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Category Archives: BC Utilities Commission

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No Easy Way Out: BC Utilities Commission Issues Final Report Following Site C Inquiry Process

Posted in BC Utilities Commission

During BC’s provincial election campaign in May 2017, the NDP promised to send the Site C project for review by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) if it was elected. Site C, a multi-billion dollar project to construct a third dam and generating station on the Peace River in northeast BC, had received approval from the previous BC Liberal government to begin construction in December 2014. After taking the reins of provincial government in July 2018, newly sworn in Premier John Horgan made good on his party’s promise and the government issued an Order in Council (OIC) requesting that BCUC undertake … Continue Reading

B.C. Government to Exempt Two Projects from BCUC Review in Response to Load Growth from Upstream Natural Gas Operations in the Peace Region

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, BC Utilities Commission, Electricity, Natural Gas, Transmission, Utilities
British Columbia

Following a stakeholder consultation this summer, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines is planning to exercise its authority under the Utilities Commission Act (British Columbia) (the “UCA”) to exempt two transmission projects, the North Montney Power Supply (“NMPS”) project (proposed by Alberta-based ATCO) and the Peace Region Electricity Supply (“PRES”) project (proposed by BC Hydro), from review by the BC Utilities Commission (the “BCUC”) under Part 3 of the UCA. Among other things, this exemption would relieve BC Hydro and ATCO from the requirement under section 45 of the UCA to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity … Continue Reading

B.C. Government Releases Independent Report Providing Recommendations to Increase BCUC’s Effectiveness and Efficiency

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, BC Utilities Commission, Electricity, Regulation
British Columbia

On February 4, 2015, the B.C. government released the final report of an independent review of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the independent governmental regulatory agency that regulates British Columbia’s natural gas and electricity utilities, intra-provincial pipelines and universal compulsory automobile insurance.… Continue Reading

BC Government Releases 10 Year Plan for BC Hydro; New Rates to Fund Reinvestment and Debt Reduction

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, BC Utilities Commission
British Columbia

The BC government has announced a 10 Year Plan for BC Hydro in which the province aims to minimize rate increases while allowing BC Hydro to reinvest in its aging assets and infrastructure.  As we noted in a prior blog post, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review, previously indicated that BC Hydro rate increases were imminent in view of the ongoing refurbishment of BC Hydro’s heritage generation facilities.… Continue Reading

BC Hydro Subsidiary Powerex Settles Energy-Price Dispute with California

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Utilities Commission, Electricity, Power, Powerex
British Columbia

Powerex, BC Hydro’s wholesale energy trading subsidiary, has settled a long-running dispute with Californian utilities regarding claims that Powerex sold power at inflated prices during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis. Including Powerex, 60 electricity trading companies were active in the California power market during the crisis. To date, 47 energy sellers have settled separately with the Californian utilities.

The out-of-court settlement provides that Powerex will pay US$750 million to resolve the dispute: a US$273 million payment to the Californian utilities by Powerex, and a credit of US$477 million for monies owed by the Californian utilities to Powerex for unpaid power … Continue Reading

BC Hydro Rate Hike Imminent, Warns Energy Minister

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Utilities Commission, Electricity
British Columbia

British Columbians should brace themselves for further BC Hydro rate increases. This past Thursday, BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett acknowledged that the utility needs to hike its rates to cover the cost of capital projects and to service existing debt. But the Minister was unable to provide specifics, indicating that the government will discuss the issue and make a decision in the coming months.

BC Hydro is currently in the middle of a $3.4 billion, province-wide capital program. Much of BC Hydro’s infrastructure has been in operation for decades and requires substantial upgrades to maintain operational efficiency and meet current … Continue Reading

Replacement of John Hart Generating Station Announced

Posted in BC Hydro, BC Utilities Commission, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Hydroelectric
British Columbia

 The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) released its decision on February 8, 2013, approving BC Hydro’s application to replace the John Hart Generating Station (John Hart). John Hart, located in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, has been in operation since 1947. The 126-megawatt station was the first of three generating stations constructed on the Campbell River and is one of the oldest electricity generating facilities in BC Hydro’s entire system. The station and the six-dam structures that surround the John Hart Reservoir represent 17% of the total generating capacity BC Hydro can access on Vancouver Island. BC Hydro cites seismic risk, Continue Reading

Amendments to the “Utilities Commission Act” Empower BC Utilities Commission

Posted in BC Utilities Commission, Regulation, Wind
British Columbia

 The BC government introduced B.C. Reg. 316/2012 on November 9, 2012, bringing into force amendments to the Utilities Commission Act (the Act) made under the Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act, 2012 (the Amendments).

The Amendments’ principal feature is the introduction of a new administrative penalty regime to ensure that utility companies, natural gas marketers and ICBC comply with the Act. The Amendments provide the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) new wide-ranging powers to issue administrative penalties and remedial orders for non-compliance. These powers include the ability to:
  • determine, after a hearing, a person has contravened the Act or an order
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