Site C facing significant cost overruns and uncertainty, B.C. ratepayers at risk

For immediate release


July 31, 2020


VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus has issued the following statement in response to BC Hydro’s latest reports that reveal the overall health of the Site C project is at risk due to significant cost escalation and delays:


“This project should not be given a blank check to proceed at any cost imaginable - the NDP should seriously consider cancelling Site C,” said B.C. Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich-North and the Islands. “The NDP needs to be clear about the price and make a decision before river diversion takes place and we change the flow of the Peace River forever, which is scheduled for this fall. We will be holding this government accountable for the next moves they make.”


“I’m concerned that the government is saying Site C is past the point of no return, while admitting that they don’t know the current state of the project,” said MLA Olsen. “This leaves B.C. ratepayers at significant risk.”


“The cost escalations at Site C cannot be honestly blamed on COVID-19,” said MLA Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The overall project health was red as of December 2019, due to significant cost pressures from geotechnical instability and contract disputes. The issue of geotechnical instability has been raised by experts for years, so this risk should come as a surprise to no-one.”


“Despite what the government may claim, Site C was not past the point of no return when the NDP chose to forge ahead in 2017,” said MLA Furstenau. “At the time, the BC Utilities Commission found that cancelling Site C and replacing the electricity with renewables could be done at equal or lower cost to ratepayers.”


“The BCUC concluded 3 years ago that Site C faced considerable risks that had the potential to lead to further budget overruns, also warning that an in-service date of 2024 was unlikely,” said MLA Furstenau. “If the NDP had heeded those warnings 3 years ago, we would not be in the place we are today. Since their decision to continue forward with Site C, billions of dollars have been added to the price tag.”


The Confidence and Supply Agreement between the B.C. NDP and B.C. Green Caucus committed the government to sending Site C to the BC utilities Commission for review. In their 2017 report, the BCUC found that the government could cancel Site C and fill B.C.’s electricity needs from an alternative portfolio of renewables at equal or lower cost to British Columbians. The B.C. Green Caucus argued for cancelling the project at that point, but the B.C. NDP chose to go ahead.


Background:

November 1, 2017: British Columbia Utilities Commission Inquiry Respecting Site C, Final Report to the Government of British Columbia

  • The BCUC panel wrote, “given the nature of this type of project and what has occurred to date, total costs for the project may be in excess of $10 billion and there are significant risks that could lead to further budget overruns”.

  • The Panel found that these remaining risks include unresolved tension cracks and disputes with contractors.

  • As such, the Panel found that it is unlikely that Site C will be completed on schedule by 2024, and that construction costs could escalate even further beyond $10 billion.

December 4, 2017: Open letter to Premier John Horgan

December 6, 2017: The Case Against Site C Grows Stronger Every Day

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Media contact

JoJo Beattie

Press Secretary B.C. Green Caucus +1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca

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