Author: Dr. Roger Higgin (for CAC Manitoba).
This report presents a high-level overview of the Strategic Policy Observations of the Author on the Manitoba Hydro NFAT Filing now before the Manitoba Public Utilities Board.
The report is a Policy rather than Technical Document, but is based on referenced Manitoba Hydro evidence, Technical Reports of MPUB Consultants and primarily on Reports of Consultants retained by the Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba).
The report address 5 Socio-Economic Elements related to the Cost/Benefit of the Proposed Plan and Alternatives. It provides the Author’s observations on Demand-Load Forecast; Export Markets; Capital Escalation; Sustainability and Macro-Environment; Affordability; Economic Evaluation and Transfers.
A key element of the report is an assessment of the Affordability of Residential Electricity Rates under the Preferred Plan. This assessment suggests the Ratepayer Impact is not acceptable and suggestions for mitigation are provided.
The interactions of these Socio Economic and Environmental Elements, some of which are monetized and others that are not, such as externalities, is complex. The Strategic Policy considerations are broad and the implications for Manitoba far reaching and long term. The Strategic Policy Observations are condensed in the attached Table, which may serve as a high level road map of the report. The second part of the report addresses the context of the NFAT Terms of Reference and associated Process considerations. It provides observations which may assist the Review Panel in its Challenging Task.
The primary observations are that if the Preferred Plan passes threshold questions of whether it should proceed, the Public Interest will be served by a Phasing of the Preferred Plan (or variation of it) as well as the Process for its further development and Review.