I would like to set the record straight in response to the misleading information submitted by the Opposition critic, Ralph Eichler (“Hydro’s Proposal High Risk,” Brandon Sun, May 7).
Manitoba’s population and economy are growing, while at the same time electrical infrastructure built generations ago requires replacement. The best way to keep our rates among the lowest in North America is by reinvesting in existing hydro facilities, building new hydro projects and increasing Power Smart programs.
Right now, Manitoba Hydro is in the strongest financial position in its history with the resources to invest. Total assets sit at a record $14.5 billion.
Contrary to Opposition rhetoric, exporting clean energy to our neighbours subsidizes the cost of building new dams and keeps energy rates low for Manitobans. Manitoba Hydro has been using this basic business model since the early 1970s to reduce domestic rates. As a result, Manitoba families and businesses now pay among the lowest power rates on the continent and Hydro’s preferred development plan will ensure it remains that way as we ramp up Power Smart incentives. According to Hydro’s annual report, Power Smart programs helped Hydro customers save over $100 million on their electricity and gas bills last year alone.
The Opposition’s plan to stop hydro development and build natural gas is short-sighted. It would mean ripping up $9 billion in firm export contracts in favour of importing natural gas from Alberta — the wrong plan for Manitoba families and our economy.
Water is our greatest resource. Manitoba Hydro’s plan to build dams and transmission lines will ensure our electricity supply is reliable and rates are kept low.
Brian Pallister’s party is misleading Manitobans when it comes to Hydro development. When will he come clean and admit that his plan to cancel all Hydro development is just the first step to privatizing Manitoba Hydro?
Minister responsible for
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 9, 2014