Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government passed several bills into law Thursday night covering items ranging from electricity to weeds before the legislature's autumn break.

One bill approved in a final vote sets debt-reduction targets for Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro and caps annual rate increases. The government said the measures will keep increases reasonable while helping the utility's financial stability.

"This is about ensuring that there is rate certainty and not rate shock for Manitobans. It's really, really important in this time in high inflation," Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen said.

The Opposition New Democrats delayed the bill in the spring and fought against it.

They said the debt-reduction targets would force higher than necessary rate hikes. The bill also gives the provincial cabinet new powers to set parameters for hearings held by the provincial regulator. The NDP said that amounts to interference in what is supposed to be an independent process. . . . The legislature is to resume Nov. 15 with a throne speech that will outline the government's plans for the coming year.