WINNIPEG — Manitobans could be seeing a smaller increase in their utility bill than originally planned next year.
Manitoba Hydro has asked the Public Utilities Board for a two percent rate increase in each of the fiscal years 2023-24 and 2024-25. The original ask was for a 3.5 percent increase in each of the next two fiscal years.
Manitoba Hydro is also seeking confirmation of the interim 3.6 percent rate increase approved by the PUB that took effect in January 2022 to help counter the effects of the 2021 drought.
The Crown corporation says the reduced rate request is due to the Manitoba government’s recent decision to reduce what it collects from Manitoba Hydro annually in provincial debt guarantee and water rental payments. It’s estimated the changes will save Manitoba Hydro approximately $190 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“The reduction announced by the government will help keep rates low for customers, and that’s great news when we know many customers are struggling with the cost of living,” said Jay Grewal, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro.
“The changes will allow us to start reducing our debt while continuing to make the needed investments in our system to maintain reliable service to our customers. They also ensure we have the financial resources available to address the risks created by factors out of our control like increasing interest rates, export prices and droughts like what we saw in 2021.”
If approved, the lower rate increase would cost the average residential customer, without electric heating, an additional $3 per month beginning September 1, 2023. Those with electric heating would pay an estimated $6 more per month.