BC Hydro pays $150,000 a day to an Alberta power corporation to be in standby mode

BC Hydro pays $150,000 a day to an Alberta power corporation to be in standby mode

Global News : Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:00 AM

Read it on Global News: Global BC | BC Hydro pays $150,000 a day to an Alberta power corporation to be in standby mode

It is a stunning example of the costs taxpayers bear for the promise of a stable supply of energy.

BC Hydro admits it is paying an Alberta power corporation $150,000 a day, just to be on standby.

The power plant is offline, in standby mode, and will stay that way unless Vancouver Island loses power.

Then the company must have things up and running on 24-hour notice.

BC Hydro says it’s just the cost of doing business.

“The amount we are paying them is to be a back-up resource, to be on standby. So you have to have the equipment in place, it has to be maintained, there has to be staff there, they have to be ready and able at any moment to start up,” says Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro Executive Vice-President.

“That is the service that we are asking of them, and they are providing it. We think that is good value for our customers. Electricity is important to the province and to the people of Vancouver Island, and that is what we are paying for.”

Capital Power of Alberta has locked out 14 employees in a labour dispute, but says it can run the plant with four managers.

But Alberta Power’s ability to run the plant with management staff leaves the union with serious safety concerns.

“We have operated this facility in approximately the last 18 months as an emergency generator available to be brought online in 24 hours,” says Frank Sputek, VP of CEP local 1123 in Campbell River. “In doing that, we have achieved $150,000 a day. We effectively make more money when we are in dispatch mode than when we are running.”

“What is going on there right now is just unheard of,” says Sputek. “The safety authorities are aware of it, and I think that they need to have discussions, certainly with the people down there. And if they believe for a second that these particular power engineers that are down there now can operate that without this workforce, they should really think twice before they actually roll the dice on that.”

Capital Power says no worries.

“People who are inside the facility have more than 30 years combined experience working at island generation, and more than 75 years combined experience working in the natural gas power generation industry,” says Michael Sheehan with Capital Power Corporation.

But O’Riley says they are taking safety very seriously.

“We have received insurances from the company that the people they have running the plant are experienced and have the technical qualifications to that work, so we are satisfied on that score.”

There is no word if and when capital power and the communications, energy and paper workers who are locked out might resume negotiations.

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COMMENT:
I saw this on Global News last nite
(NOTE: Click on Link to see news video)
This is sure news to me…I had no idea such infrastructrue and such a deal was in place.
The number are over $1 Million per week…over $50 Mliion per year.
I’d like to do  a paper trail and follow the money.
I don’t buy it…,this facility on “stand by” only ?
As usual, lets look peripherally. In theory, if the current power generation that supplies Vancouver Island is down….this facility may be a useful, but then its useful if the grid system on the Island is also intact.
I mean, if they have a Frankenstorm like the East Coast had recently…or an Ice Storm like Quebec had years ago…it is not the generation plants that are the problem, it is the rest of the system that is at risk.
Also, why not run this generation  plant, and sell the power into the grid. Or..is that ” privelege ” reserved for the expensive IPP power ?
Or, if this plant is built to specification to produce power for all of Vancouver Island, is there something else to be read into this….ie conspiracy theory = ” BC Hydro sell – off ” on the mainland to Private Interests ….BUT Vancouver Island is left out of the loop and serviced by another entity..perhaps via this Campbell River plant ? Is this a slow set -up…for the future agenda?
Again….never accept at face value, always look and think outside the box.
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