Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. and Alectra Utilities Corp. completed the closing of an agreement yesterday to merge their two electricity distribution utilities.
The merged entity will retain the Alectra corporate name, but will be co-branded Guelph Hydro and Alectra Utilities in the former Guelph Hydro service territory of Guelph and Rockwood for a period of time. The company is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada, by customer base, serving more than one million homes and businesses in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area.
Expected benefits from the merger for the City of Guelph and former Guelph Hydro customers include:
- Achieving operational efficiencies that will help keep electricity distribution rates as low as possible.
- Accessing greater resources that will enhance the utility’s ability to improve reliability and power quality for homes and businesses in the Guelph and Rockwood communities.
- Maintaining a Southwest Ontario operations hub in Guelph from where local powerline and maintenance crews will continue to provide local service.
- Establishment of a new Green Energy & Technology Centre (GRE&T Centre), which will attract talent and build skills in green technologies within the region.
Also, as part of the merger agreement, Alectra’s original 13-member Board of Directors has been expanded to accommodate representation from the City of Guelph. Jane Armstrong — who was a member of the Guelph Hydro Board of Directors for 12 years, serving as Board Chair since 2016 — has been selected as Guelph’s representative and will join the Alectra Board early in 2019.
“The City of Guelph is thrilled to be a part of the utility’s ownership group. We are looking forward to developing a strong and productive working relationship with our other municipal partners in this venture,” Mayor Cam Guthrie said in reference to Alectra’s six other municipal owners that include the cities of Barrie, Hamilton, Markham, Mississauga, Vaughan, St. Catharines as well as OMERS.
“This transaction will benefit all Alectra customers,” Alectra’s Board Chair, Norm Loberg, said. “We’re confident the merger will not only help to reduce the upward pressure on customer distribution rates, but will also serve as a catalyst for developing and delivering new energy products and services.”
“Providing customers with safe, reliable and efficient service will continue to be a top priority for our company,” Alectra’s President and CEO, Brian Bentz, added. “I am certain this merger will prove to be a win-win-win situation for our customers, shareholders and the communities we serve.”