In a presentation to the Public Utilities Board yesterday, the Bipole III Coalition called for a massive re-write of The Manitoba Hydro Act to allow for open access to its electric grid. The Coalition has stated that an open access grid would open up the generation of electricity by independent entities to solar, wind and other green energy sources. It would make Manitoba Hydro more competitive.

In a move to hold down electricity rate increases closer to inflation, the Coalition also called for the transfer of a portion of Manitoba Hydro’s debt to the provincial government. The Coalition pointed out that debt transfer would shift the impact of Hydro’s debt away from those less able to pay their electricity bills. Manitoba Hydro is the only electric crown corporation in Canada that does not transfer debt to its provincial government.

Earlier this year, the Coalition submitted a brief to the Public Utilities Board providing evidence that Manitoba Hydro is still forecasting growth in electricity use in Manitoba at unjustifiably high levels. It also demonstrated that Efficiency Manitoba’s savings targets, if they can be achieved, will create a need, over the next 20 years, for $5.1 billion of additional revenue not presently provided for in Manitoba Hydro’s financial plan.

The Bipole III Coalition is an organization of volunteers, mostly retired engineers, who enjoyed distinguished past careers, some of them in executive positions in Manitoba Hydro. The Coalition seeks to inform Manitobans with a view to ensuring that they continue to enjoy reliable and affordable electricity.

More information can be obtained from Bipole III Coalition Directors Dennis Woodford at (204) 488-1134 or Dr. Garland Laliberte at (727) 954-4504.