The Manitoba Public Utilities Board has asked Manitoba Hydro to investigate the merits of adding natural gas plants and deferring the construction of new northern power dams.
Given the low level of export prices and the constantly escalating costs of construction, this is a good idea. It is time for Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba Government to take an extended pause in new construction until market conditions improve.
During that type of a pause it would also be useful to figure out how to create an effective firewall between the business risks associated with dam construction and the Manitoba rate and tax payers. If the $17 billion investment is a good idea, let it be done through normal business routes instead of being backstopped by the Manitoba customers and the Government’s credit card.