Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/11/2013 (1318 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
What does it take for you to listen?
Former NDP premier Ed Schreyer, former NDP energy minister Tim Sale, former NDP natural resources minister Len Evans, former Public Utilities Board chair Graham Lane, former University of Manitoba dean of engineering Garland Laliberte, former president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro Len Bateman and former vice-president of Manitoba Hydro Will Tishinski all have one thing in common.
They believe that Manitoba’s biggest mistake is the money being spent by this NDP government on future hydro development. They have all asked for Manitoba Hydro to study whether its development plans still make sense in today’s market.
These experts agree that Manitoba Hydro’s development plans are based on questionable projections of not only construction costs, but also export contracts and revenue. Manitoba Hydro is set to spend $34 billion on several projects, which is more than our province’s entire debt ($30 billion). This development represents the largest financial gamble in Manitoba’s history, a gamble that lives and dies by export rates to the U.S., which recently have been at an all-time low, due to cheap American natural gas.
For the first time on record, Manitoba Hydro CEO Scott Thomson stated on Oct. 2 at the standing committee: “If gas prices stay at $3 five years from now and the outlook is a lot lower, that’s probably going to impact on the decision whether to proceed with Conawapa at that time, defer the project or shelve it indefinitely.”
Where this NDP government has refused to change course, it certainly seems that even the CEO of Manitoba Hydro is hesitant and conflicted on the issue. With the dam at Wuskwatim set to lose $9 million a month for the next 16 years, perhaps the NDP should heed Mr. Thomson’s concerns.
Manitoba ratepayers will shoulder the cost of this gamble, with hydro rates going up by eight per cent in the last year alone, and set to increase an additional four per cent per year, for the next 20 years. Manitobans simply cannot afford for this NDP government to get this decision wrong.
So, what does it take for you to listen?
Ron R. Schuler
Critic for Manitoba Hydro
Progressive Conservative MLA
for St. Paul