Skip to main content

Why Manitoba Hydro is keeping secrets from the PUB

Manitoba Hydro is waging an under-the-radar power struggle with the Public Utilities Board.

For over a year Hydro has been playing cat-and-mouse with the PUB, promising to deliver information the board wants, then reneging, promising, then reneging again. At issue is the utility's risk analyses for its plans to spend $18 billion over the next 15 years to build new dams in northern Manitoba.

The PUB wants to know how Hydro can justify the huge expense and what alternatives they have if Hydro's profit projections evaporate into thin air. The fear is that the entire cost of the new dams will fall on the shoulders of Manitoba electricity users, not to mention the very real possibility that we will be forced to buy electricity at an unknown price in order to fulfill our obligations to provide it to American customers at a fixed price----in other words, to subsidize the U.S. buyers.

Last September, The Black Rod examined PUB documentation to produce a three-part expose of Manitoba Hydro's dam construction plans.

http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2008/09/who-will-go-broke-first-manitoba-hydro_08.html


http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2008/09/manitoba-hydro-series-part-two.html


http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2008/09/manitoba-hydro-series-part-3.html

The bottom line:

"Manitoba Hydro's house of cards is built on the premise that the exchange rate will drop to 86 cents U.S., that a carbon tax in the U.S. prices coal out of the market, and interest rates stay the same for the next decade or so. Not one of these factors --- all of them have to come true for Hydro to make any money."

It's no wonder that the Public Utilities Board is becoming more and more worried, and Manitoba Hydro is doing its best to hide the facts.

It turns out that a month after The Black Rod's series, Hydro responded to the PUB's demand for their risk studies. The PUB amended its order by eliminating deadlines for Hydro to provide the information it wants. The main reason is that Hydro said it has always had the risk analyses, but has been keeping them from the PUB. Here's how the PUB reported that bombshell:

Board Findings
In Order 116/08 the Board indicated that a risk analysis should be undertaken incorporating all of the major risks faced by MH. The Board directed MH to undertake:
"a thorough and quantified Risk Analysis, including probabilities of all identified operational and business risks. This report should consider the implications of planned capital spending taking into account revenue growth, variable interest rates, drought, inflation experience and risk, and potential currency fluctuation" [Directive 12]
MH has indicated that it will be filing its Corporate Risk Management Report on January 15, 2009. That report may address the major risks of the Corporation however, the Corporate Risk Management Report has, in the past, not provided the information sought in Directive 12.
That said, in its October 8, 2008 reply MH candidly acknowledges that its prior filings of the Corporate Risk Management Report excluded the appendices to the Report.
The appendices apparently detail and quantify MH's business and operational risks.
MH now proposes to file the appendices, from the new Report, in confidence with the Board.


-snip-

To date, the Board has not been provided with specific analyses of the risks related to pending long-term export contracts, pending major capital construction for generation and transmission facilities, and the 'sticker shock' impacts on the longterm profitability of such ventures.
However, MH now asserts, in its October 8, 2008 reply, that its Corporate Risk Management Report will identify and quantify all major operational and business risks and provide an explanation of all risk mitigation measures undertaken or planned by the Corporation. Additionally, the expanded IFFs to be filed will include a projection of MH's capital structure showing the impact of capital expansion now planned or contemplated, with risks quantified.

To allow the Board the opportunity to determine whether MH's new filings by January 15, 2009 address the Board's concerns, the Board will vary this Directive by removing the deadline date. Should the Board require additional information after its review of MH's January 15, 2009 filings, the Board will consider further revisions to this Directive.


Well, guess what? January, 2009, came and went and Manitoba Hydro failed to give the PUB the information it wanted.

A new deadline was set---Sept. 30, 2009. Once again, nada from Hydro.

Hydro CEO Bob Brennan now says they need to provide the proper "context" for their risk studies and they'll provide the information when they feel like it and not before.

By stalling for a year, Hydro has managed to make a start on the money-losing Wuskwatim hydro project, and to ask for a waiver on environmental regulations to build a work camp preparatory to starting on the Keeyask dam. They know the PUB is powerless to stop them from plowing ahead with their plans.

Now you can see why the PUB has seized on a whistleblower's complaint about Hydro mismanagement, even though they technically have no authority to do so.

The hot-potato complaint has been circulating through the bureaucracy for well over 6 months. It landed in the hands of the Auditor General in April, six months ago. Carol Bellringer said she would get around to it sometime. But before she could apply the usual NDP whitewash, the complaint, with accompanying documents, was slipped through the transom at the offices of the Public Utilities Board.

They're examining the figures, and trying to determine how much to make public.

If they have a hard time, The Black Rod won't.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police