One year after the idea of selling or merging Guelph Hydro was first floated publicly, the City of Guelph says it’s ready to move forward with a merger.
City officials announced Wednesday that they had begun talks with Alectra, the hydro utility servicing a wide area including Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Hamilton and other communities around the Greater Toronto Area, about a merger.
Over the past year, a public process had seen the city narrow down its options for the utility’s future to the point where merging with another utility was considered the preferred choice.
City officials have said that a merger would create efficiencies in administration and other areas, in turn keeping local hydro bills low, while not affecting the reliability of the service.
According to a city press release, a merger would also result in Alectra locating an operations hub for southwestern Ontario in Guelph, as well as creating a green energy technology development centre in the city.
Details of the merger are expected to be presented to the community, although no specific dates for that to happen have been made public. Councillors are expected to vote on the matter on Dec. 13.
Guelph Hydro, which is currently owned by a subsidiary of the City of Guelph, provides electricity to Guelph and Rockwood.
Ontario’s hydro utilities have undergone substantial consolidation over the past few years. In 2012, there were 73 such companies in existence, while a provincial report recommended reducing that number to eight.
Alectra was one such result of that report. It formed earlier this year when Enersource, Horizon Utilities and PowerStream merged and purchased Hydro One Brampton.
Other local impacts have included the creation of Energy+ when Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro purchased Brant County Power, as well as Woodstock Hydro, Norfolk Power Distribution and Haldimand County Hydro selling to Hydro One.
Waterloo North Hydro has also recently been considering a possible purchase of or merger with another utility.