Hamilton, St. Catharines mayors sign agreement creating second largest electricity distributor in Ontario

News Mar 24, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

A proposed utility merger involving four hydro companies, plus six southern Ontario municipalities is expected to lower hydro rates to customers, while also earning higher revenues to the cities involved, says the Ontario energy minister.

“Amalgamation has been going on because it just makes sense,” said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s energy minister. “The experience has been that this has happened (before) providing better services and lower cost. That’s the best guarantee you are going to get.”

Chiarelli, along with representatives from Barrie, Markham, Vaughan, St. Catharines, Mississauga and Hamilton signed a merger participation agreement and share purchase agreement March 24 in Hamilton to merge the Enersource Corporation, Horizon Utilities and PowerStream, and also jointly purchasing for $607 million Hydro One Brampton.  All net revenue gains from the sale will be directed to the Trillium Trust to help pay for transit, transportation and other infrastructure projects.

The new, as yet unnamed company will be the second largest electricity distributor in Ontario behind Toronto Hydro, with 960,000 customers. Horizon Utilities, which merged with St. Catharines Hydro in 2005, currently has 242,000 customers.

Politicians and hydro officials said the new utility company will ultimately cut about $40 annually from the average customer’s hydro bill, which comprises 25 per cent of the cost of the electricity rate.

It is also projected that all shareholders will see their dividends increase over the next 20 years. For instance, Hamilton’s dividends will rise on average from the current $13 million annually to about $16.8 million. St. Catharines, which will have the lowest number of shares at 4.9 per cent, will receive a dividend increase from $3.5 million to about $4.5 million.

Hamilton will have about 18.2 per cent of the shares, compared to Enersource’s 31 per cent, and Vaughan’s 20.8 per cent. Markham will have 15.7 per cent of the shares, and Barrie 9.4 per cent.

“Horizon has been a great success story for Hamilton since it merged with St. Catharines,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We are well positioned to maintain the kind of efficiencies and cost reductions that we have seen in the past.”

Eisenberger said he is not concerned about Hamilton’s limited control on the new board.

“I will be on the board,” he said. “We have the same oversight provision that we have right now. We are just dealing with a larger entity.”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik called the merger a “great transformative opportunity” that will benefit the community for generations.

“It will make us more competitive and it will provide relief to those ratepayers,” he said. “This is a moment people will be talking about for years to come.”

St. Catharines council voted unanimously last October for the merger, while Hamilton council on Oct. 30 approved the merger with a 10-4 vote. A few Hamilton politicians were concerned about the city’s reduced control on the new board, and they called the merger “premature.”

The new company will have its headquarters in Mississauga, but Horizon Utilities will keep its John Street office open for at least the next 10 years. In addition, its call centres in St. Catharines and Hamilton will remain open.

Max Cananzi, president of Horizon Utilities said the company is reviewing its business plan and any job losses will be completed through attrition starting in 2017.

“We have made a commitment there will be no layoffs,” said Cananzi. “We are going through a process of voluntary measures.”

He said a “re-branding” of the new company, including a new name, will be presented to the public late in 2016.

The merged company will employ about 1,400 people. Horizon Utilities has about 425 people.

Chiarelli said the shareholders will submit an application to the Ontario Energy Board within a few weeks. It is expected to take about six months for approval. Officials say they don’t have a concern about whether the OEB will oppose the application.

“There will be hearings, and submissions to make sure (the application) benefits all the ratepayers,” said Chiarelli. “We expect it to go through the process.”

Hamilton, St. Catharines mayors sign agreement creating second largest electricity distributor in Ontario

News Mar 24, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

A proposed utility merger involving four hydro companies, plus six southern Ontario municipalities is expected to lower hydro rates to customers, while also earning higher revenues to the cities involved, says the Ontario energy minister.

“Amalgamation has been going on because it just makes sense,” said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s energy minister. “The experience has been that this has happened (before) providing better services and lower cost. That’s the best guarantee you are going to get.”

Chiarelli, along with representatives from Barrie, Markham, Vaughan, St. Catharines, Mississauga and Hamilton signed a merger participation agreement and share purchase agreement March 24 in Hamilton to merge the Enersource Corporation, Horizon Utilities and PowerStream, and also jointly purchasing for $607 million Hydro One Brampton.  All net revenue gains from the sale will be directed to the Trillium Trust to help pay for transit, transportation and other infrastructure projects.

The new, as yet unnamed company will be the second largest electricity distributor in Ontario behind Toronto Hydro, with 960,000 customers. Horizon Utilities, which merged with St. Catharines Hydro in 2005, currently has 242,000 customers.

Related Content

Politicians and hydro officials said the new utility company will ultimately cut about $40 annually from the average customer’s hydro bill, which comprises 25 per cent of the cost of the electricity rate.

It is also projected that all shareholders will see their dividends increase over the next 20 years. For instance, Hamilton’s dividends will rise on average from the current $13 million annually to about $16.8 million. St. Catharines, which will have the lowest number of shares at 4.9 per cent, will receive a dividend increase from $3.5 million to about $4.5 million.

Hamilton will have about 18.2 per cent of the shares, compared to Enersource’s 31 per cent, and Vaughan’s 20.8 per cent. Markham will have 15.7 per cent of the shares, and Barrie 9.4 per cent.

“Horizon has been a great success story for Hamilton since it merged with St. Catharines,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We are well positioned to maintain the kind of efficiencies and cost reductions that we have seen in the past.”

Eisenberger said he is not concerned about Hamilton’s limited control on the new board.

“I will be on the board,” he said. “We have the same oversight provision that we have right now. We are just dealing with a larger entity.”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik called the merger a “great transformative opportunity” that will benefit the community for generations.

“It will make us more competitive and it will provide relief to those ratepayers,” he said. “This is a moment people will be talking about for years to come.”

St. Catharines council voted unanimously last October for the merger, while Hamilton council on Oct. 30 approved the merger with a 10-4 vote. A few Hamilton politicians were concerned about the city’s reduced control on the new board, and they called the merger “premature.”

The new company will have its headquarters in Mississauga, but Horizon Utilities will keep its John Street office open for at least the next 10 years. In addition, its call centres in St. Catharines and Hamilton will remain open.

Max Cananzi, president of Horizon Utilities said the company is reviewing its business plan and any job losses will be completed through attrition starting in 2017.

“We have made a commitment there will be no layoffs,” said Cananzi. “We are going through a process of voluntary measures.”

He said a “re-branding” of the new company, including a new name, will be presented to the public late in 2016.

The merged company will employ about 1,400 people. Horizon Utilities has about 425 people.

Chiarelli said the shareholders will submit an application to the Ontario Energy Board within a few weeks. It is expected to take about six months for approval. Officials say they don’t have a concern about whether the OEB will oppose the application.

“There will be hearings, and submissions to make sure (the application) benefits all the ratepayers,” said Chiarelli. “We expect it to go through the process.”

Hamilton, St. Catharines mayors sign agreement creating second largest electricity distributor in Ontario

News Mar 24, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

A proposed utility merger involving four hydro companies, plus six southern Ontario municipalities is expected to lower hydro rates to customers, while also earning higher revenues to the cities involved, says the Ontario energy minister.

“Amalgamation has been going on because it just makes sense,” said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s energy minister. “The experience has been that this has happened (before) providing better services and lower cost. That’s the best guarantee you are going to get.”

Chiarelli, along with representatives from Barrie, Markham, Vaughan, St. Catharines, Mississauga and Hamilton signed a merger participation agreement and share purchase agreement March 24 in Hamilton to merge the Enersource Corporation, Horizon Utilities and PowerStream, and also jointly purchasing for $607 million Hydro One Brampton.  All net revenue gains from the sale will be directed to the Trillium Trust to help pay for transit, transportation and other infrastructure projects.

The new, as yet unnamed company will be the second largest electricity distributor in Ontario behind Toronto Hydro, with 960,000 customers. Horizon Utilities, which merged with St. Catharines Hydro in 2005, currently has 242,000 customers.

Related Content

Politicians and hydro officials said the new utility company will ultimately cut about $40 annually from the average customer’s hydro bill, which comprises 25 per cent of the cost of the electricity rate.

It is also projected that all shareholders will see their dividends increase over the next 20 years. For instance, Hamilton’s dividends will rise on average from the current $13 million annually to about $16.8 million. St. Catharines, which will have the lowest number of shares at 4.9 per cent, will receive a dividend increase from $3.5 million to about $4.5 million.

Hamilton will have about 18.2 per cent of the shares, compared to Enersource’s 31 per cent, and Vaughan’s 20.8 per cent. Markham will have 15.7 per cent of the shares, and Barrie 9.4 per cent.

“Horizon has been a great success story for Hamilton since it merged with St. Catharines,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We are well positioned to maintain the kind of efficiencies and cost reductions that we have seen in the past.”

Eisenberger said he is not concerned about Hamilton’s limited control on the new board.

“I will be on the board,” he said. “We have the same oversight provision that we have right now. We are just dealing with a larger entity.”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik called the merger a “great transformative opportunity” that will benefit the community for generations.

“It will make us more competitive and it will provide relief to those ratepayers,” he said. “This is a moment people will be talking about for years to come.”

St. Catharines council voted unanimously last October for the merger, while Hamilton council on Oct. 30 approved the merger with a 10-4 vote. A few Hamilton politicians were concerned about the city’s reduced control on the new board, and they called the merger “premature.”

The new company will have its headquarters in Mississauga, but Horizon Utilities will keep its John Street office open for at least the next 10 years. In addition, its call centres in St. Catharines and Hamilton will remain open.

Max Cananzi, president of Horizon Utilities said the company is reviewing its business plan and any job losses will be completed through attrition starting in 2017.

“We have made a commitment there will be no layoffs,” said Cananzi. “We are going through a process of voluntary measures.”

He said a “re-branding” of the new company, including a new name, will be presented to the public late in 2016.

The merged company will employ about 1,400 people. Horizon Utilities has about 425 people.

Chiarelli said the shareholders will submit an application to the Ontario Energy Board within a few weeks. It is expected to take about six months for approval. Officials say they don’t have a concern about whether the OEB will oppose the application.

“There will be hearings, and submissions to make sure (the application) benefits all the ratepayers,” said Chiarelli. “We expect it to go through the process.”