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Site C Hydro Electric Project BC Utilities Commission Review

Thomas Hackney, BCSEA Policy Director
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Letter to Party Leaders John Horgan and Andrew Weaver

Dear Mr. Horgan and Dr. Weaver,

The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) heartily applauds your parties’ decision to refer the Site C hydro electric project to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for review. 

As the Policy Director of the BCSEA, I am writing to urge you to require the Commission to conduct a full public hearing as part of this review. Anything less risks failing to accurately determine whether continuing with Site C would be cost-effective and economically responsible for the citizens of BC. The BCSEA has participated in dozens of BCUC proceedings over the past ten years and is very familiar with the Site C project. With our experience in these proceedings and the knowledge we have on the project, a rushed timeline will not provide proper review. 

BC Hydro will almost certainly provide the Commission with a mountain of complex financial and technical evidence supporting a conclusion that continuation is cost-effective. A cursory review will not dislodge that mountain. For a proper review, BC Hydro’s evidence will have to be painstakingly scrutinized, spreadsheet by spreadsheet, and assumption by assumption. Specific errors or exaggerations in BC Hydro’s case will have to be identified and proven. Expert evidence will need to be presented in order to provide a fully accurate view of Site C’s cost-effectiveness in relation to the alternatives. Active intervention by public groups representing important perspectives will be essential to the success of the review.  

Fortunately, this is exactly what the Commission’s public hearings are designed for. But there is no shortcut. We ask that you follow the standard BCUC public hearing process. Cutting corners would negate the purpose of sending Site C to the Commission in the first place. It would be extremely unfortunate if the Government of BC is put in the position of deciding whether or not to continue with the Site C project without the benefit of a thoroughly credible, publicly tested opinion on whether it is truly cost-effective or not.  

We believe that sending Site C to the BCUC means sending it for a full public hearing. This is an exciting opportunity for all British Columbians. 

Thank you,

Thomas Hackney, Policy Director
BC Sustainable Energy Association 


CC:     Jessica McIlroy, Executive Director, BC Sustainable Energy Association
    Judy Fainstein, Director of Operations, Office of Andrew Weaver MLA
Adam Olsen, MLA Saanich North and the Islands, BC Greens Spokesperson on Intergovernmental Relations 
    Sonia Furstenau, MLA Cowichan Valley, BC Greens Spokesperson for Environment
George Heyman, MLA Vancouver - Fairview NDP Spokesperson for Environment, Green Economy, and Technology
    Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver – Kingsway, NDP Spokesperson for BC Hydro

PDF icon bcsea_request_on_sitec_review.pdf152.63 KB