Energy Matters – February 2017

Included with this month’s Energy Matters:

Power Smart tip

Vacuum the cooling coils on the back or behind the front grill of your fridge for peak efficiency.

Keep your home running safe and smoothly in winter

Manitoba Hydro crews work in some tough weather conditions to make sure you have reliable electric and natural gas service during winter.

You can help our staff do their jobs safely and more quickly by clearing walkways and driveways, and removing ice and snow from electric and natural gas meters. Meters need to be accessible to allow us to get an accurate reading.

And even though your natural gas meter and pressure regulator are built to withstand our extreme winter weather, a buildup of snow and ice on the regulator can block the vent and allow excess gas pressure into your home, causing a potential hazard or disrupting your gas service.

When shovelling or using a snow blower, don’t pile snow against the meter and be careful not to bump it. Gently remove the snow from the meter with a broom or your hand to avoid problems.

Sidewall vents

Sidewall exhaust vents are common in homes with high-efficiency natural gas furnaces and water heaters.

These vents act as breathing devices for these systems. They take in fresh air and mix it with fuel to produce heat, and then discharge exhaust fumes that contain harmful carbon monoxide.

If a vent becomes blocked with snow or ice, it could affect the safe operation of your heating equipment, drawing exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide back into the home.

A normal snowfall should not pose a problem. However, when excess snow is piled in these areas, such as through shovelling, snow blowing or drifting, it can cause a blockage. So be sure to keep these vents clear.


Power outages can occur when heavy snow or ice accumulates on power lines, or from high winds knocking trees onto lines or damaging other equipment.

Manitoba Hydro removes ice from power lines as quickly as possible to prevent equipment breakage and loss of power.

If the power goes out, report the outage using your smart phone. All we need is a phone number linked to your account to assign a crew.

In the event of a power outage, lower your thermostat and make sure to turn off or unplug all electrical appliances, especially the ones you were using before the power went out. Unplug electronic equipment to protect it from a voltage surge when power is restored. Keep one light plugged in and turned on, so you will know when the electricity is back on.

If you see a serious emergency situation such as a downed power line, call 911 immediately – it poses a public safety risk. Our emergency number is 204-480-5900 in Winnipeg or toll free 1-888-624-9376 to alert our staff and deploy a crew.

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Hydro heading west: Birtle Transmission Project

Manitoba Hydro wants feedback from the public and Indigenous communities on a number of alternative routes for a proposed 230-kilovolt transmission line to run from Birtle to the Manitoba-Saskatchewan boundary.

This transmission line will allow Manitoba Hydro to sell SaskPower 100 megawatts of clean, renewable hydroelectricity on a guaranteed basis. It’s part of a 20-year agreement signed between the utilities in 2016.

“SaskPower’s load is growing and some of its generating stations are aging and must be replaced,“ said David Cormie, Manitoba Hydro’s manager of Power Sales and Operations. ”Purchasing power from us was more economical for them than the alternatives, which included building a natural gas-fired generating station.

“Importing electricity from Manitoba is also attractive environmentally because there are almost zero emissions associated with hydropower,“ Cormie said. “Hydropower emits a tiny fraction of carbon compared to a natural gas plant.”

Cormie said the agreement with SaskPower helps pay for Keeyask, the 695-megawatt hydroelectric generating station currently under construction about 725 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the lower Nelson River.

“We expect to have surplus power available from Keeyask once it is completed,“ Cormie said. “With the guaranteed revenues from the sale, some of Keeyask costs will be paid for by SaskPower and as a result, rates for electricity in Manitoba will be lower than they would be otherwise.”

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Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation

Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. That’s why REALTORS® created the Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation. Through fundraising and philanthropy, REALTORS® help Manitobans needing shelter and safety by providing grants to shelter-related charities. Since 2008, the REALTOR® community has raised over $700,000 for charities across Manitoba.

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