RESPONSE TO PUB ORDER 117/06. PUB Order 117/06 Directive 6

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1 RESPONSE TO PUB ORDER 117/06 PUB Order 117/06 Directive 6 6. Manitoba Hydro shall file a General Rate Application for the fiscal years 2007/08 and 2008/09 by no later than August 1, 2007 which shall include the following information: d) Detailed discussion and information with respect to financial forecasting methodologies used in preparation of the IFF, including preparation of load forecasts, utilization of water flow scenarios, methodologies for forecasting export prices and revenue, and information as to how the effects of drought, including purchased power costs, are reflected in the financial forecasts.

2 MANITOBA HYDRO S FINANCIAL FORECASTING METHODOLOGY Introduction The Integrated Financial Forecast (IFF) comprising the forecasts for electricity and gas operations is Manitoba Hydro s primary planning document for projecting the future financial direction of the Corporation. It is also the basis for recommending any rate changes that may be necessary in order for the Corporation to attain its financial targets and objectives. The IFF, submitted to the Board of Manitoba Hydro each Fall, is the culmination of a multistep forecasting cycle. It incorporates numerous inputs which are produced by various areas of the organization. These inputs provide the bases for forecasts for different categories of expenses and revenue from all sources including domestic sales and electricity exports. The IFF is comprised of various component forecasts from across the Corporation including: Economic Outlook (GDP growth, interest, escalation, exchange rates); Energy Price Outlook (prices for oil, natural gas, coal); The Electric Load Forecast (a forecast of energy consumption and peak demand by customer class); Power Resource Plan (a forecast of the optimum generation requirements to meet existing and future domestic customer loads and export opportunities); Generation Costs & Interchange Revenue Forecast (a forecast of export revenues and costs for thermal generation, imports, and water rentals); Operating & Administrative Expense Forecast (detailed expense budgets by function and department); and Capital Expenditure Forecast (plant additions and replacements to meet service and load requirements). Economic Outlook The first step in the annual forecast process, typically undertaken in April, is the preparation of the Economic Outlook. The Outlook provides projections of GDP growth in the U.S., Canada and Manitoba, housing starts, population growth and of numerous economic variables. These variables include inflation, interest and rates and are generally developed as a consensus of a number of available third party forecasts. The Economic Outlook drives the Manitoba Hydro Page 1 of 6

3 domestic electric load forecast through the projections for economic activity. Many other areas of the financial forecast including will reflect the economic variables from the Outlook. The rate of interest capitalized for projects under construction is a blended rate of new debt at the interest rates projected in the Economic Outlook and the average rate on outstanding debt. During the summer the interest and inflation rates in the forecast are once again reviewed to determine whether a final update for the IFF is required. Energy Price Outlook This forecast projects long term prices for crude oil, natural gas and coal. These price forecasts are used in project evaluation, load forecasting, marketing and fuel procurement decisions. The forecast is developed using consensus opinion from numerous external forecasters and forward strip prices from futures markets. The electricity load forecast will consider the prices for these alternative supply options when developing load projections. Natural gas and coal price forecasts are used in estimating the cost of operating thermal resources in the Manitoba Hydro system for future years in the IFF. Electric Load Forecast The Electricity System Load Forecast, which is usually prepared in May, provides the basis for determining the revenue projections for domestic electricity sales. It also establishes the load that the Power Resource Plan must be able to meet and is used to determine the availability of energy for export sales and the need for any electricity imports. In order to support all of these requirements, low and high forecast scenarios are prepared in addition to an expected case. These scenarios reflect the outlook under a range of possible economic conditions. Detailed explanations of the forecast models are contained in the Electric Load Forecast filed as Tab 7 of this Application. A brief summary of the methods used is described below: Residential - Econometric and end use analysis are performed and equations developed to explain the relationship of Residential electricity consumption to various economic and demographic factors. The Residential Forecast for the combined service area is calculated using a detailed multi-step, end use approach. Econometrics is used to forecast the total number of Residential customers and to separate the customers into Standard (non-electric primary space heat) and All-Electric (electric primary space heat) categories. The 2003 Residential Survey provided an update for appliance saturation rates, including the Winnipeg Manitoba Hydro Page 2 of 6

4 Hydro service area. This information is combined with previous survey results to prepare a forecast of future appliance saturation rates. Conditional Demand Analysis is performed on the appliance survey data to update unit energy consumption (UEC) for each appliance type. Energy Management staff provide estimates for appliance lifetimes and for future unit energy consumption of each major appliance. The information is used to calculate an energy forecast for each end use. General Service - The energy use requirements of the Top Consumers in the Manitoba Hydro service area are reviewed individually. Regression equations have been developed to predict the electricity consumption for the Mass Market of all other General Service customers in the combined service area. Estimates of the load reduction associated with Commercial lighting standards are then deducted from the regression output. The forecast is modified to reflect any major customers plans as well as applications for service from new customers. Area and Roadway Lighting - Trends in the historical average use and number of customers are derived and extrapolated for the sentinel and street lighting classifications. Street Lighting accounts for both service areas were combined for this analysis. Net Total Peak - Annual energy is distributed to all 8,760 hours of the year using the base load, heating slope and cooling slope as calculated by the Hourly Load Model. Power Resource Plan The Power Resource Plan, which is usually undertaken in June, determines the long-term resource requirements necessary to most economically meet the projected Manitoba firm load as well as committed export sales. In addition to hydraulic and thermal generation resources, power purchases such as those from potential wind farms and demand side management options are also considered. The timing of new resources is dictated by the comparison of projected load growth to the energy and capacity that can be produced by the system under dependable flow conditions the lowest historic flow on record. Economic factors affecting the sequence decisions include the capital and operating costs for each alternative, their operating characteristics as well as the revenue that can be realized from surplus system energy. The value for this energy is determined through the use of a generation simulation system that models the system operation under all historic flow conditions and using projected export energy prices. Further information on the contents of the 2006 plan for power resources is provided in Tab 8. Manitoba Hydro Page 3 of 6

5 Export Price Forecast Manitoba Hydro reviews and produces a long-term electricity export price forecast usually in Spring as part of its annual planning cycle. The price forecast reflects electricity prices in the Midwest Reliability Organization footprint (MRO - formerly known as MAPP) which is representative of Manitoba Hydro s prime power market region for wholesale electricity. Three electricity export price scenarios are developed - expected, high and low. The expected long-term electricity export price forecast is based on external consultants best estimate of long-term electricity market clearing prices and includes a CO2 (carbon dioxide) premium which represents the impacts that a US GHG (greenhouse gas) policy will have on the market clearing price of power. The expected long-term forecast represents expected prices for each year and is not intended to capture short-term market volatility associated with acute events such as extreme weather or political instability. Since several external consultant forecasts are used, the expected forecast scenario represents a range of expert views on the expected future of the electricity export market. Although coal-fired capacity is projected to continue to be the dominant fuel source in the MRO region, growth in natural gas fired generation and renewable generation (mainly wind powered) is also expected. Since electricity market prices are determined by the generation source that meets the last MW.h of demand during any hour, natural gas fired generation still predominantly sets the on-peak market clearing electricity prices in the expected forecasts. It is predominantly coal-fired generation that sets the off-peak market clearing electricity prices in the expected forecasts because loads are lower and less costly base load generation is at the margin. In order to provide forecasts representative of extreme market conditions that may develop and persist in the future, high and low forecast scenarios are also developed. These scenarios are developed by Manitoba Hydro based on current market intelligence, information provided by external consultants, past market experience, and judgments regarding future market developments. Generation Costs & Interchange Revenue Forecast This forecast, usually prepared in late summer, provides a forecast of export and other revenues from neighbouring utilities and an estimate of the thermal generation, imports purchases, water rentals and land rentals required to produce the projected revenue. The Manitoba Hydro Page 4 of 6

6 system operation is modelled to optimize net export revenue (net of import and thermal costs) while meeting projected Manitoba domestic requirements and committed export sales and ensuring a minimum level of storage is maintained to guard against drought in subsequent years. The forecast adopts the recommended resource additions outline in the Power Resource Plan. The first year of the forecast is based upon actual hydraulic reservoir and inflow conditions known at the time that the forecast is prepared and the assumption that normal precipitation conditions will exist for the balance of the fiscal year. The second year of the forecast begins with the first year projected ending reservoir conditions and assumes median inflows will occur throughout the year. Export prices are projected using the most current information on export market trends with a focus on the spread between on and offpeak energy prices as this dictates the optimum operation of the hydraulic reservoirs. Subsequent to the first two years of the forecast, a different modelling approach is used. Year three assumes that the year begins with expected reservoir conditions as there is a low degree of influence from current conditions. Instead of modelling the system operation under median flow conditions, the system is modelled repeatedly under all 93 historic flow conditions that have been experienced in the past. The Export Price Forecast and the Power Resource Plan as described above are utilized as inputs to the modelling of system operation. Separate cost and revenue projections are made for each year under each flow condition, and the 93 individual forecasts for each year are then averaged to produce an expected forecast that encompasses the uncertainty in future flow conditions. This expected forecast differs from the median inflow forecast used in the first two years in that it recognizes that in the long term there is a possibility of a full range of flow conditions from low to high. The longer term forecast reflects the asymmetry of the impacts of different water conditions: low flow conditions have a greater negative impact than the positive impact that high flows can have. This is due to the higher unit costs of imports when Manitoba Hydro is importing from a region which it normally exports to and the high cost of thermal generation during a drought, whereas under high flows market prices can be depressed somewhat due to available volumes and water may be spilled throughout the system due to station design and interconnection constraints. Operating & Administrative Expense Forecast Operating and administration expense forecasts are developed at the operating level within each business unit based on the requirements to provide quality customer service and to ensure the safe and reliable operation and maintenance of the generation, transmission and Manitoba Hydro Page 5 of 6

7 distribution systems. Overall corporate targets are established and the individual business unit forecast are prioritized in order to achieve these targets. Costs for each function are determined using full absorption costing which includes direct costs plus allocations of overheads. This costing system is also used to provide a fair allocation of costs between the electricity and gas operations of Hydro. Activities associated with capital projects are capitalized, removing them from operating and administration expense and incorporating them into the costs of the appropriate capital project. The overall forecast is finalized in September for incorporation into the IFF. Capital Expenditure Forecast The capital expenditure forecast includes the costs of projects necessary to meet system load, as identified in the Power Resource Plan as well as transmission and distribution projects necessary to meet load and reliability requirements throughout the province. The forecast also includes major repairs and refurbishment of existing facilities and upgrades which have been justified on an economic basis. Extensive reviews are undertaken to prioritize capital expenditures in order to meet system safety, reliability and load requirements in the most efficient and economic way. Individual capital items are re-estimated every year to reflect actual progress on projects underway and to reflect current estimates of costs and the availability of the resources necessary for each project. A portion of the forecast is allocated to smaller items necessary to maintain the distribution system at the local level and to meet customer load and connection requirements. The capital forecast is finalized in September for incorporation into the IFF. Integrated Financial Forecast (IFF) Sensitivities The impacts of drought and of changes in economic variables and market prices are contained in the Risk section of the IFF. Assumptions for high and low water flows are based on a repeat of historic extremes consistent with the data used in development of the Power Resource Plan and Generation Costs and Revenue Forecast. Manitoba Hydro Page 6 of 6

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