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The Public Utilities Board has granted Manitoba Hydro a 2.5 per cent increase after being asked for a 3.5 per cent increase.
For the average homeowner, it’ll mean a $25-$30 increase per year, more for those who use electric heat.
“The good news is that certainly our clients and large industrials managed to persuade the Public Utilities Board that 3.5 percent — which would have been $60 million annually — was way too much and the Public Utilities Board has knocked off about $16 or 17 million in terms of the rate increase,” said Byron Williams of the Public Interest Law Centre.
The message sent to Manitoba Hydro is that they can’t pass all the costs of their debts to consumers, he said.
“It said that Hydro’s day-to-day expenditures which total $500 million a year were too high and it suggested they should be $22 million lower.”
The bad news, he said, was that consumers are facing another hike above inflation.
Manitoba Hydro’s 2018 financial report showed the Crown Corporation was expected to be dealing with $25 billion in debt by 2023.
Hydro incurred huge debt to build new generating stations and transmission lines – its total debt is more than $19 billion.
In the report, retired Hydro president and CEO Kelvin Shepherd said reducing costs is only part of a plan to restore financial stability, adding the utility will look at increasing exports.