Why Are Experts Concerned?

Q: What are former NDP politicians, former Progressive Conservative politicians and former Hydro executives concerned about Hydro’s $34 billion plan?

A: The answer is simple – the very real possibility that your Hydro bills could skyrocket if the plan doesn’t pan out. The results could be catastrophic for our economy.

Manitoba Hydro’s plan is the most costly and risky proposal the province of Manitoba has ever seen.

Hydro’s plan to build two new dams and a massive new power line from northern Manitoba to southern Manitoba is expected to cost over $20 billion. Throw in the $14 billion Manitoba Hydro plans on spending to repair and fix up our existing Hydro system and that’s $34 billion over the next several years.

To put that in perspective, that’s more than our provincial government’s provincial debt (See page 20, it’s $30 billion.) And it’s almost three times the provincial government’s annual budget!

It’s crucial not to rush the decision and to conduct a non-partisan review of the decision. Manitobans can’t afford a mistake!

Q: Who has expressed concerne with Manitoba Hydro’s plan?

The list of people and organizations who have expressed concern with Manitoba Hydro’s plan crosses party lines and includes a number of former Hydro executives and other experts. Here are a few examples:

  • Hon. Ed Schreyer, former NDP Premier – click here
  • Hon. Gary Filmon, former PC Premier – click here
  • Len Evans, former NDP Minister – click here
  • Eric Stefanson, former PC Minister
  • Graham Lane, former Chair of the Public Utilities Board – click here
  • Garland Laliberte, former Dean of Engineering, University of Manitoba – click here
  • Canadian Taxpayers Federation – click here
  • Keystone Agricultural Producers
  • Tom Adams, Energy Consultant and former Executive Director, Energy Probe
  • Jim Collinson, Energy Consultant and former Chair, UNESCO Committee on World Heritage Sites

Q: What will happen if Hydro’s plan does work out?

A: Even if Manitoba Hydro’s plans actually do work out as planned, Manitobans will still see increases to their Hydro bills of 4% per year over the next 20 years. Meanwhile, many Manitobans are seeing their incomes only go up by 2% per year so many families will have to cut spending in other areas to keep up.

Q: How could Hydro’s plan stumble? 

A: Manitoba Hydro is selling power from the new dams to the United States. However, since Hydro crafted this plan over five years ago, a lot has changed:

  • The U.S. customers Manitoba Hydro is counting on now have access to low-cost natural gas power. This is due to new technology and increased supplies of natural gas in the U.S.
  • The Canadian dollar is a lot higher than it was five years ago so the power Manitoba Hydro is trying to sell to American customers is now more expensive.
  • The last dam Hydro built came in at $1.8 billion, but it was originally budgeted to cost $900 million; it came in 100% over budget. What kind of cost overruns would we see with the next dams Hydro wants to build?

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: We recommend reviewing some of these reports and columns:

  • Report by Graham Lane, former Chair of the Public Utilities Board – click here
  • Column by Colin Craig, Canadian Taxpayers Federation – click here
  • Column by Garland Laliberte, Retired Dean, Univ. of Manitoba Engineering – click here
  • Open letter from concerned Manitobans – click here


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