It cost B.C. Hydro $17.5 million last year to ask eight Independent Power Producers of biomass energy to turn off production because their power was not needed, a sizeable figure that B.C.’s energy minister said actually resulted in millions of dollars in savings for ratepayers.
During estimate debates this week, Bill Bennett, the minister of energy and mines, said it would have cost B.C. Hydro about $26 million to buy the unneeded power from the biomass projects, meaning, he claimed, ratepayers realized savings of about $8.6 million.
Hydro critic Adrian Dix, however, framed the accounting differently, suggesting during the estimates debates that Hydro actually paid millions in contract penalties to the IPPs, which are all connected to pulp mills, to not produce electricity at a time when overall rates are going up.