Friday, February 01, 2013

The Smarter They Fall...Is It The Meters Or The Contracts?


When last we heard from him, former BC Liberal Party Golden Era Attorney General Mr. Geoff Plant was telling anyone who would listen that, when it came to the six million dollar BC Rail deal, a prior understanding was neither an agreement nor an inducement.

Or some such thing.

But lately Mr. Plant has taken to the Tweetmobile to make comments on the British Columbia body politic that are most interesting.

To say the least.

For example, the other day Mr. Plant took a swipe at Auditor General John Doyle.

Then, yesterday, it was this...


For me, the issue is not the meters themselves.

Instead, as is so often the case with the BC Liberal Party and its boosters, it is the matter of the contracts for the delivering of said meters that really has me shaking my head.

It is a story that Bob Mackin actually had almost two years ago, at that time in 24 Hrs.

Here is Mr. Mackin's lede:

The company awarded a $270 million B.C. Hydro smart meter contract is connected to one of the Crown corporation's B.C. Liberal-friendly directors, QMI has learned.

Itron, headquartered near Spokane, Wash., will supply 2 million of its OpenWay smart meters and a Cisco network, according to a Monday news release.

B.C. Hydro director James Brown is president of Canaccord Genuity, a Boston division of Vancouver investment house Canaccord Financial. In May 2009, Brown oversaw a $146 million Itron stock sale. Last month, Itron CEO Malcolm Unsworth appeared at Canaccord Genuity's annual sustainability forum in Park City, Utah.

Brown didn't respond to a QMI interview request. Since 2005, Canaccord has donated $290,630 to the Liberals. Elections B.C. records list Brown and his father, Canaccord founder Peter Brown, as principal officers.

B.C. Hydro chairman Dan Doyle told QMI via e-mail Brown disclosed his conflict of interest.

"He recused himself from the Jan. 14, 2011, board meeting wherein the Itron contract was discussed and approved," he said...


If you set everything up beforehand based on your inside knowledge of what's coming down the pike...And then step out of the room at the last moment just before the big decisions are made by your fellow board members on the inside...

Well,  everything is A-OK and ship-shape, right?

Sure thing.

But is that the last of it when it comes to insiders and the 'contracts' for the meters?

Of course not.

Again, back to Mr. Mackin's piece from the spring of 2011:

...Brown is not the only B.C. Hydro board member linked to a smart meter contractor. Director Tracey McVicar is responsible for CAI Private Equity's western Canadian operations, which include co-ownership of Vancouver-based Corix Utilities. Corix scored a $73 million contract to install smart meters. Doyle said McVicar recused herself from meetings when Corix was discussed...


Here's the real thing....

If all the BC Liberal Party cronyism, which has been repeated over and over and over again, and which has cost the people of British Columbia billions and billions of dollars, had actually transformed and powered our economy ahead I might be willing to give these people and all of their 'swagger' a break.

But, as the business-friendly Progress Board demonstrated definitively before the the current leader of the Crony-Capitalist Party killed it for good last year, our economy is neither transformed nor powering ahead.

Which drives me to distraction when I think about all of that money and all of that treasure that is no longer ours.

Money and treasure that could have been used to benefit all British Columbians rather than just the chosen few.




Anonymous said...

Again, I'm Aghast! Almost speechless, as the spittle dribbles in my beard.
These people act as if they're 'entitled' because they're a class (or two) above the rest of us. And they are! It's like taking candy from a baby, and until we put a stop to it they will continue to do so.
Unfortunately, voting them out is unlikely to put a stop to this debauchery - they are too firmly entrenched.
Don't let that stop you from voting them out though.
Not until we are struck by an asteroid will there be a levelling out where we will all be treated equally.
Colour me disgusted, disillusioned and depressed.
John's Aghast

Anonymous said...

The exact moment Campbell and his BC Liberals, forced the stupid smart meters on us? We knew there had to be a kick back or money involved somewhere. Why else would Campbell and his den of thieves, do such an idiotic plot? What kind of fools would force such a stupid venture on the people, during a deep recession? Perhaps the same idiots, who forced the HST on BC citizens, during that same deep recession?

Every dastardly deed of, Campbell's corrupt thefts and sales out of BC?? Most of those same BC Liberal Ministers, are still with us today.

Campbell and his Liberals stupid smart meters plot being corrupt? Is of no surprise, to anyone I know. We expected it to surface, at some time or another.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, the NDP won't do anything about such debauchery. They seem either equally entrenched or lacking the competence to see there are too many reasons to stop this program, instead they plan to keep it.

Hugh said...

I look at of the other things the BC Libs have done:

Corrupt sale of BC Rail.

BC Ferries flim flam.

Forcing BC Hydro to buy $52 billion worth of IPP power.

Privatization of 1/3 of BC Hydro in 2003.


You know that the smart meters are a bad thing when putting all that into context. The smart meters are about time-of-day billing and allowing GE's 'smart appliances'.

Also, CAI no longer holds Corix, according to their website.

RossK said...

Thanks Hugh.

So...flipped out for fun and even more profit after the deal was done?


e.a.f. said...

those of us who haven't agreed to have the meters installed have now received letters saying they "have" to be installed. I don't know where they get that idea. Not much in life "has to be". If lieberals don't have to ensure children get feed, hospitals kept clean then why to I "have to" have a stupid meter.

Nothing has changed for anybody with the new stupid meters except those who had huge bills and fires. The last time I checked this was still supposed to be a free country. I don't want the stupid meter. the last guy who came, told me he "had to talk to me". I told him no he didn't and I didn't have to listen. I have 4 ex husbands I didn't listen to and I wasn't listening to him. I think he got the drift.

North Van's Grumps said...

@Rossk.... oh but you jest surely....

If only it were true that AG Bond was turfed out and replaced by AG John Doyle!

....For example, the other day Mr. Plant took a swipe at Attorney General John Doyle

RossK said...

Woops...Will fix thanks NVG.


RossK said...

And why don't we have any Auditor Colonels anyway?


ron wilton said...

If you analyse the chart at the end of this article you will see that here in BC we are paying at least twice as much for our smart meters than anywhere else in the world listed there.


RossK said...

Thanks very, very much Ron.

Looking into it.


cfvua said...

Total agreement with this in that it is the insider trading parts of the near $Billon dollar boondoggle that get me the most. Just because a few of the finest of fine folks line their pockets at the expense of ratepayers doesn't make these meters necessary. They also won't save any money for ratepayers as a $billion buys a lot of power. No increase in production will result either. Just a recount of what is already being counted as it is produced. I will be watching for a sell off of blocks of production by Hydro to scam type operations who will offer "deals". Much like natural gas contracts that went the same way. I also sent in a letter refusing the change and one was installed anyway. Then I got the letter telling me I was getting one regardless. Now I will write one telling them to come and get it. Time for a little home generation project.

Anonymous said...

Its just the same old line your pockets at taxpayers expense, tell me how the government can spend 182 million on computer software for the social service ministry which is does not even work! ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS for software?
Im sure if someone digs into this BS will find LIBERAL fingerprints all over it!

kootcoot said...

" tell me how the government can spend 182 million on computer software for the social service ministry which is does not even work!"

Why does this make me think of Doug Walls?

Hugh said...

Here's something about GE's smart appliances, which need a smart grid in order to work:

As you know, GE is a massive company, which also is a partner in IPPs. They also sell turbines etc.

They would definitely want to see the smart grid built, IMO.

Anonymous said...

How do we know the "extra cost" of billing for 85,000 refusniks are false?

1/ Face it. Billing cost already is rolled into what all Hydro users pay (unless Hydro's accounting incompetence is vast.) How can there be an “extra cost” for something already covered?

2/ I think a primary objective of the smart meter installs was to allow Hydro to fire ALL meter readers. Result? With 1.7 million sites already metered, the cost of readers has plunged by 95%. Huge corporate savings.

3/ Only by consulting a Profit Maximization spreadsheet can there be any “extra” cost. To keep meter readers working on a mere 5% (85,000 homes) of Hydro users is peanuts. Subtract the meter readers fired from the existing cost of energy billing. An "extra cost" doesn't exist.

4/ To me, Hydro has implemented a slick scam to hyper-inflate consumer billing profits while ridding themselves of employees. Why? This method guarantees Hydro vastly more new profit... which then goes to? IPP owners.

5/ Campbell\Clark's liberal party backers [AKA: IPP Owners] are guaranteed - by contract – more than $53 BILLION over the next 30 years. By contract, homeowners must pay triple what Big Industry pays for energy. Is this fair, discriminatory or barking mad?

6/ Preferential billing on this scale is a province-wide regressive TAX. What it will do is

a/ further undermine ALL householder disposable income – money used to regrow and expand the BC economy.
b/ further lengthen BC's recession by cutting the only way out of BC's recession – Consumer Demand.

The reasons for opposing Hydro's billing scam are a simple matter of economic sanity opposed to out-of-control politically-initiated and sanctioned corporate greed.

Lew said...

I think @cfvua nailed it. The smart meters give the government and Hydro the ability to sell off electricity distribution to multiple operators. They don't even have to do it in discreet blocks; you could buy electricity from a different company than your next-door neighbour. They've already forced Hydro to buy power from their friends at exorbitant prices, now the next step is to turn us loose to seek "competitive pricing" on our own. Like this example: