Merritt-Coquitlam power line completed

A year behind schedule and over-budget, high-voltage line subject to arbitration between BC Hydro and its contractor

A year behind schedule and $18 million over budget, the latest high-voltage line of the BC Hydro grid has been completed from Merritt to Coquitlam.

The new line parallels the existing main line supplying the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island from hydro dams on the Peace and Columbia Rivers. It was originally to be completed in 2014, but the main contractor fell behind and BC Hydro used its own crews to complete one of the most difficult portions, a 19 km stretch north of Hope.

The final cost for the 247 km line is expected to be $743 million, which Energy Minister Bill Bennett said is about two per cent more than the initial $725 million budget.

“There is an ongoing arbitration between BC Hydro and [contractor] Flatiron Graham as to who’s going to bear the cost of the delay, because the project was delayed by a year,” Bennett said in an interview Friday.

It’s the first 500-kilovolt line added to the BC Hydro grid in 40 years, to keep up with demand from a growing southwestern B.C. population and increase reliability in the event of disasters.

“You always have the potential for a big avalanche or a mudslide, even an earthquake, to take out one or two of your big transmission lines, bringing electricity in from the two rivers, the Columbia and the Peace,” Bennett said.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said the project started out with a $600 million estimate, making it $143 million over budget. He said it’s the latest in a series of cost overruns, including the Northwest Transmission Line north of Terrace, the Dawson Creek-Chetwynd line and the Iskut extension in the northwest.

Bennett said BC Hydro is under-budget on its overall capital construction plan, including $100 million under budget on reconstruction of five generating units at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River, and there is no additional effect on rates.

BC Hydro is committed to a capital budget of $2.4 billion a year for the next 10 years, including construction of the Site C dam on the Peace River and reconstruction of the Ruskin Dam in the Fraser Valley and the John Hart Dam on Vancouver Island.

 

Just Posted

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Settling a Debate About Impeding Traffic

We think it’s the slow drivers that cause problems but it’s seldom the case

SPCA looking for the best of the best wildlife photos

Wildlife-In-Focus photography contest

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read