BCUC takes BC Hydro to task

June 11, 2014

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has some tough questions for BC Hydro and Metro Vancouver's Burnaby-based garbage incinerator. In response to a recent filing for an Electricity Purchase Agreement, the utilities commission has responded by questioning BC Hydro's pricing scheme and the incinerator's negative impact on the environment. The proposed new agreement would also fail to create any new jobs in the province.

As an intervener, the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) applauds the BCUC for demanding analytical rigour when it comes to requests for energy to be recognized as “clean or renewable.” This preferred status should only be granted to energy that actually meets the conditions set out in the Clean Energy Act. Burning garbage does not conserve resources or reduce greenhouse gases. By incorrectly labelling the energy as clean, BC Hydro would pay substantially more for the electricity than necessary, causing ratepayers across the province to falsely subsidize this facility.

Metro Vancouver’s own data shows that more than half of the energy generated by the Covanta-operated Burnaby incinerator comes from plastic, which is a non-renewable resource. “Plastic should be recycled, not burned,” says FVRD Chair Sharon Gaetz. “Recycling plastic supports valuable recycling markets and minimizes our carbon footprint.”

It is anticipated that this recent correspondence from the BCUC will be discussed at Metro Vancouver’s next Zero Waste Committee meeting scheduled for June 12.