Waterloo Region hydro companies announce plan to merge – Kitchener

The companies behind the Waterloo region-based utilities Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro announced plans for a merger on Friday.

In a press release, the two companies said the plans to merge operations come after thorough discussion and analysis.

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“Our board of directors believes the combination with Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro is a good deal for Waterloo North Hydro customers and our Waterloo, Woolwich and Wellesley shareholders,” said David Petras, chairman of Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corp.

“Ontario’s power sector is changing rapidly and this proposed merger is a local solution that will help our communities adapt to these changes and thrive in the years to come.”

The merger still requires the approval of the five affected municipal councils: the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener and the municipalities of Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot. It would then have to be approved by the Ontario Energy Board.

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The combination of the two utilities would create the seventh largest utility in Ontario by number of customers.

“Customers will benefit from having a larger local public utility that maintains the highest quality of service for customers while also having the ability to modernize and adapt to major changes in Ontario’s electricity sector,” the company said in the press release .

“The combined utility will have more resources to invest in new technologies that will benefit customers, such as smart home and energy data management, auto recovery from power outages, microgrids and local renewable energy generation.”

Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro are considering taking the next step in their ongoing collaboration by merging their operations to create a larger local and public utility company. – https://t.co/lWjGiQq8uK

– City of Waterloo (@citywaterloo) October 1, 2021

The companies also said the merger will help keep sales rates “competitive and stable” for customers. They claim that sales rates for all customers are expected to grow less than inflation in the 10 years following the merger.

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Communities are also expected to receive an increase in incremental dividends and interest on their investments in the decade following the merger.

Each parish would also receive proportional ownership of the new company and representation on a new board of directors.

Layoffs due to the merger are also not expected.

“There are vacancies that are not filled and some retirements are pending. The main office will be the current Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro office in the City of Kitchener, with a second workstation in the current Waterloo North Hydro office where activities will include leading innovation and new technology developments, ”the companies said.

The planned merger will be submitted to all five municipal councils for approval next week.

This is followed by engagement with the community and staff, including public briefings. A new website has also been launched.

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In December, the five municipalities should then decide on the merger.

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If approved by all local councils, the merger proposals will then be submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for regulatory approval, which is expected in the third quarter of 2022.

The new company should start operations shortly thereafter.

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“From a financial perspective, this merger is a win-win for customers and municipal shareholders as the combined utility will keep tariffs competitive while reducing costs through operational efficiency,” said Jim Phillips, chairman of Kitchener Power Corp.

“And when it comes to employees, this local association will keep jobs here in our community.”

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