Hydro debt servicing now 40 cents on the dollar
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/11/2022 (189 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
We’ve all seen cute videos of kids caught eating chocolate telling adults they were not eating chocolate. The guilty children protest their innocence with wide-eyed sincerity, unaware the chocolate on their faces betrays them.
It reminds me of New Democratic Party MLAs claiming increased Hydro costs are not their doing, even after multiplying Hydro debt nearly 500 per cent while claiming “it won’t cost us a penny” (that’s an actual quote).
In 2011, Manitoba Hydro debt was $5 billion, but when the NDP lost government in 2016, it was a whopping $24 billion. That’s 24 with 9 zeros, or since our province is home to 1.3 million people, $18,461 of Hydro debt for every Manitoban.
Claims that “it’s not government money” (because Hydro is its own corporation) are cold comfort to taxpayers with only one wallet already squeezed by inflation and rising interest. The fact is that NDP Hydro projects went billions over budget, creating huge interest costs we must all now pay.
These rising costs were somewhat muted in recent years as new projects took time to come on board, and with interest rates at historic lows. But even minimal interest hikes on such huge sums of money drive costs up quickly.
In 2011, just eight cents of your Hydro-bill dollar paid interest on Hydro debt; today that’s grown to 40 cents on the dollar, meaning $40 of a $100 Hydro bill pays banks to carry Hydro debt, which every taxpayer must pay. And that will continue for years to come. You can thank the NDP for that legacy and tell your great-grandkids to do the same.
So, when Manitoba’s government introduced legislation to protect rate payers by capping Hydro rate increases and giving new and expanded oversight powers to the Public Utilities Board to hold Hydro accountable before massive spending on new projects, Opposition NDP MLAs cried foul, accusing the government of raising rates (you read that right). And that’s what reminded me of the kid with chocolate on his face.
Handing decades of debt to our children is generational theft. Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government is protecting Manitobans and helping them make ends meet. The NDP is committed to borrowing, taxing and spending. I don’t buy it and we can’t afford it.
The NDP are the proverbial children with chocolate on their faces.
Andrew Micklefield can be reached at 204-289-4545 and through his website, andrewmicklefield.com
Rossmere constituency report
Andrew Micklefield is PC MLA for Rossmere and the government whip for the Province of Manitoba.