On-budget transmission lines? More like Fawlty Towers (Vancouver Sun)
BC Hydro has exceeded the budgets on four major transmission line projects in recent years, with the combined overruns totalling half a billion dollars.
The biggest overrun was on the Northwest Transmission Line, constructed to supply electricity to mines and other developments in the northwest corner of the province.
Budgeted at $395 million when Premier Christy Clark took office four years ago, the project had multiple upward revisions, the largest approved by the BC Hydro board just days after the last provincial election.
“Disappointing,” Finance Minister Mike de Jong called it. Which didn’t begin to capture the now-they-tell-us outrage from the New Democrats, rightly suspecting Hydro of holding back on the bad news until the votes were counted.
The Northwest line is now complete, with the finance ministry reporting the finished price at $716 million (“trailing costs remain”), down a bit from the high-water-mark budget of $746 million reported just after the election.
Only in the realm of government finance would the lower finished cost be characterized as coming in “under budget.” More accurate to say final cost was 80 per cent higher than the first budget.
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