Winnipeg Free Press

Re: Need for Hydro rate hikes questioned at PUB hearing (July 19)

The Public Utilities Board is requesting proof that Manitoba Hydro needs higher rates, a 7.9 per cent increase beginning Aug. 1, followed by the same increases for the next five years, to survive. Unfortunately, the credit rating agencies will not allow their reports to be included in the process.

It has been reported that Hydro is projecting a $50-million profit in 2016-17. Over time, there have been some highly questionable decisions made.The placement of the Bipole III transmission line added about $1 billion to the original cost. The Keeyask generating station project has, apparently, gone 34 per cent over budget.

Unfortunately, there has been insufficient information to explain the rate increases. It is very sad but true that the 7.9 per cent rate increases could present significant challenges to low-income homeowners, especially rural families as they do not have access to natural gas.