Below is the Progressive Conservative’s June 22nd press release titled, “Efficiency Manitoba = Lower Power Bills for Manitobans“:
We want you to have the facts on how your PC government is going to save Manitoban families money when it comes to their power bills.
Along the way, we would like to clear up a few misconceptions out there on Efficiency Manitoba:
Fact: Establishing Efficiency Manitoba = lower power bills for Manitobans. It will finance new energy efficiency programs and incentives to help you and other Manitobans reduce their electricity costs and save money. Saving ratepayers money is what this is all about.
Fact: The establishment of a new stand-alone agency (Efficiency Manitoba) to promote energy efficiency and conservation has been a recommendation of the independent, arm’s length Public Utilities Board since 2014. It’s the smart thing to do.
Fact: The establishment of Efficiency Manitoba was part of our 2016 Campaign Platform that all of our candidates campaigned on, and that Manitobans voted overwhelmingly for with the largest majority in 100 years. We said we would do it.
Fact: A new, independent agency outside of Manitoba Hydro is better suited to meet energy-savings targets with a reduced overhead cost by 50% compared to Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart program. Cost-effective government saves you money.
Fact: Our government is utilizing expert advice from one of Canada’s pre-eminent energy experts, Mr. Philippe Dunsky, with the priority being to save Manitobans money on their utility bills. NDP ideology costs you money; PC policy saves you money.
Efficiency Manitoba will offer households and businesses expanded energy savings programs to help cope with higher Manitoba Hydro rates coming as a result of NDP mismanagement of Manitoba Hydro. They burdened Manitobans with massive debt for the Keeyask dam and Bipole III transmission line. Your PC government is fighting to keep our Crown Jewel – Manitoba Hydro – financially sustainable. And save you money as we do so.
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This piece of propaganda tries to justify a new crown corporation, not the agency referred to in bullets 2 and 4 above. Section 3(1) of The Efficiency Manitoba Act clearly sets up Efficiency Manitoba as a crown corporation, not as an agency.
3(1) Efficiency Manitoba Inc. is hereby established as a corporation without share capital, consisting of the directors appointed under this Act.
Philippe Dunsky, more properly Dunsky Energy Consulting, is a Quebec-based firm founded in 2004. According to the Dunsky web site: Our focus is on the demand side of the equation: improving energy efficiency and demand response, accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and storage technologies, and transforming mobility through electrification, alternative fuels and new transportation solutions.
Why we would ignore local firms with world-wide experience in electrical energy and transmission projects is a mystery. Creating Efficiency Manitoba is intended to distract us from the very real problems at Hydro but does not address Hydro’s core illness. We can’t fix hydro with a separate, costly, shiny new crown corporation.
Reducing demand makes sense when supply is limited and costs are driven up. We do not have a supply side problem, we have a debt problem. The focus should be on slashing Manitoba Hydro debt as deeply and quickly as possible. Projects need to be mothballed and the management of Hydro chopped and replaced.
Manitoba Hydro has become a monstrous mess of bad planning and debt so large that the provincial credit rating is at risk. Creating a second crown corporation to offset the high energy prices demanded by the Manitoba Hydro crown corporation is a strange way to control energy costs. Worse, Manitoba Hydro and Efficiency Manitoba both report to the same government Minister.
Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings and manufacturing and processing facilities is costly and the costs will be born by the consumer or taxpayer. We will be left with a glut of power we cannot sell and high rates caused by reckless debt incurred to generate that extra power. Our competitive edge in attracting industry has been diminished without proper justification.
Premier Pallister promised to kill Bipole III and mothball dam projects but has done neither. We are told that curtailing construction would be too costly but we have nothing to support that. We are in bankruptcy court and long past hiding numbers to protect Hydro. We deserve a clear look at what promises have been made and to whom. The axe must come out. Manitobans feel they are being kept in the dark while facing enormous electrical bill increases and that is not acceptable.
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