On Dec. 9, Manitoba Hydro filed its updated general rate application with the Public Utilities Board. The amended application reduces the rate increase from 3.5 per cent in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years, to only two per cent each year, well below the current rate of inflation. After a public hearing where intervenors can submit further evidence for consideration, the Public Utilities Board will ultimately decide what the rate increase, if any, will be for one or both of the years.

Changes by the Manitoba government to protect the long-term sustainability of Manitoba Hydro and government’s significant reduction in the Crown corporation’s annual payments for provincial fees to redirect the funds to debt reduction has ensured hydro rates will remain among the lowest in the country for Manitoba ratepayers, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, minister responsible for Hydro, said today.

“Manitoba households will see real savings from the actions our government has taken to reduce Manitoba Hydro’s debt, in both the short and long term,” said Friesen. “Reducing the fees by half and making these changes will help families make ends meet, now and in the years to come.”

Over the next few years the savings will total hundreds of dollars for residential customers without electric heat and far more for ones with electric heating, the minister noted.

“Some would suggest the answer is to freeze electricity rates and ignore the ballooning debt being carried by Manitoba Hydro, but this would be irresponsible. It would shock rates for Manitobans causing double-digit increases, and make hydro rates completely unaffordable. It would also have serious impacts on our credit rating and would reduce the independence of the Public Utilities Board,” said Friesen. “The steps we have taken will result in savings now and for years to come, helping Manitobans address costs now and letting them plan for regular, predictable rate increases in the future.”