Reports of an abnormally low snowpack across British Columbia mean we’re probably looking at another devastatingly dry forest fire season this summer. That’s not good news. But it also means the province’s dams and reservoirs are going to see dangerously low water levels this year. And that means BC Hydro’s ability to generate electricity is going to be impaired again this year just like it has been in most recent years over the past decade.
We certainly can’t control the weather, but it has not helped the situation that no money was spent to maintain or improve BC Hydro’s dams and facilities during the 1990s. As a result, we’re now having to catch up all at once and BC Hydro is having to spend billions and billions of dollars in a short span of time to bring their dams and power stations up to current standards.
Yes, the billions of dollars that BC Hydro is spending to refurbish their mega dams and install new generators (ones that can extract more power from less water) is causing our hydro bills to go up. But what we’re really paying for is the lack of maintenance and investment on these mega dams and facilities during the 1990s; neglect that’s now left us having to take the hit all at once.
The good news (because there has to be some good news) is that, even with BC Hydro’s multi-billion reinvestment in its hydro dams and facilities, British Columbia still has one of the lowest electricity rates in North America. And as the global economy starts to reconnect, our low electricity rates and clean hydro power will help attract new investment and jobs to our province.