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Company Facts & Financials

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Electricity Trade


C Hydro has constructed a world class system of storage dams, generators and high voltage transmission lines to serve the needs of BC customers. This system is capable of handling extremes in terms of weather and resulting "fuel" availability (i.e. runoff into the reservoirs). Every year the capability of the system can be used to generate more income - maximizing value - by selling electricity that is surplus to BC customers' immediate needs. This surplus can be due to periods of high rainfall and deep snowpacks, combined with lower domestic demand for electricity, resulting in overflow conditions at some of BC Hydro's reservoirs. Or it can be due to seasonal or even daily differences in the value of power on the market.

BC Hydro, through Powerex, its power marketing arm, markets electricity to customers in other parts of western Canada and the United States in ways that make maximum use of the flexibility of our hydro system, which helps keep BC's electricity rates among the lowest in North America and contributes to the annual dividend BC Hydro pays to the province.

In addition to the export of surplus electricity from the BC Hydro system, Powerex purchases surplus electricity from other producers in BC, western Canada and the United States for resale to its customers. This enables Powerex to earn even greater revenues for Hydro and the province, through the purchase and sale of electricity from outside the BC Hydro system.

The export sale of Hydro's hydroelectricity also has a positive influence on our global air quality - when we sell our surplus to other utilities in western Canada and the U.S., it often replaces power generated from thermal plants which produce harmful greenhouse gases. BC Hydro's Power Supply group ensures that BC's environment is protected under all operations by strictly following mandated environmental limits on operations.

The Power is Yours
Electricity trade activities generated revenues of over $300 million (1997/1998) to Powerex, the wholly-owned power marketing subsidiary of BC Hydro.

Powerex is a leading marketer of energy products and services with customers in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

By selling surplus power from the BC Hydro system and power purchased from outside the Hydro system, Powerex is helping maximize the efficiency of the BC Hydro system and generating more revenue for Hydro and the province.