The City of Williams Lake is speaking out against a bill that “would hurt independent power producers,” according to Mayor Walt Cobb.
The City announced at the July 14 council meeting that they were in the process of sending a letter to both the provincial government and opposition on Bill 17. If passed, the bill would give BC Hydro great flexibility to import electricity from the United States.
“We have Atlantic Power in Williams Lake that produces electricity into the grid. We have a number of communities around us that have now installed and are using solar energy, and at the end of the day, these will all become redundant if this portion of the bill is approved,” said Cobb.
Cobb noted that they don’t have a problem with the entirety of Bill 17, just the portion of it that would not allow independent power producers or becoming self-sufficient within the area.
“They believe we can buy cheaper electricity from California. To me, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of, that we would not become self-sufficient in British Columbia when we have the ability to do that,” he said, “We would depend on somewhere like the U.S. or California, that still owes millions of dollars for the power that we sold them years ago.”
He added that he is also worried about what the American government might deceive to do with tariffs as they have already done with lumber.
Cobb said that if the bill is passed, it would be a step backwards.
“We want to become self-sufficient where we can, and whether that be solar, it be wind, or it is producing electricity from wood waste,” he said. “I, as a citizen, would be prepared to pay maybe a little bit more for my BC Hydro to know that we are being self-sufficient and creating those jobs, rather than depending on another country.”
Currently, the letter is the process of being drafted.