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Eugenie Waltz

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Manitoba Hydro wants to restore its financial strength, and it's asked for 7.9 per cent rate increases every year for the next six years.

Whether that comes to pass depends on the Public Utilities Board, which is conducting hearings on the subject until mid-February.

Today, Association of Manitoba Municipalities president Chris Goertzen told the board that those increases will be a challenge for municipalities, which run various facilities and had their provincial funding frozen at 2016 levels.

"Municipalities across the province run significant facilities, especially recreation facilities, that take a fair amount of electrical power. This has been an ongoing conern already, as the costs have been substantial for municipalities," says Goertzen.

This summer, the PUB awarded Hydro a 3.36 per cent interim rate increase, effective August 1st. It had initially been asking for 7.9. Hydro is trying to make up financial ground, with it in debt and projects going overbudget.