PowerSmart workers kept in the dark

Royal assent has been granted to the government’s plan of carving out of Manitoba Hydro’s energy efficiency program. This is despite countless industry experts having made submissions and presentations to the Minister of Crown Services on why PowerSmart should remain part of Hydro. That’s left our members wondering why the government, the PUB, and the Lieutenant Governor aren’t listening.

In short, the lead up to the new announcement on the 24th of January was much ado about nothing. This announcement was a chance for the government to announce something substantial, such as a new CEO, a new structure, or regulations regarding the new Crown Corporation. In a perfect world, the announcement could have even been to let the citizens of Manitoba know that instead of creating a new entity, real efficiency would be found by keeping Demand Side Management (DSM – PowerSmart) where it is and spending the startup capital on other, much needed projects.

Our members in DSM have been waiting for answers about their future for well over a year. We already know Manitoba Hydro currently has an excellent, award-winning program that has deep roots in the community as well as direct access to Hydro information to help Manitobans find energy savings; it’s hard to believe this new Crown will be able to offer anything new that PowerSmart isn’t already doing.

We are calling on Manitoba Hydro and Efficiency Manitoba to ensure that PowerSmart employees are fairly transitioned into the new Crown. PowerSmart employees have the experience, the networks, and the know-how to help Manitobans save energy. We hope the government will keep these workers doing what they do best.

We also hope the government will soon make a clear case for the requirement for creating this new entity for energy efficiency, along with the details on exactly how the Crown will be staffed, financed, and what programs will be delivered. Until then, our members will continue to provide the fantastic PowerSmart services that they have, all while operating in the dark.



CUPE 998 Executive has voted unanimously to endorse Wab Kinew for leader of the Manitoba NDP. We look forward to his support in the fight against the Pallister government’s cuts affecting our members.

Manitoba Hydro – Key to Our Future

CUPE 998 members are proud of Manitoba Hydro and the work they, and all other employees, perform. Whether indoors or outdoors, from offices to field locations in every corner of the province, the natural gas and electricity needs of customers large and small are met day after day and into the future by competent and dedicated staff. It can be complex and demanding work but we are happy to deliver these services through a public utility owned by Manitobans. Our public utility is in a period of growth and renewal; the financial challenges this brings are investments in the future. A unified, public Manitoba Hydro protects rate-payers and delivers tremendous value to the Manitoba economy. Selling off or privatizing any part of it hurt in the long run and is simply not acceptable. We believe Manitoba Hydro should stay public and in one piece for the benefit of all Manitobans.

Here is an article written by Paul Moist, past president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada’s largest public sector union. It does a good job of putting the issues into perspective and was originally printed in the June 2017 edition of The Wolseley Leaf.

Manitoba Hydro – Key to Our Future article