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

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

Victoria police will be making numerous arrests throughout the day Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Numerous arrests today part of Victoria police #WarrantWednesday project

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

A tip from the public helped Victoria police located and arrest wanted men Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Tips lead police to arrest convicted killer, robber near downtown Victoria

Two men were at large after failing to return to community facility

Police are warning people of flu shot and vaccination frauds. (Black Press Media file photo)
Flu shot fraud charges West Shore resident for non-existent appointments

Fraudulent email claimed to be from London Drugs

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in Juan de Fuca Strait

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Extensive water on No. 4 and 5 at the Mount Brenton Golf Course following heavy rains earlier this month. (Photo submitted)
Island golf course does a booming business in 2020

A total of 15,000 more rounds played than the previous year at Mount Brenton

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

Most Read