By Renée Francoeur
February 6, 2017 – Manitoba Hydro has announced a corporate restructuring of the utility and changes to its executive leadership, which reduces the executive team by 30 per cent, it says. “These moves will both improve operational efficiencies and align with the corporation’s goal of strengthening its financial position,” the utility notes.
“These changes are a necessary first step towards achieving cost reductions within Manitoba Hydro and positioning us to execute on our strategic priorities that we have identified as core to our success. As a result, three members of our vice-president team will be leaving the company,” said Manitoba Hydro president and CEO, Kelvin Shepherd.
In the coming weeks, Manitoba Hydro says it will undertake a broader review and restructuring of its middle management levels. This will be followed by further streamlining of the utility’s province-wide workforce by about 900 positions. As an initial step, the utility intends to offer employees a Voluntary Departure Plan, commencing later this spring, in order to help facilitate the necessary reductions.
Manitoba Hydro recently negotiated new four-year collective agreements with Unifor, the Association of Manitoba Hydro Staff and Supervisory Employees (AMHSSE) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“These agreements, which provide for general wage increase restraints including 0% in 2017, combined with ongoing reviews of operating and capital expenditures, are all significant steps towards improving the financial stability of Manitoba Hydro,” Shepherd said.
“In the same way we pull together to restore service to our customers during a storm or other system emergency, I am absolutely confident that we will pull together as we move forward with our strategy to make Manitoba Hydro a stronger, financially stable, customer-focused organization”.
Sanford Riley, chair of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board (MHEB), released a statement noting that on their own, “these reductions will not be nearly enough to restore Manitoba Hydro’s financial position. Even with these reductions, double digit annual rate increases would be required for at least five years in order to re-establish Manitoba Hydro on a proper financial footing.”
He added that the board recognizes reducing the utility’s ranks by 900 people “will be very painful” but that they believe this is an “absolutely necessary first step in the process to revitalize the financial position of Manitoba Hydro and to protect the financial integrity of Manitoba.”