WINNIPEG – Manitoba Hydro will roll out its voluntary departure program on Monday as the corporation tries to eliminate 900 positions and reign in its multi-billion dollar debt.
The utility also announced on Thursday that it eliminated 10 senior management positions that report directly to the vice-presidents. Eight employees are leaving the company and two will retire by the end of the year.
READ MORE: Manitoba Hydro To Cut 900 Positions
This follows previous announcements that three vice-presidents were let go from the company and thousands of employees would have their salaries frozen.
Hydro executives warned in September that the utility’s debt was at around $13 billion and could balloon $25 million in the next few years with the completion of the Keeyask generating station and the Biple III transmission line.
“The voluntary departure program is the preferred first step to achieving our target workforce reduction,” said Hydro President and CEO, Kelvin Shepherd in a statement. “It’s fair to our employees, providing a financial incentive to those who choose to voluntarily leave the company.”
The program will be available for six weeks and the majority of hydro employees will be eligible to apply.
“Although we do have the right of refusal to deny an application if the person is deemed integral to operations or the running of our business,” said Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen.
“We estimate this voluntary departure program will be a one time cost of less than $57 million, but at the same time we expect to save $98 million annually through this program.”
In addition to these measures, Hydro has indicated it will apply for a rate increase to the Public Utilities Board next month.
“Reducing our costs is important but maintaining safe, reliable service to our customers remains paramount,” said Shepherd. “To build a stronger, financially-stable, more customer-focused Manitoba Hydro, we will need to continue to have a strong base of skilled and talented employees to run the business and serve our customers, and I am confident that this voluntary departure program is one way to help us achieve that goal.”