They say the greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about. That definitely holds true for the misguided criticism I’ve seen directed at B.C.’s clean energy sector over the past several years.
In truth, most people haven’t got a clue how, or even where, their electricity comes from. For all they know it just appears out of thin air like a genie from a bottle.
That’s why it’s been so easy for so many people to be misled about energy issues in B.C. in recent years and so blindly accepting of such fairy tale notions as BC Hydro’s supposed ability to generate electricity for next to no cost compared to the private sector.
BC Hydro does a great job securing and coordinating B.C.’s electricity supply and getting it to our homes and businesses. But BC Hydro can’t generate electricity at near zero cost any more than you or I could run our households for no cost. It’s an economic impossibility.
What BC Hydro has been able to do (or should I say forced to do) is put off costly upgrades to the big hydro dams our parents and grandparents bought and paid for when we were mere kids. In a way that’s been great for us because it’s kept our hydro rates down at unrealistically low levels.
But it’s also fuelled the unfortunate myth noted above that BC Hydro can generate electricity at next to no cost compared to the private sector. That’s the real shame in all of this and it’s also the real danger.
We can, of course, go on being blissfully ignorant to the facts and keep on putting off our generation’s overdue contribution to the upkeep and expansion of B.C.’s electrical system. At least until those systems stop working and we’re forced to attend to them.
But are we really being fair to our kids and grandkids if we choose blissful ignorance over the prudent maintenance of our electrical system? No, it’s not fair at all.
Allowing ourselves to be fooled and misled by ignorance is simply not acceptable, especially when it comes to something as fundamentally important as our province’s electrical system and what we owe to future generations.