The NDP government should immediately explain why it has ignored the advice of its own expert panel and continues to spend tens of millions of ratepayer dollars on the failed Conawapa dam. In June 2014, the Public Utilities Board concluded Conawapa has no viable business plan and recommended the $10.7-billion project be “discontinued immediately and the projects terminated.”
“The NDP said last July it accepted the PUB’s recommendations to scrap Conawapa and to stop all spending on it,” said Ralph Eichler, Opposition Critic for Manitoba Hydro. “Since then, about $31 million has been spent on the project. The NDP government must explain why Manitoba Hydro rates are going up to pay for a project experts said has no viable business plan.”
Manitoba Hydro’s quarterly financial reports show the utility continued to spend millions on “Future Conawapa Generation” for at least five months after the PUB recommended no more money be put into it. According to a Freedom of Information request, a total of more than $329 million has been spent on the project; more than half of this amount is attributed to consulting services and interest costs.
The NDP needs to clearly state whether it truly accepts the PUB’s recommendations on Conawapa, or whether the project will continue to drive up hydro rates for Manitobans.