04/03/2013 12:07 EDT | Updated 06/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Manitoba Opposition says Hydro ads promote huge gamble on energy

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Tories say an advertising campaign from the province's hydro utility is an insult.

Opposition Leader Brian Pallister says Manitoba Hydro should not be spending $750,000 on ads that encourage new energy projects when questions are being raised about their viability.

The ads promote the company's plans to spend more than $18 billion over the next dozen years to build two generating stations and a transmission line.

Pallister says soft export markets could see the utility selling that electricity at a loss, and he wants the projects delayed while they are reviewed.

Manitoba Hydro has said export markets will rebound and even domestic demand will require new dams within a decade.

It has admitted that consumers will have to pay more for the projects — it predicts 3.9 per cent increases in hydro rates for the foreseeable future.