Terasen Gas and BC Hydro want 2010 security upgrades
Lately, we've been talking a lot about Olympic security -- but here in British Columbia, we're going to be hit with previously unknown 2010 Olympic security costs...and they're going to be put directly in the public's mailboxes.
This week, the RCMP and military have been conducting a pre-Olympic security exercise. We still don't know how much all this security will cost, but now, there's a new, hidden security cost that you've probably never thought of -- the gas and electricity lines.
Terasen gas says it will spend nearly $4 million to protect B.C.'s natural gas lines, including those that fuel the Olympic facilities."
This comes in the wake of recent bombings to Encana gas lines in Northeastern B.C. For terrorists, these are prime targets with the power to endanger lives and disrupt world events.
And it's not just gas lines needing protection. BC Hydro says it needs $7 million to ensure secure delivery of power during the Olympics.
So who will pay for security on the B.C. utilities?
"That means taxpayers are on the hook for that. So that's another cost," said Carole James, leader of the NDP, addressing the legislature on Wednesday.
"How many in a long list of costs has this minister and this government not come clean on? Taxpayers are concerned," said her colleague, NDP energy critic John Horgan. "When [Finance Minister Colin Hansen] finally comes clean and tells us the honest cost of security, will it include costs to Terasen Tas, costs to BC Hydro, cost to TransLink? Will he be honest? What's the bill?"
This was the first time the Terasen issue was raised in the legislature, but the minister in charge of the Games was caught off guard.
"I think the question was will BC Gas customers pay more for the Olympic games, and I have no idea what he means by that question," said Hansen.
Regardless of the precise amounts, taxpayers -- and now utility rate payers -- are on the hook.
When the world goes back home, the bills will start rolling in. In 2011, Terasen has permission to put a surcharge on all gas bills for two years.
At BC Hydro, no decisions have been made yet, and as for how much this going to cost the average customer, those details haven't been worked out either.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty.