In response to commentary by Canadian Taxpayers Federation (Bipole III boondoggle no longer affordable, Feb. 8), we would like to provide the following perspective.
Based on a spreadsheet prepared a number of months ago, recent media reports have indicated that the cost of Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III project will increase from $2.2 to $4.1 billion. In fact, the current approved budget remains at $2.2 billion. However, as stated publicly in the Manitoba Legislature on Oct. 25, given Manitoba Hydro’s concern for possible increase in converter station costs, a critical review of estimated costs would be undertaken to provide a revised budget. That review is currently underway and will be finalized in preparation for Manitoba Hydro’s application for an environmental licence. The results of that report will provide the accurate and up-to-date information required to make changes to the existing budget.
It is misleading to suggest that any budget increase of this magnitude is linked to the line location. The potential significant cost increases are associated with the converter stations at either end of the route, which would be required whether an east side or west side route were undertaken.
Manitoba Hydro is pleased that the Bipole III transmission line project is well underway, since it is essential to the reliability of Manitoba’s power supply.