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.