Installation of a fifth and sixth generating unit at Mica dam has taken eight years.

Dam expansion done as BC Hydro demand slumps

Four per cent rate increase expected next year to keep up with big maintenance, construction of Site C on the Peace River

BC Hydro has completed one of its mega-projects, expansion of the Mica Dam on the Columbia River to full capacity, as the utility weathers a slump in mining and continued delays in liquefied natural gas projects.

The addition of two water turbines to Mica cost $714 million, plus a new high-voltage transmission line to carry power to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. BC Hydro has also moved up plans to add a sixth turbine at the Revelstoke Dam, as work continues on the Site C project on the Peace River.

[A look inside the Mica Dam project here]

With major upgrades at the Ruskin Dam in the Fraser Valley and the John Hart Dam on Vancouver Island also underway, BC Hydro has applied for a four per cent rate increase to take effect on April 1, 2017. That follows increases of nine and six per cent in the past two years, mainly to finance major projects and pay down debt.

The four per cent rate is a one-year interim application to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which would add about $4 a month to the average residential electricity bill. Faced with mine shutdowns and uncertainty in large LNG projects, BC Hydro put off its three-year rate proposal when it filed the application in February.

Under a 10-year rate plan imposed by the B.C. government, rates are to increase 3.5 per cent in 2018 and three per cent in 2019. After that, authority over rate setting is to return to the BCUC.

Despite the current downturn for industrial customers, BC Hydro projects demand to increase 40 per cent over the next 20 years, due to population and industrial growth.

It has also scheduled major maintenance at Mica, with two original turbines built in the 1970s due to come out of service for 18 months each.

The B.C. government has proposed to Ottawa that a second power grid link to Alberta be built to help that province retire its coal-fired power plants.

 

Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

The long winding road to Tofino-Ucluelet—then and now

If you are feeling frustrated about the Highway 4 closures, sit back read about what came before.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Farm and Garden Show coming to Tofino

Greenthumbs unite at the Tofino Botanical Gardens from Feb. 22-24.

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

B.C. pot giant Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

Most Read