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Site C - Frequently Asked Questions

MINISTER MUNGALL NEEDS TO HEED INDEPENDENT ADVICE

Overview: Despite the just released final report of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) following its 3 month independent inquiry—in which the BCUC made important adverse findings against the case for Site C advanced by the former Liberal government and BC Hydro—NDP Minister Mungall reverted to relying on pro-Site C advisors to answer questions on Site C during Budget Estimates.

1. Who provided advice to Energy Minister Mungall on answers to questions on Site C during Budget Estimates? Answer - Chris O’Riley and Les McLaren.

2. Who is Chris O’Riley? Answer – He is BC Hydro’s President and Chief Operating Officer who advised the previous liberal government on proceeding with Site C. He described himself to the BCUC as being passionate in his support of Site C[1].

3. Who Is Les McLaren? Answer - He is an Assistant Deputy Minister who advised the previous liberal government on proceeding with Site C.

4. Does BC Hydro have a strong interest in continuing Site C? Answer – Yes.

BC Hydro has been pushing for the construction of the Site C dam since the 1980s.[2] The project was initially rejected in 1983, but, after decades of pursuing approval of Site C, the project was finally approved in 2014. In that time, BC Hydro failed to investigate and pursue alternatives it had been directed by BCUC to research, instead pursuing only the Site C option. BC Hydro has said that it does not have the core competency to build smaller alternatives.[3] BC Hydro management has staked its reputation on this project, claiming that its completion is the only way to satisfy the massive load they forecast.[4]

5. Was the independent British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) (which just completed a 298-page report on Site C) consulted on the answers Minister Mungall gave to questions on Site C during Budget Estimates? Answer - No.

6. What did the independent BCUC conclude about BC Hydro’s Site C submissions? Answer - the BCUC concluded that:

  1. Site C is over budget and behind schedule. The BCUC estimates costs are now at $10 billion.[5]

  2. BC Hydro's load forecast is highly doubtful and the BCUC has recommended the use of the low forecast.[6]

  3. The export assumptions are unrealistic. Again, the BCUC has recommended a much lower forecast.[7]

  4. Wind, solar, and geothermal are realistic alternatives. Prices have declined significantly and will continue to fall.[8],[9]

  5. The alternative resources cost less and are more deployable.[10]

  6. BC Hydro's planning methodology is undocumented and inaccurate.[11]