Rustad pans BCUC Site C report


John Rustad

Nechako Lake MLA John Rustad says Wednesday’s British Columbia Utilities Commission report on the Site C dam project was biased from the very beginning.

“The BCUC report was biased by the NDP through their Order in Council,” he posted on his Facebook page. “They forced BCUC to accept BC Hydro’s minimum estimate on future power use. The report also talks about amortizing the cost of ending Site C. Sorry, but you have to have an asset to amortize the cost. It would be nothing more than a debt that needs to be replayed by consumers or tax payers.”

The commission panel determined “BC Hydro’s mid-load forecast to be excessively optimistic and considers it more appropriate to use the low-load forecast,” regarding the province’s future energy needs. “In addition, the panel is of the view that there are risks that could result in demand being less than the low case.”

Rustad countered that if B.C. residents want to move away from internal combustion engines, just one-third of passenger vehicles using electricity would use more than 100 per cent of Site C’s production.

Rustad said cancelling Site C would result in a “$4 billion write off with nothing to show for it.” The commission determined that cancelling the project would cost $1.8 billion, on top of the $2 billion already spent.

The commission determined that should Site C continue, the project will likely cost more than $10 billion, which is significantly more than the $8.3 billion originally announced. In addition, the commission found the project will likely not be completed on time.

Rustad blames the NDP for both findings.

“First, the NDP’s delay this year cost the project about $610 million and delayed the project by a year because they forced BCHydro to miss this years construction windows,” Rustad posted. “The other estimates cost overruns are just that, a possibility that may not happen.”

He added the BCUC report does not appear to factor in the write off to the cost of alternatives, claiming that wind or other options would need to be replaced four or more times over the life of Site C, which does not seem to be factored in, including inflation.

“So many apparent holes in the BCUC report,” he said. “This seems more and more like a scam produced by the NDP to meet their political goal at the expense of tax payers in BC. This would be comical if it wasn’t such a tragedy.”

Rustad was a cabinet minister in the previous Liberal government which refused to submit the Site C dam project to an independent review by the utilities commission, which previously was standard in projects such as this.