The head of Manitoba Hydro has lashed out at the Consumers Coalition for saying the power utility is withholding requested data from the Public Utilities Board.

The head of Manitoba Hydro has lashed out at the Consumers Coalition for saying the power utility is withholding requested data from the Public Utilities Board.

"It’s verging on offensive to suggest we are defying orders by not supplying information we have already told the PUB does not exist," Hydro president and CEO Jay Grewal said in a news release Monday.

The coalition that includes Harvest Manitoba, Consumers’ Association of Canada (Manitoba) and Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg in March asked Manitoba’s independent regulator, the Public Utilities Board, to order a review of Hydro’s current rates.

The group argued substantial changes at Hydro, including major new export sales to Saskatchewan and the operation of the $8-billion Keeyask generating station, warrant public scrutiny.

The tribunal agreed and, on May 10, ordered Hydro to provide versions of its 20-year integrated financial forecast, capital expenditure forecast and the prospective cost of service study currently in use in the operations and management of the utility.

It also asked for this year’s and next fiscal year’s forecast of net export revenue and net income for a number of possible water flow conditions.

Manitoba Hydro claimed it did not have a current forecast and did not provide the prospective cost of service study or next year’s forecast of net export revenue and net income for a number of water flow scenarios. The Consumers Coalition issued a statement Thursday urging the PUB to arrange a rate hearing "in the interests of transparency and accountability."

Gloria Desorcy with the Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba) said Friday it was "surprising" those documents are not in existence, when there have been integrated financial forecasts available in the past.

On Monday, Grewal said the information supplied will allow the PUB to answer the question it currently has before it: whether there’s been a substantial change in Manitoba Hydro’s finances.

"And we’re confident the information we provided clearly demonstrates that there has not been a substantive change since the last (general rate application)," she said.

Grewal said "going forward," the Crown corporation’s long-term financial forecasts will be more informed and comprehensive, with a thorough integration of long-term strategic and operating plans. They’ll be the basis for utility’s first five-year general rate application, which will be filed with the PUB in the winter of 2022-23, she said.

"We are implementing new processes and improved approaches that we believe are necessary to prepare Manitoba Hydro to be able to effectively respond to the changing energy landscape of the future and ensure we operate as efficiently as possible, both today and into the future."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.