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Government may loosen BC Hydro’s hold on market

THE NEWLY ELECTED provincial government of British Colum-bia, Canada, is planning a review of BC Hydro’s operations. At present BC Hydro holds a near monopoly in the provincial power market, and analysts expect the review will open the market to more competition from the private sector.

Critics have long complained that BC Hydro’s ownership of the province’s transmission grid has stifled development of independent power facilities, such as small hydroelectric plants or wind turbines. They claim that BC Hydro, as the only potential purchaser of electricity, offered prices that were far below market rates.

BC Minister of Energy and Mines has stated that preliminary work on the core review has already begun. It will include a detailed assessment of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority’s current generating capacity, future demand and what role coal, gas-fired and green energy sources, such as wind and solar, could have in the utility’s future. Currently BC Hydro produces over 97% of its energy from hydro dams in the province of British Columbia.