Media Release – Rolling the Dice on Manitoba’s Future: The Unnecessary Gamble of Massive Hydro-electric Expansion

Press Release, Energy, Frontier Centre

Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 5, 2013 – The Frontier Centre for Public Policy released today a backgrounder paper assessing the expansion of Manitoba Hydro’s Hydro-electric Generation and Transmission Capacity. The paper is entitled “Dam-nation: Rolling the Dice on Manitoba’s Future,” and it is authored by Graham Lane, the former Chair of the Manitoba Public Utilities Board released.

Lane warns that Hydro’s expansion is the greatest economic gamble in Manitoba’s history. He suggests that the current policy course is recklessly driven by political interests, ideology, spent money and commitments ignoring that the economic and political environment that spawned the plan before 2008 has changed dramatically.

Earlier today, Lane spoke to a sold out audience hosted by the Frontier Centre at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, presenting the key lines of argument of his paper.  He warned that the consequence of such policies will hurt Manitoba’s poor the most:

“Today’s roughly 7 cents per kWh price for residential consumers could rise to 20 cents within Hydro’s forecast horizon,” said Lane, “bringing major problems for lower income households, rural and northern residences (unable to access natural gas for heating), industry and the general economy.”

The plans for massive hydro-electric development in Manitoba are based on assumptions made several years ago that electricity prices would continue to rise. Such assumptions, for example, have been left behind by unfolding circumstances such as the discovery of massive deposits of shale gas energy in the United States. The highly unwise and expansive venture of Manitoba Hydro risks indebting Manitoban’s beyond their economic capacity to pay.


Graham Lane, a retired Chartered Accountant, has had a multifaceted career spanning almost 50 years in the public and private sectors of seven provinces as a Senior Executive and Consultant. In the public sector, before concluding his career as the Chairman of the PUB, he consulted for three provincial governments and was employed by four provinces. In Manitoba, he was the CEO of Credit Union Central, bringing in online banking, a Vice-President of Public Investments of Manitoba, the interim President of MPI, reorganizing the corporation after its massive losses of 1986, a Vice-President of the University of Winnipeg, and the CEO of the WCB, restructuring the insurer and returning it to solvency. His experience with Crown Corporations go well beyond Manitoba, he was the Comptroller of Saskatchewan’s Crown Investments Corporation, and a consultant reviewing government auto insurance in BC and workers compensation in Nova Scotia. He received the gold medal in Philosophy as an undergraduate, and a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International for excellence in vocational service. Throughout his career, and wherever he worked, consulted or volunteered, he maintained an external objectivity.

Download a copy of  Dam-nation: Rolling the Dice on Manitoba’s Future here.

For more information, and to arrange an interview with the authors, media (only) should contact:

Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Tel: 204 957-1567