Public Affairs Update Header
August 19, 2013
In This Issue
Powerex settlement reached
BC Green Party leader resigns
BC NDP posts MLA expenses online
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

Powerex settlement reached
Powerex has reached an out-of-court settlement with California utilities, the California Attorney General and other California parties (California Parties) resolving claims related to the 2000 to 2001 California power crisis. The settlement relieves Powerex of a potential $3.2 billion liability from the ongoing actions of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against the electricity trading companies.

Powerex, a BC Hydro subsidiary, was accused of manipulating energy prices during the California energy crisis and, in the settlement, will pay US$273 million in cash and offer the state electric utilities a credit worth US$477 million.

Powerex is one of 60 electricity trading companies accused of selling power to California at inflated prices during that time when areas of the state experienced shortages that led to rolling blackouts and other emergencies.

Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines, said that the settlement will have no effect on B.C. ratepayers. He stated that though the ministry was not pleased with the settlement, the risk to B.C. taxpayers in a long and costly legal negotiation was too high.

BC Green Party leader resigns

Jane Sterk will resign as leader of the Green Party of BC at their AGM on August 24, she announced this week on Twitter.

Sterk ran in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill, but lost to BC NDP candidate Carole James in the May provincial election. She had already indicated she would resign as leader if she failed to win a seat.

Jane Sterk first joined the Green Party in 2001. She ran in the 2004 federal and 2005 provincial elections failing to win a seat. She ran in the Victoria municipal election and won a Council seat in 2008.

She won the Green Party leadership in 2007 when the former leader, Adrienne Carr, resigned.

BC NDP posts MLA expenses online

The BC NDP caucus has posted detailed expense reports for MLAs for the month of July.

These reports provide a summary of travel costs that have been claimed and processed on a monthly basis while members are working outside of their constituencies. They will be posted each month going forward.

NDP Caucus chair Shane Simpson wrote to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee in July to advise them of the New Democrat caucus plans.

The NDP caucus has been encouraging the Legislative Assembly to support more detailed routine disclosure of travel expenses for all MLAs and cabinet ministers.

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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.