Hat tricks

Last month, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld announced Mossadiq Umedaly had been appointed chair of BC Hydro Corp.'s board of directors. But what the Crown corporation's news release didn't mention is that, despite that appointment, Mr. Umedaly would continue as chair of Xantrex Technology Inc. - which, among other businesses, manufactures "inverters, chargers, and accessories" for use by commercial solar and wind energy systems. But couldn't that lead some to question whether the former Ballard Power Systems Inc. executive is opening himself up to a future potential conflict of interest. After all, BC Hydro is presently "promoting green energy development by acquiring energy from independent power producers" - such as wind farms? Well, New Democrat energy and mines critic John Horgan seems to think so.

In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Horgan said, "I assumed that (Mr. Umedaly) was stepping down from his private sector obligations. This isn't an insignifcant position he's been appointed to. So he needs to have a real division or firewall between his former private sector activities and his current public sector activities. Because it's absurd if he thinks he can carry on both."

Asked for a response, energy, mines and petroleum resources communications director Graham Currie stated, "Xantrex Technology does not do business with BC Hydro. However, as is common in corporate and local government - and with others serving in similar capacities - it is expected that Mr. Umedaly will excuse himself from any meetings where a potential conflict could arise. Xantrex is neither a competitor nor a supplier to BC Hydro. Xantrex is in the business of manufacturing and marketing advanced power electronics. They are used to convert electrical power to an energy source into high-quality power required by most electronic and electrical equipment. These products do not generate power nor do they supply power.

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