Once again the Winnipeg Free Press is calling for more scrutiny of investment plans by Manitoba Hydro.
The bottom line, the PUB says, is that Manitoba ratepayers are at real risk of subsidizing sales to American buyers, who are paying rates that were agreed to long ago, despite the fact the dams’ projected costs have made the power more expensive to produce.
There is a solution to this mess and that is structural separation of export and domestic business units. The export business unit should be required to secure financing from market sources without recourse to recovering cost from Manitoba rate payers or tax payers.
I also believe the PUB is on the correct path to demand a transparent comparison between adding capacity using combined cycle natural gas systems versus new hydro plants. I would be particularly interested to see if the pension funds of Manitoba’s teachers, medical and government workers would be willing to invest in new hydro dams if they could not stick the losses to either rate payers or tax payers.