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Two sides to Hydro debate

Deveryn Ross' column Selinger clings to Conawapa (March 20) fails to mention the ongoing review of our preferred development plan by the Public Utilities Board required Manitoba Hydro to consider alternatives for meeting Manitoba's future electricity demand -- including natural-gas generation.

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After extensive analysis, we concluded continuing with hydropower development and a new transmission line to the U.S. is the best solution for our customers and Manitobans, providing the lowest rates over the long term, the highest reliability and the most environmental and economic benefits.

While gas generation following Keeyask and the new U.S. transmission line is an alternative that could meet Manitoba's electricity needs, it's not the most economic.

Natural gas plants have a 25- to 30-year service life and much higher fuel and operating costs. Over the 100-year service life of a hydro plant, three or four gas plants would have to be built.

We need to decide this summer about moving forward with Keeyask and the new U.S. interconnection. We continue to plan for Conawapa, but do not need to commit to proceeding until early 2018. At that point, we will again choose a path that is best for our customers and Manitobans.

That decision will be based on conditions at that time, including real and forecast load growth, capital cost estimates for Conawapa and natural gas plants, natural-gas price forecasts, demand-side management plans, new export contracts and energy price forecasts.

As Mr. Ross correctly reports, Conawapa will only get built if the business case remains sound.

SCOTT THOMSON

President and chief executive officer, Manitoba Hydro

***

Deveryn Ross insightfully says it would be political suicide for Selinger to acknowledge there is an alternative to Conawapa.

Conawapa's estimated cost is $11 billion, which Hydro would have to finance with debt. With a one per cent debt guarantee fee payable to the provincial treasury, Conawapa would produce $110 million in debt every year well into the future, when the debt is paid off. Gas would produce only $10 million.

Conawapa would produce another $21 million per year expenditure for the treasury in water rental fees.

The government would save $121 million every year, plus additional savings in lower capital taxes, if Conawapa is replaced by gas.

Selinger's concern is for revenue to fuel his spending addiction. He has no concern for the solvency of Hydro.

DENNIS WOODFORD

Winnipeg

 

STARS cartoon offensive

I found the March 21 editorial cartoon featuring an injured person and the STARS helicopter offensive.

The subject of providing emergency health services to critically ill Manitobans is not a suitable subject for abuse and ridicule.

ED WUSCHKE

Pinawa

 

End dated traditions

Re: Feds say band election beyond their authority, March 20.

Cultural customs are proudly displayed by every ethic identity in the world, but sooner or later certain traditions should be discarded because they are at odds with every civilized 21st-century norm.

I have the utmost respect for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper, but for him to state he respects the travesty that eliminates 80 per cent of Garden Hill First Nation residents from running for political office is nothing more than a sham.

This is a dictatorship disguised as aboriginal culture, and if, as Harper states, the MKO respects the antiquated "customary laws and traditional practices," then suffer the consequences, which will certainly be youth rebellion.

KIM TRETHART

Winnipeg

 

Feds mum on finance move

Stephen Harper's choice of Joe Oliver as our new finance minister after Jim Flaherty's quick exit isn't so much of a surprise as the federal government's silence on Flaherty's departure (Oliver to steer financial ship, March 20).

Why don't we hear directly from our government when the most important minister changes after nine years? What's the protocol?

I'm insulted our prime minister can't take the time to inform us about who he trusts to steer our financial ship.

Isn't it about the economy, stupid?

Will Joe learn more about an omnibus bill then he did about the Indian Act and climate change, or is it politics, stupid?

JANICE ISOPP

Selkirk

 

Raising the ethical bar

Re: Civil service lacks proper code of conduct, March 21.

Children are inclined to emulate the moral/ethical standards displayed by adults and parents.

It seems civil servants are no different, and tend to follow how they envision those actions as displayed by government bureaucrats and ministers.

JOHN FEFCHAK

Virden

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2014 A16

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