Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Keep Hydro, MPI public

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Graham Lane's recent article on Manitoba Hydro and MPI (Who would buy Manitoba Hydro?, Jan. 22) ignores considerable evidence that shows publicly owned electric utilities and auto-insurance companies, on average, provide better service at lower cost to consumers.

Hydro Quebec's annual survey of electricity rates in North America as well as reports done by the American Public Power Association show that publicly owned utilities charge, on average, 20 per cent less than their investor-owned counterparts.

When it comes to auto insurance, reports done by independent accounting firms (for the Saskatchewan and Manitoba governments) and the Consumer Association of Canada show publicly owned auto-insurance systems in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec are far more affordable than private insurance in other provinces. Former Manitoba premier Howard Pawley's 2012 submission to an Ontario legislative committee looking to curb skyrocketing rates in that province documents in detail the many advantages of public auto insurance, including lower administrative costs.

While MPI and Manitoba Hydro can always be improved, Manitobans must realize how lucky they are to have Crown corporations that provide better service at lower costs than private alternatives in other provinces. As an Albertan, I can tell you auto insurance and electricity rate increases are an annual occurrence, and I've certainly never been sent a rebate cheque.

JORDAN HUPKA

Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 A12

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