An Individual Presentation on Bill 19 – The Efficiency Manitoba Act By Dennis Woodford, P.Eng.
Thank you for this opportunity to present my concerns on Bill 19, the Efficiency Manitoba Act. I cherish the democratic right to stand before you and express my concerns over this Bill. These are:
Lack of Consultation Beforehand
Alberta has initiated an energy efficiency program. In June 2016 the Alberta government released a discussion document: Energy Efficiency and Community Energy in Alberta1. It is prefaced by their Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, Shannon Phillips. She states:
“This discussion document is meant to help guide the engagement process. Throughout the document a number of questions will provide a starting point for conversations. These conversations will provide the information the panel needs to develop its recommended approach, programming options and general advice to government. We invite you to share your perspective.”
Why wasn’t an invitation sent out to Manitoban’s to provide input to how energy needs to be developed in the province – particularly when we have an oversupply of electricity we must export at a loss to be made up by increased electricity rates – which will increase more with the way Bill 19 is heading?
An advisory panel was established in Alberta chaired by Dr. David Wheeler. He is an internationally experienced academic and business person with 25 years of senior executive level involvement in change management and sustainable business practice, research and teaching. He states they need “to enthuse Albertans with the possibilities: for transformation of the provincial economy; for the creation of opportunity for Indigenous communities and other key sectors of Alberta’s municipal and civil society sectors; for reductions in energy costs for all consumers; and for social and environmental leadership in Canada.”
I do not see too many Manitobans enthused with Manitoba Hydro and what our governments have done. And Bill 19 Efficiency Manitoba is certainly not something to get excited about. People, experts, and First Nations do not seem to be listened to. When will governments be truly open and actually listen?
Do Manitobans Want Efficiency Manitoba?
A poll conducted by Probe Research late last year designed in consultation with CUPE Manitoba found that only 12 per cent of Manitobans favoured the creation of a new energy-efficiency agency to take responsibility for energy-savings programs, while 78 per cent said Manitoba Hydro should continue to run Power Smart. Another 10 per cent of respondents said they were unsure. The poll was considered to be accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 202.
This poll although funded by CUPE was to Manitobans, not union members. By moving forward with Bill 19, does the government really want to represent the people?
How Can Manitoba Grow the Economy with Bill19?
In the Act under 7(1) page 9, Electrical Energy for initial savings targets it states that “the annual savings targets that Efficiency Manitoba is responsible for meeting in the 15-year period following the commencement date are as follows:
In the initial year following the commencement date, net savings that are at least equal to 1.5% of the consumption of electrical energy in the preceding year.
In each of the following years, incremental net savings that are at least equal to 1.5% of the consumption of electrical energy in the immediately preceding year”
In other words, the Act requires annual savings targets of 1.5% of electrical consumption from the previous year for each of 15 years. From the PUB’s NFAT to review of Manitoba Hydro’s development plan in 2014 Final Report, June 20, 2014, page 60, Manitoba’s questionable energy load growth was stated at 1.5% pa. Does this not imply that this will effectively result in zero load growth, and as such indicate there is no need for Keeyask for the Manitoba domestic load?
The Efficiency Manitoba Act is misdirected as it appears to do nothing for the province’s economy and Manitoba Hydro’s severe debt crisis. If these factors had been the basis upon which Bill 19 was directed towards, then there would have been public support.
One development that needs to be promoted in Manitoba is the electrification of transportation. Electrification of transportation will increase the use of electricity in Manitoba not reduce it as Efficiency Manitoba’s mandate requires. If aggressively promoted as done well in Quebec3, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced through less internal combustion engines in the province and less oil imported into the province as proposed recently by NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer4. Furthermore, electric energy generated from Keeyask will be more profitable as more of it will be used within the province at a higher rate than is achieved through electricity export sales. We have an electric car and it is parked out front. When I go home I will plug it in to a 110 volt outlet and it will charge overnight. Every kilowatt hour it takes to charge at nearly 10 cents, is a kilowatt hour that Manitoba Hydro will not have to sell into the export opportunity market at 3 cents. Our increased electricity bill was $250 over one year, whereas the Ford Taurus we had ran on an annual gasoline cost of about $1300 – about 5 times more, not including the extra maintenance required for the Ford. However, the cost of the electric Nissan Leaf was about $10,000 more than that of an equivalent car running on gasoline. Can we take a lesson from Quebec on this?3
As you are probably aware, in November 2015, the city and the province assembled a joint task force to investigate the viability of an electric transit system in Winnipeg. We eagerly await the release of this report in anticipation that it will show that electrification of our transit system will be profitable. This would increase markets for New Flyer and contribute to the provincial economy.
The infrastructure needed for electric transportation will contribute towards the growth of the economy and help keep electricity rates from rising as much.
Bill 19 must be completely scrapped and redone, with consultation from the public, First Nations, businesses and experts. In so doing it must be for the betterment of all and lead toward a growing economy and in better debt reduction for Manitoba Hydro.
We wish you well in reaching for this essential objective.
Dennis Woodford, P.Eng. firstname.lastname@example.org 204-953-1832