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

Vehicle catches fire near China Creek Marina

No injuries in blaze, according to witnesses

North Island College issues brief statement on bomb threat

Threat forced college to close all campuses for one day

Premier wades into fishery closure debate

John Horgan questions the federal government’s approach

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Horse riders resurrect public riding ring near Port Alberni

Open house planned for July 22 so public can check out Beaver Creek facility

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Firefighters put out brush fire in Nanaimo

Fire broke out in the area of a new development under construction in East Wellington

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Most Read