Phase 2 of the Comprehensive Review of BC Hydro

March 24, 2020 Update: The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is providing more time for the Phase 2 engagement process in response to COVID-19, including the BC Provincial Health Officer directions and the province’s declaration of a state of emergency. We are extending the engagement process into May 2020, and the release of the Final Report will be delayed until feedback from the engagement process is considered.

The interim report from Phase 2 of the BC Hydro Review (Phase 2) has been released and focuses on leveraging British Columbia’s clean hydroelectricity to meet the Province's climate goals, support economic development, and make life more affordable.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has worked with BC Hydro; energy industry experts with extensive experience in North American utility operation, technology, regulation and electricity markets; and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, to produce the interim report.

The report describes the scope, context and work-to-date for Phase 2 of the Review and presents a number of ideas for discussion, including:

  • optional rate designs to encourage the shift from fossil fuels to electricity in our vehicles, homes and businesses and achieve the emissions reduction  targets in CleanBC;
  • measures to expand the electrification of our growing economy and attract new, clean businesses to B.C. - creating jobs and opportunities for British Columbians;
  • changes to give BC Hydro more flexibility to meet future demand for electricity at the least cost to keep rates affordable;
  • a 100% clean electricity standard, which could be the first provincial standard of its kind in Canada; and
  • key issues and themes related to enhancing Indigenous Nations’ participation in the energy sector and furthering reconciliation.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources will now gather further feedback from stakeholders, customer groups and Indigenous Nations and organizations based on the interim report, which will support the development of recommendations for a final report to be completed later this year.

The objective of the Phase 2 Review is to develop recommendations that will strategically position BC Hydro for long-term success, while meeting  the province's climate goals, keeping rates affordable for British Columbians, furthering reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and supporting quality economic development.

Phase 1 of the Review of BC Hydro identified cost savings, efficiencies and other changes to keep electricity rates affordable and predictable over the long-term, while ensuring BC Hydro continues to be able to provide clean, safe and reliable electricity. 

As a result of Phase 1 actions, BC Hydro’s updated forecast rate increases for the next five years that was provided to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) would be approximately 55% lower than the 13.7% cumulative increase for the same period under the previous government’s 10-year rates plan, and more than 40% lower than the 10.7% forecast rate of B.C. inflation over the same period. BC Hydro is currently before the BCUC with a Revenue Requirements Application whereby its costs and expenditures are being reviewed.  BC Hydro is requesting a 1% rate decrease for April 1, 2020.

Also as a result of the Phase 1 actions, the Auditor General of BC removed her qualification on the Province’s Public Accounts in 2018/19, following qualifications in each of the prior two years, stating that “Government has made a number of changes to the regulatory framework, giving the regulator the ability to influence costs and rates. I believe the changes made to the regulatory framework are sufficient to allow me to remove my qualification on the use of rate-regulated accounting for the year ending March 31, 2019.”

The Phase 2 Review will be a broad, transformational review that will consider some of the significant changes and shifts taking place in B.C. and continental energy sectors, in addition to evolving technologies and the changing needs of current and future BC Hydro customers.  Phase 2 will leverage BC Hydro's strengths and focus on:

  • BC Hydro’s role in supporting CleanBC and meeting the Province’s legislated 2030, 2040 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets;
  • future opportunities or new roles for Indigenous Nations and for communities in the energy sector;
  • integrating new technologies and electricity market trends into BC Hydro’s structure, services and assets while keeping rates affordable; and
  • new opportunities for BC Hydro to expand its business in markets outside B.C. to the benefit of ratepayers.

Phase 2 is being guided by the Comprehensive Review of BC Hydro Phase 2 - Terms of Reference (PDF, 121 KB).

Phase 2 of the Review will support the development of BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to be filed with the B.C. Utilities Commission in 2021. The IRP outlines how BC Hydro plans to safely provide reliable, affordable, clean electricity to meet customers’ needs now and into the future.

The following external energy industry experts are providing advice to Phase 2:

David Bibby, North Vancouver, B.C.

David Bibby has over 25 years of experience in strategic technology leadership within growth-oriented global organizations. He has been the head of Global Digital Services at Finning International since January 2016. Prior to this, he held positions as the vice-president, Information Technology, at Vancity Savings and the senior vice-president of technology at Canaccord Genuity Corporation.

Gwenne Farrell, White Rock, B.C.

Gwenne Farrell worked as a vice-president of MoveUp from May 2005 until November 2018. Prior to that she worked as a financial analyst with BC Hydro. In the spring of 2007, Gwenne was also elected to the office of secretary-treasurer of Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE), Local 378’s national union. 

Mark Jaccard, Vancouver, B.C.

Mark Jaccard has been a professor since 1986 in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University. From 1992 to 1997 he served as chair and chief executive officer of the B.C. Utilities Commission. He has published over 100 academic papers, most of these related to his principal research focus: the design and application of energy-economy models that assess the effectiveness of sustainable energy and climate policies. 

Stephen Koch, Ottawa, Ontario

Stephen Koch is the director of emerging issues at the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), the national voice of electricity in Canada. As director of the National Emerging Issues Committee, Stephen works with senior CEA members and industry experts to identify, predict, and prepare for technological innovations and potentially disruptive market changes across the energy sector. Stephen was previously president of the Oil Heat Association, executive director of NAIMA Canada, and held other leadership roles which included chairperson of Envirocentre.

Caitlin Liotiris, Salt Lake City, Utah

Caitlin Liotiris has expertise in electricity market development, regional transmission planning and policy, and energy procurement arenas. Her work includes advocacy at regional forums, performing market and regulatory evaluations, and facilitating the incorporation of new policies and market structures into modelling tools.  She is a principal at Energy Strategies.

Annita McPhee, North Vancouver, B.C.

Annita McPhee is from the Tahltan/Tlingit Nations in British Columbia. An expert in Aboriginal engagement and communications, Annita is the principal of Annita McPhee Strategies and provides strategic advice to industry and numerous First Nations communities. As the former three-term president of the Tahltan Central Government, she was instrumental in negotiating more than $2 billion worth of agreements on behalf of the Nation for BC Hydro’s northwest transmission line and associated run of river projects. Annita’s academic background includes having a degree in law, a Bachelor of Social Work, and public relations.

Liisa O'Hara, West Vancouver, B.C.

After a lengthy career as an executive in the energy transportation business, Liisa O’Hara served as commissioner to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) for 10 years. As BCUC commissioner, Liisa participated in oversight of the province’s natural gas and electricity utilities, the regulation of rates, and the development of new facilities. As commissioner, she also developed a strong interest in clean energy solutions. 

Blake Shaffer, Calgary, Alberta

Blake Shaffer has extensive experience in the energy sector, with a specific focus on electricity markets. Blake’s 15-year career has taken him from the trading arm of BC Hydro, to Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital in New York as a senior energy trader, and director of energy trading at Transalta Corporation in Calgary, Alberta. He is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Calgary, department of economics.

Dan Woynillowicz, Victoria, B.C.

Dan Woynillowicz is an accomplished non-profit leader working to identify and implement climate solutions. An experienced analyst, strategist and advocate, he has significant knowledge and experience in the fields of energy and environmental policy. He joined Clean Energy Canada in December 2012 as policy director.