What is Being Considered?
A proposal is being developed to bring together four of Ontario's most successful local electricity distribution companies: Horizon Utilities Corporation, Enersource, Hydro One Brampton, and PowerStream.
The purpose of this new partnership would be to use its collective resources – serving almost a million customers in Hamilton and St. Catharines as well as Peel Region, York Region and Simcoe County – to continue delivering low rates, efficient services and innovative technologies for its customers.
The new company being considered would only proceed if customer, shareholder and community benefits exist to do so.
The plan being considered will require the approval of all shareholders and will be subject to regulatory approvals, including by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
The City of Hamilton and the City of St. Catharines – Horizon Utilities' shareholders – are expected to vote on the merger this October after reviewing the benefits for customers and their communities. The OEB will subsequently review the deal pending the outcome of all local council votes.
Our proposal keeps the ownership of the new company publicly owned by the municipalities of Hamilton, St. Catharines, Mississauga, Barrie, Markham, and Vaughan, as well as Borealis – part of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the pension fund for Ontario's municipal employees. The new company would purchase Hydro One Brampton, which was a municipal utility like the others until 2001.
Our Responsibility to Customers and Municipal Shareholders
Horizon Utilities has a responsibility to address any and all long-term market conditions that either threaten or improve on our ability to execute our core mandates: to ensure the health and welfare of our employees; to deliver safe, reliable electricity to our customers at the lowest-possible price; and to accomplish all of this while providing sustainable dividends to our shareholders.
Horizon Utilities will improve on that ability through joining together with other utilities, as we have done in the past.
Successful Merger History
The previous merger of St. Catharines Hydro and the Hamilton Utilities Corporation 10 years ago helped us keep our rates as low as possible through creating efficiencies – mostly in our administrative costs.
But today, we've squeezed out every efficiency possible.
In order to remain competitive, we must grow the number of customers we serve, thus spreading the cost of administration and other back office operating costs over a larger base. As there is very little opportunity to grow the number of customers in Horizon Utilities' current service territories, we must look further afield.
Giving consideration to joining together with other electricity distributors who are very much like ourselves – municipally focused and operating in the Greater Golden Horseshoe – allows us to achieve this growth and the efficiencies that come with it.