With just under 70 utilities across the province, Ontario has almost double the number of local hydro distribution utilities compared to the rest of the Canadian provinces combined.
The Province of Ontario remains concerned about the current structure of the electricity distribution sector, which includes customer bases ranging from 1,225 (Hydro 2000 in Eastern Ontario) to over 1.2 million (Hydro One). Waterloo North Hydro currently has 56,000 customers.
The Province believes the fragmented structure of the hydro sector results in higher costs for utilities and customers. The increased costs are largely due to higher operations, maintenance and administration expenses; duplication of equipment and facilities; and additional requirements for regulatory oversight.
To reduce costs and achieve greater operational efficiencies, the Province continues to take steps to encourage voluntary market consolidation through a permanent holiday from the Transfer Tax for mergers and acquisitions involving publicly-owned utilities and by allowing local hydro utilities to keep operating cost savings for a period of time up to 10 years after a merger.
Through this provincial encouragement, many municipalities are reviewing options for their local hydro utilities. In recent years, some municipalities have opted to merge, sell or acquire while others have decided to stand-alone.
Cambridge, North Dumfries, Brant County: Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro acquired Brant County Power to become Energy+ (January 2016)
Mississauga, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Barrie, Markham, Vaughan: Enersource (Mississauga and Borealis), Horizon Utilities (Hamilton and St. Catharines) and PowerStream (Barrie, Markham and Vaughan) combined and acquired Hydro One Brampton from the Province of Ontario to become Alectra (January 2017)
Oshawa: Following community conversations and a business case analysis to merge with Veridian (Pickering, Ajax, Clarington and Belleville) and Whitby Hydro, Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation decided to withdraw from merger discussions and stand-alone (March 2017)
Along with these examples, other local hydro utilities are considering merger and acquisition options, including Veridian and Whitby Hydro, Entegrus and St. Thomas Energy, Midland Power and Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution, as well as Kenora Hydro and Thunder Bay Hydro. Toronto Hydro, Guelph Hydro and others are also considering their strategic options.
Ontario Energy Board
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is responsible for regulating the province’s electricity sector with the public interest in mind. As it relates to this discussion, the OEB is mandated to:
- Set the electricity generation rates that Waterloo North Hydro charges for the electricity used for home or small business. These appear on the Electricity line of your Waterloo North Hydro bill.
- Set the electricity distribution rates for delivery of the electricity for all customers in the City of Waterloo, the Township of Woolwich and the Township of Wellesley. Waterloo North Hydro uses just under 25 per cent of your total electricity bill payments to cover power distribution to homes and businesses in your community.
- Approve any plan to buy, sell or merge utility assets. In all cases, the OEB uses its No Harm Test to approve or deny any proposed change. In addition to these criteria, Waterloo North Hydro has identified its own local Evaluation Criteria.
Waterloo North Hydro Inc.
Waterloo North Hydro Inc. is the 13th largest hydro distribution utility in Ontario. The Company provides electricity to over 56,000 residents, commercial and industrial customers over 672 square kilometers. Across the network, Waterloo North Hydro Inc. owns and operates 21,000 poles, 7,600 transformers, approximately 1,700 km of overhead and underground feeder lines, three transmission connected transformer stations and 10 distribution substations. It serves the large rural and urban service area with the support of 124 valued employees.
As determined by the Ontario Energy Board, Waterloo North Hydro uses around 25 per cent of your total electricity bill payments to cover power distribution to homes and businesses in your community. To learn more about your Waterloo North Hydro bill, review the charts below or read the OEB’s “Understanding Your Electricity Bill” overview.
Average Large Business Customer
($15,999.56 – 200 kW per month; 100,000 kWh per month)
Debt Retirement Charges
Average Residential Customer
($124.30 – 750 kWh per month)
Average Small Commercial Customer
($322.36 – 2,000 kWh per month)
Debt Retirement Charges
The City of Waterloo, the Township of Woolwich and the Township of Wellesley jointly own the Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corporation. Each municipally owns a different percentage: City of Waterloo (73.2 per cent), Township of Woolwich (20.2 per cent) and Township of Wellesley (6.6 per cent).
Observing the changes to the LDC environment in Ontario in recent years, the Board of Directors of Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corporation have increasingly been working with municipal staff to monitor and report on the developments.
The councils of the City of Waterloo (March 27), Township of Woolwich (March 28) and Township of Wellesley (March 28) approved a resolution giving direction to the Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corporation Board of Directors to review the options and associated Evaluation Criteria.
The elected councils from all three municipalities had a special joint meeting on June 7, 2017 to approve the way forward for the asset review of Waterloo North Hydro.
Board of Directors
The Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corporation Board of Directors provides strategic direction and governance to the corporation. In addition to senior business and community leaders, members of council from the three municipalities are represented on the Board. With input from the Talk Hydro Public Consultation Report and support of the three municipalities, the Board will make the final decision on the future of Waterloo North Hydro.
Board of Directors:
- Tim Jackson – Chair
- Chuck Martin – Vice Chair
- Mayor Dave Jaworsky (Waterloo) – Director
- Mayor Sandy Shantz (Woolwich) – Director
- Mayor Joe Nowak (Wellesley) – Director
- Councillor Jeff Henry (Waterloo) – Director
- Mary D’Alton – Director
- John Milloy – Director
- David Petras – Director