Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Province put PUB in tight spot over Keeyask: Tories

  • Print
Artist's rendering of the Keeyask Dam

HANDOUT Enlarge Image

Artist's rendering of the Keeyask Dam

The Selinger government "tied the hands" of the Public Utilities Board in the board’s decision this week to approve Manitoba Hydro’s estimated $6.5-billion Keeyask generating station, the Opposition Tories say.

"The PUB is in a very difficult position mainly because of the position the government has put them in," Progressive Conservative Hydro Critic Ralph Eichler said today. "They tied the hands of what they really can and cannot do."

He said that’s because Hydro, with the government’s blessing, had already spent $1.4 billion on the Keeyask dam prior to the PUB examining the need for the Nelson River dam.

The PUB said in a report released earlier this week that for it to recommend cancelling the dam, it would put Manitoba ratepayers on the hook for that loss.

Besides approving Keeyask, the board also approved a new transmission line to Minnesota, a line Hydro says it needs to export more power and to import power when required, like during a drought. The PUB also said that not another dime should be spend by Hydro or the province on Conawapa, a second proposed dam. The PUB said Hydro did not make a business case for the need for Conawapa, although Hydro has said it does not need a decision on Conawapa for four years.

The PUB made a total of 16 recommendations of which NDP Hydro Minister Stan Struthers said they will honour, including freezing spending on pre-construction work on Conawapa until Hydro can firm up more export deals with American utilities.

Eichler also said the PUB was correct to find that Hydro is in an inherent conflict of promoting energy efficiency while at the same time as building new dams and transmission lines to sell power.

The PUB said energy efficiency programs, administered through a new, independent entity, should be treated equally as power generation, be it hydro, wind, solar or something else.

"The ratepayers of Manitoba own Manitoba Hydro," he said. "We need to look at the best deal whether it be wind energy, dam energy, solar-powered energy. We need to be sure that that’s the best investment for Manitobans when we look at any of the increased projects and the revenue returns."

The PUB also said Hydro has to go beyond what it is already doing to contain internal costs as way to minimize future rate increases. Hydro has already signaled it will need annual rate increases of almost four per cent over the next 20 years to pay for Keeyask, the new U.S. transmission line, the already-approved Bipole III transmission to run down the west side of the province from northern Manitoba to Winnipeg, and to replaced or fix some its older infrastructure like replacing older wooden hydro poles throughout the province.

Eichler said the arm’s-length PUB needs to be given more accurate information, free of political inference from the NDP, to weigh the justification for potential rate hikes and to protect Manitobans.

"Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to want to give them the rein that they need to look after Manitoba Hydro in the way that it should be," Eichler said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Interview with Bobbi Ethier of Wasylycia-Leis campaign

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fight as a male defends his nesting site at the duck pond at St Vital Park Thursday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 08- May 10, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google