Former BC Hydro CEO critical of Site C project

DeSmog Canada, the social media website, which bills itself at the country’s only news source dedicated to exploring solutions to clearing up Canada’s polluted public square, has published another critical Site C dam story, quoting a former BC Hydro CEO.

Now in his seventies, Marc Eliesen, has worked in the nation’s energy sector for four decades, and has also served as Chairman and CEO of Ontario Hydro, and chairman of Manitoba Hydro.

In the DeSmog Canada article he says, BC ratepayers will face a devastating increase in their electricity bills, if the Site C dam is built, and, he puts the increase, “Anywhere between 30 and 40 per cent over the next three years.”

He also accused Hydro of adopting a price structure that results in everyday British Columbians subsidizing heavy power users.

He said, “Whether it’s mining, or proposed LNG plants, or anything of that nature, they’re not paying their fair share.”

Noting the BC government has steadfastly rejected calls for a Site C review by the BC Utilities Commission, he claims other jurisdictions are doing much more thorough analyses of similar hydro projects.

He cited as an example two of them in Manitoba, for which he was an advisor, claiming, “They went through the most detailed evaluation by the Manitoba Public Utilities Board that could have taken place.”

The report noted, when Mr. Eliesen was President and CEO of Hydro in 1993—during the early years of the New Democrat government of Mike Harcourt—he issued a public statement, saying Site C would never be built, because of its significant negative environmental, economic and social impacts.

However, he now argues that position quietly went by the wayside when Gordon Campbell and the Liberals took control of the provincial government in 2001, and since then he says, the project costs have nearly doubled.

He also agrees with those, like Harry Swain, who chaired the project review panel that, “There’s no immediate need for Site C or any other alternative energy.”