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.

  • Destiny Ashdown

    Everyone knows the delays were caused by ongoing instability on the banks and disputes between contractors about who would fork the cost to remediate the tension cracks as well as the discovery of an old oil and gas well directly on the dam site that needed to be filled and sealed.
    Why are proponents still believing Liberal rhetoric will sell site c when the public expressly voted no to lies

  • Jo G

    “you have to have an asset to amortize the cost”. All or parts of it would be an asset for future restarts.
    Example, start building a building – a house, an apartment building, an office downtown – there might be a foundation up, even a first floor slab, some engineering and architectural plans,rezoning hearings, and on and on it goes ….. something happens to cause the developer to stop …. then start again.

    We just saw that happen in PG with the Delta … presto changeo and it turned into a Marriot ….. the asset may have depreciated, but it was still a capital asset, including the work which it too to get rezoning, permits, services, road closures, etc. which started off as intangible assets and ended up being tangible assets as the plans were used towards the construction.

    Furthermore, “they forced BCUC to accept BC Hydro’s minimum estimate on future power use”. What do you mean “forced”. Any reasonable commitment for future use of an asset should undergo a sensitivity analysis using low and high projections for the various variables. If it doesn’t, it is not to best practices.

    All that being said, I think I would not use the “stop the project” option. Hydro is still the cheapest power far into the future as we can see it now. It is a saleable item, both within BC and outside of BC to our next door neighbours who do not have the advantage of having quality hydro capacity. We were given that legacy by nature and the foresight of past governments. and we should take advantage of it.

    Of course, if the government is too dumb to see the advantages, then it may be time to change it once more. That, in itself could become an industry …. although a very inefficient one.

    • Gord Okell

      Hmm where’s the private sector on this one they wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole they ‘ll wait until the wall is hit and try to pick up for 10 cents on the dollar who the fuck
      does this neoliberal Rustad think he s conning get real folks their corrupt con artist white collar crimminals .The interior and northern interior folks have to see them for what they really are some do and a lot just won’t face reality

  • PVEA_Coordinator

    I don’t see how this can be considered an NDP scam, given that the BCUC commissioners were the same ones that the Liberals had appointed prior to the provincial election.
    Further, this isn’t just the BCUC coming up with these findings – there are numerous, renowned experts who brought this information forward, often reinforcing one another.
    It’s the Liberals who were trying to pull the wool over British Columbians’ heads by firing up this project before a thorough assessment of the economics and need could be conducted. Further, they ignored the advice of the environmental assessments joint review panel, who strongly recommended that the business case be more comprehensively assessed before proceeding to construction.
    The NDP are to be commended for requesting a thorough assessment of this project before it wastes several more billion dollars of the taxpayers’ money. If Site C proceeds, we will end up with a $10 billion plus white elephant.
    Why would anyone build such an expensive project when the need and demand are unconfirmed? A project that will take 70 years to pay off – do you really think that in 70 years we will still be depending on antiquated hydro power for our energy needs? Technology evolves exponentially and will continue to do so. We can do better. There is no need to put ourselves at this kind of risk.

    • Jo G

      Ah ….. warp drives in 70 years …. kill all the hydro dams in the world and build resorts around the reservoirs …. with electromagnetic shields to control the climate …..

      Then again, we are going back to the ancient art of harnessing wind power …. 3,000 years in the making, as is hydro to irrigate fields

  • Randal Hadland

    Yup, the ‘Liberals’ are blaming the NDP for having the BCUC look at the Site C dam mistake that the ‘Liberals’ made because they wouldn’t go to the BCUC. That Liberal mistake could end up costing us 4 Billion dollars that are going to go on our Hydro bills. More power to the NDP and Greens for going ahead with this inquiry. Without it we wouldn’t have found out that including that massive bill, and also finding other alternatives to Site C, we are still ahead going with the alternatives. How corrupt or ignorant would a government have to be, to try and get such a money loser as Site C past the point of no return?

  • rigormortice

    Rustad knows that Site C is a huge fiasco. He is trying to put on a brave face, because he knows that he, and the Liberal party will be held responsible for the Site C fiasco for many years into the future. They will of course try to blame the NDP, which it seems is about all they ever do,.

    The Liberals are cooling their heels in opposition because of their inability to be truthful, and their ability to completely ignore the problems facing residents of BC. The Liberals are not solution finders, they are problem creators, and as such need to take a long vacation in opposition to recharge their batteries, and to learn how to work with and appreciate the people of this Province.

    Alberta is in the process of building a number of natural gas electric generating plants, and in the very near future will no longer need any power from BC. The USA is also going into gas generating plants to supply their electrical needs. So in effect we will have no market for Site C power as we go forward. BC can as suggested by the BCUC restart Burrard Terminal Thermal plant, and look at siphoning off some of the power we have access to from the Columbia River Treaty. In addition we could build at least one two stage gas generating plant in BC in the next few years that would supply almost the same amount of power as Site C. So we have options that could supply us power for the next 50/100 years with little of no effort.

    Site C will be the White Elephant that will haunt the Liberals for years to come. They will receive flack if its built and flack if it is not built. This certainly was not on of their defining moments. (If they ever had a defining moment)

    Horgan on the other hand will have to take the flack up front. He will get opposition if he goes ahead with the project, and a hell of a lot more opposition if he does not cancel it. This will be his defining moment. Does he have the gonads to cancel Site C take the flack, and look after the interests of the whole Province?? We should find out pretty soon.

  • gramma

    dear mr. response may i suggest you and your completely corrupt, incompetent, sleazy government created this whole mess by accepting a crook as a leader and being led around by the nose like spineless worms. all the woman wanted was more top ups from her greedy donors and you are complicit.