A possible jump in hydro rates has the manager of the Shamrock Centre in Killarney worried about implications for the facility.

Manitoba Hydro is facing financial difficulties and is asking the Public Utilities Board for a rate hike of 7.9% and similar rate hikes over the next few years.

Brian Lepoudre is Killarney-Turtle Mountain’s recreation manager and he fears rate hikes of that size will make it very difficult for the Shamrock Centre.

“The Shamrock Centre is totally dependent on Hydro we have no natural gas. With our heat we do save because we pull heat off of our compressors while they are running so that is a cost saving for the building but our annual bill with Manitoba Hydro is around $100,000 per year.”

Lepoudre says they plan for a slight increase in hydro rates of two or three percent every year but if Manitoba Hydro gets a seven or eight percent increase that means the Shamrock Centre’s bottom line expenses will jump by $7,000 to $8,000.

“That means we either have to increase revenue or cut costs and you can only go so far with user fees so it would likely end up being cost cutting measures. We would look at our operations and see if there is something here we don’t need. If there is a capital expenditure were wanted to make it may have to wait” said Lepoudre.

Moves have taken place to reduce costs at the Shamrock Centre. The lights in the main arena were switched over to a more energy efficient blub. “We went from 400 watt bulbs to 150 watt lights and went to LED and that produce cost savings so we may start looking at what other things can we do to save even more money.”

Lepoudre says if Manitoba Hydro gets significant increases approved over the next few years it will be impossible to keep up and they’d likely have to dip into capital reserves to pay the hydro bill.

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