BC Hydro action to engage with local stakeholders for agreeing the operational plan for the company business
The BC Hydro and Power Authority is a Canadian electric utility in the province of British Columbia. It serves 1.8 million customers and operates 30 hydroelectric facilities plus three natural gas thermal power plants. In 2009, 86.3 per cent of the area’s electricity was produced by hydroelectric generating stations, which consist mostly of large hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Peace rivers. BC Hydro’s various facilities generate between 43,000 and 54,000GWh of electricity annually, depending on prevailing water levels. In the 1990s, BC Hydro found itself at odds with local stakeholders who relied on the waterways for fishing, recreation, spiritual and cultural values, and as a source of fresh water. In response to growing tensions among other users, the company initiated discussions to seek resolution while the public authority (the province of British Columbia) initiated a water-use planning programme to define suitable parameters that balanced environmental, social and economic values. This water-use planning process involved stakeholders in the watershed, including First Nations, environmental organizations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the government of British Columbia and local communities. BC Hydro developed a series of scenarios that illustrated how each user of the ecosystem would be affected as the company altered two variables: reservoir level and river flow rate. Participants reviewed each scenario and used a value-based trade-off system to agree on an option. That option became the operating plan for the dams.