question Period on February 22, 2017.
Gary Mason, of The Globe and Mail, reports on the new financial forecast for ICBC; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/provinces-file-bungling-has-driven-insurance-corp-of-bc-into-trouble/article34136030/, with a backgrounder.
ICBC's 3rd Quarter 2016/17 forecast, and the 2017/18 forecast show a worsening financial picture. No relief in the government's 2017/18 budget.
In the last five years, the government has taken some $1.95 billion in dividends from BC Hydro, or "excess' capital from ICBC, to reduce its direct operating debt requirement. Occasional Paper No. 22 explains how this happened.
Norman Farrell's post shows that domestic demand for BC Hydro's power has been flat while costs are rising;https://in-sights.ca/2017/02/09/awash-in-power-at-premium-prices/
The senior officials' 2011 review of BC Hydro; http://www.ceaa.gc.ca/050/documents/p63919/97006E.pdf
Auditor General John Doyle and Charles Reid of BC Hydro review the Auditor's recent report on regulated accounting; https://www.leg.bc.ca/Pages/BCLASS-Legacy.aspx#%2Fcontent%2Flegacy%2Fweb%2Fcmt%2F39thparl%2Fsession-4%2Fpac%2Fhansard%2Fp11125x.htm starting at 1257 hrs.
This paper describes how an obscure 2011 cabinet directive allows BC Hydro to apply regulatory accounting without the fundamental componet -- an independent regulator.
My submission recommends that the BC Utilities Commission set expectations for ICBC's 2017 rate request, and includes data on forecasted rate requirements and comparisons of Basic rate increases with Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun comments on the timing of the review of ICBC costs and rates; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-liberals-in-no-rush-dealing-with-icbc-matters
The latest Moody's report again warns that BC Hydro's growing debt is a concern as it may require a taxpayer bail-out; http://vancouversun.com/news/politics/b-c-s-credit-rating-at-risk-as-hydros-debt-grows
Richard McCandless wonders why BC Hydro has a large and growing pension liability; deferral accounting may provide a reason.
In Ontario, political decisions have driven the cost of electricity higher; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economic-insight/buying-quebec-hydro-power-a-dim-prospect-for-ontarians/article33603621/
Rob Shaw (Vancouver Sun) reports on jinterviewhis with Hon. Bill Bennett, who says Site C is political; http://vancouversun.com/news/politics/cabinet-political-staff-control-b-c-hydros-public-relations-on-site-c-dam
A Globe and Mail summary of the supply and pricing system in Ontario; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/why-does-electricity-cost-so-much-in-ontario/article33453270/
Richard McCandless posts Occasional Paper No. 19 on some 2016 stories about BC Hydro's finances that were either under-reported, or recieved no media coverage.
In a January 8, 2017 editorial the Times Colonist says that the government has to reduce the projected increase in Basic rates; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-find-ways-to-cut-insurance-rates-1.6542717
Gwyn Morgan, writing in the Globe and Mail, cautions about erronous assertions displacing objective facts about energy and climate change;http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economic-insight/three-post-truths-about-global-energy-and-climate-change/article33465520/
My summary of BC Hydro's 2016 Q2 rseults, and a forecast to year-end.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...."; Richard McCandless submits comments and recommendations to the BC Utilities Commission respecting ICBC's 4.9% Basic rate increase for 2016.
This 2011 document was adopted as government policy. It contains useful detail on the principles governing the operation of public utility regulators in the UK.https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31623/11-795-principles-for-economic-regulation.pdf
This Occasional Paper (No. 18) reviews ICBC claims data from 2012 to 2015 to attempt to identify cost drivers. The outlook for the medium term is as discussed.
Rowland Harrison's 2014 article on regulatory tribunal independence in Canada from the Energy Regulation Quarterly outlines the key attributes of independnce; http://www.energyregulationquarterly.ca/articles/tribunal-independence-in-quest-of-a-new-model#sthash.NZZpf46M.NvntTDP4.dpbs
Stephen Hume of The Vancouver Sun says lower speed limits and photo radar would reduce the frequency and severity of crashes: http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/stephen-hume-want-lower-icbc-rates-drop-speed-limits-get-tough-on-lead-foot-drivers
Pete McMartin of the Vancouver Sun writes about the growing cost of medical reports for soft tissue injuries; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-medical-reports-make-up-major-chunk-of-icbc-expenditure-insiders-reveal
Pete McMartin of The Vancouver Sun write about how BC is the ony province without some limit on minor pain and suffering claim awards; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-icbcs-death-by-a-thousand-fender-benders
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.
Ian Mulgrew in The Vancouver Sun reports on the rise in injury claims; http://vancouversun.com/storyline/ian-mulgrew-icbcs-claims-costs-balloon-fuelled-by-antagonistic-litigious-strategy
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reports on rift between the judiciary and government over rejected increase in civil tariff:http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-anton-plays-artful-dodger-over-court-fees-debacle
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reports on failed attempt to change civil rules tariff; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-attorney-general-under-fire-for-bowing-to-icbc-concerns
News 1130 story says Premier Clark fighting for affordable auto insurance rates.
Richard McCandless commentary in the Times Colonist about the high capital reserves at ICBC; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/letters/why-we-pay-too-much-for-auto-insurance-1.1497
Stephen Hume of The Vancouver Sun provides a fact-based review of how speed increases the chances of serious injury or death; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/stephen-hume-readers-wont-trade-away-speed-for-lower-insurance-rates
Pete McMartin's (the Vancouver Sun) srticle on the growing cost of the 25% senior discount on Basic insurance; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/pete-mcmartin-driving-is-getting-old-the-growing-burden-of-seniors-insurance
BC Hydro data on domestic sales 2006/07 to 2015/16 and three year forecast.
Adrian Dix asks Auditor General Bellringer to review ICBC finances in light of projected $1.5 billion capital requirement to continue the Basic rate subsidization; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/ndp-wants-auditor-general-to-review-icbc-finances
Times Colonist editorial syas politicians should stop using ICBC rates for political advantage; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-unshackle-icbc-from-politics-1.3341544
My thoughts and comments on recent events concerning ICBC's rates and financial condition.
My preliminary impressions of ICBC's Basic forecast filed on 23 November 2016.
Rob Shaw of The Vancouver Sun reports on the confusion caused by the government announcement that owners of luxury cars will no longer be covered by ICBC; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/confusion-lack-of-detail-plague-icbc-changes-on-luxury-autos
The Vancouver Sun editorial calls on the government to restore the BC Utilities Commission's authority to regulate ICBC rates, saying that the government's cap on Basic rates has put ICBC in an untenable financial position; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-political-interference-hobbles-icbc
Rob Shaw of the Vancpuver Sun reports on ICBC's five year Basic rate forecast; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-admits-42-per-cent-in-rate-hikes-possible-for-basic-auto-insurance
Richard McCandless, in The Times Colonist, outlines the looming financial crisis at ICBC; http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/be-prepared-for-icbc-rate-increase-shock-1.3101218
Rob Shaw reports in The Vancouver Sun about the potential financial crisis at ICBC;http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-finances-in-question-amidst-fight-to-keep-secret-rate-forecasts
Rob Shaw's article in The Vancouver Sun reporting on ICBC's reluctance to file a financial forecact with the BC Utilities Commission:http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbc-fighting-regulator-to-keep-future-rate-forecasts-from-public
An article from the Globe and Mail on how the growing use of non-standard accounting measures can distort the true financial condition of a company; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/inside-the-market/boost-earnings-manipulate-accounting-investing/article32021010/
Andrew MacLeod in The Tyee writes about my 10 June 2016 presentation to the Utilities Commission respecting BC Hydro's 2016 rate request;http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/06/15/Government-Manipulating-BC-Hydro-Finances/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=150616
This paper describes how the government's rate suppression policy has used ICBC's capital reserves to subsidize lower than required Basic program rates. In essence, the government is using policyholders' savings to keep the required rate increases from becoming an issue of public concern. Soon the capital reserve will be at minimum levels, and policyholders will be faced with the deferred bill.
Marvin Shaffer comments on how the government's clean energy policy and the promotion of private power generation has driven up BC Hydro's costs;http://www.policynote.ca/how-the-so-called-clean-energy-plan-wreaks-havoc-on-bc-hydros-rates/
An article by D. Barry Jay Epstein reviewing revenue recognition fraud in the US.
Andrew Macleod in The Tyee reports on Arian Dix's request to Auditor General Bellringer to review BC Hydro's rate smoothing deferral accounts; http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/06/10/BC-Hydro-Misleading-Accounting/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=100616
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.
Marvin Shaffer in The Tyee comments on the government's decision to apply industrial pricing for the new Woodfibre LNG plant; http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/11/16/BC-LNG-Power-Bills/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=161116
Norm Farrell reviews the rising costs of domestic electricity; https://in-sights.ca/2016/07/30/bc-hydro-destroyed-in-progress/
Norm Farrell's article in The Tyee discusses why BC Hydro's customers face massive rate increases; http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/09/12/BC-Hydro-Public-Interest-Private-Profits/
A comparison of how the governments of Ontario and BC subsidize electricity rates.
Andrew Macleod in The Tyee reviews my 10 June 2016 presentation to the BCUC panel reviewing BC Hydro's rates for 2016 to 2018, http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/06/15/Government-Manipulating-BC-Hydro-Finances/
Ian Mulgrew in The Vancouver Sun reviews the effects of greater rates of legal representation on ICBC's claims costs; http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/icbcs-claims-costs-balloon-fuelled-by-antagonistic-litigious-strategy
Ian Mulgrew of The Vancouver Sun reviews cost pressures on ICBC rates for 2016; http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/ian-mulgrew-icbc-lawyers-head-on-duel-a-side-show-rates-still-going-up
My submision to the BC Utilities Commission on ICBC's 2014 rate request, including a history of the capital reserve and government directives; http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Arguments/2015/DOC_43293_03-12-2015_McCandless_Final-Argument.pdf
My survey of ICBC's 2015 rate request and recommendations to the BC Utilities Commission; http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Arguments/2016/DOC_45935_03-14-2016_McCandless_Final-Argument.pdf
Vaughn Palmer reviews government control over BC Hydro rates in this September 2013 column; http://www.nationalpost.com/m/vaughn+palmer+utilities+commission+review+hydro+rates/8911020/story.html
Justine Hunter of The Globe and Mail interviews Hon. Bill Bennett following release of the Independent Review's report on the BC Utilities Commission; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/energy-watchdog-needs-more-independence-bc-government-told/article22791687/
Vaughn Palmer of The Vancouver Sun reviews the history of the BC Utilities Commission and Site C; http://www.vancouversun.com/vaughn+palmer+chance+public+review+site/11714172/story.html
Final report of the Independent Task Force on the BC Utilities Commission, released in early 2015. http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/electricity-alternative-energy/electricity/bcuc_review_final_report_nov_14_final.pdf
Justine Hunter Globe and Mail reports on the government approval of Site C without reference to the BC Utilities Commission; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-ignored-calls-for-oversight-in-site-c-dam-ruling/article22422910/
Article by Marjorie Griffen and John Calvert in BC Studies reviewing government policies and the impact on electricity prices; http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/issue/view/182282
Article in BC Studies by Malcolm G. Bird which surveys public public automobile insurance in Canada. http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/issue/view/182397
Rob Shaw reports on the the government's dependence on the net income from BC Hydro and ICBC. http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Government+grabbing+cash+from+ICBC+Hydro+they+raise+rates+charges/9527548/story.html
Commenting on the 2015 rate increase the Times Colonist advises the government to stop taking ICBC's surplus capital.http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-stop-bleeding-icbc-for-profits-1.2056594
A summary of how the BC government has stripped the BC Utilities Commission of its authority to set rates for BC Hydro and compulsory auto insurance.
How the government relies on ICBC's Optional insurance to generate excess profits. 3 June 2014.
Canadian public sector accounting rules treat the net income of self-supporting Crown corporations provincial revenue, even though the actual cash transferred can be significantly less, or zero. 21 September 2016
On 23 August 2016 the Times Colonist published a commentary co-written with Harry Swain; http://www.timescolonist.com/comment-hydro-pricing-what-the-minister-didn-t-tell-us-1.2328377
On 9 August 2016 the Times Colonist editorial highlighted how the government was taking ICBC's money.http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-stop-siphoning-off-icbc-money-1.2318590