Gov’t Interference Ruining Manitoba’s Power System – Implications for Newfoundland

Manitoba once prided itself on its rock bottom power prices. Now electricity prices are moving up dramatically, a trend that will continue if the province government stays on the current electricity policy track.

Manitoba needs a immediate freeze on major new generation and transmission projects.

This column — “Wuskwatim under water — and sinking” — from today’s Winnipeg Free Press addresses the implications for consumers of Manitoba Hydro’s recent capacity additions, particularly the 200 MW Wuskwatim hydro-electric station located near Thompson. A podcast of the article is available here.

It is a particular privilege for me to undertake this work in association, once again, with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Frontier is a leading source of new and challenging policy ideas in Canada. Frontier and I will have much more to say about Manitoba Hydro in the near future.

Folks in Newfoundland and Labrador might pay particular attention to Wuskwatim. Manitoba Hydro is consulting to the government of Newfoundland in its review of the Muskrat Falls generating station (Manitoba Hydro was originally retained in 2011 by the Public Utilities Board undertaking a review of the Muskrat Falls project). Its record with Wuskwatim  — a 86% and counting cost overrun, 26 months behind schedule so far, and coming into service when export market is producing prices at about one quarter of the cost of Wuskwatim — severely damages Manitoba Hydro’s credibility in advising anyone on northern hydro megaprojects.

There is an interesting discussion going on on the Winnipeg Free Press site. My favorite comment so far: ” How much would Bi-pole 4 cost to build to Hong Kong?”

News reports discussing the implications of Wuskwatim and Manitoba Hydro’s credibility for consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador can be found here: CBC radio, NTV. There is an active discussion on the CBC site, with the weight of discussion lead by Newfoundland nationalists focused primarily on ad hominem comments. Any serious comments are welcome on this site.

Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy responded to my concerns in this CBC interview.


Post script: For folks interested in Manitoba Hydro’s credibility in management and planning, check out this CBC report on whistle-blowing about Manitoba Hydro.

One Comment

  1. I’m very happy to hear this news – thank you for making my day brighter once again, Mr. Adams! May this development prove productive and return benefits to all involved and concerned.

    I hope teams of writers like these and these will monitor and publicly re-broadcast any developments from this undertaking and that my battle-worn friends and neighbours here in Marmora ( may see something uplifting added to their daily reads along related lines [that they can share online linkage to ;)].

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