By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 22 2016
In a deal finalized last month Hydro One purchased the Orillia Power Distribution Corporation from the City of Orillia.
The deal however does not include the dam on the Gull River outside Minden which continues to be part of the Orillia Power Generation Corporation which continues to be owned by the City of the Orillia.
The distribution and generation corporations have been subsidiaries of the Orillia Power Corporation which until the recent sale of the distribution arm have been wholly owned by the city.
Hydro One paid $26.4 million for the distribution wing and will also assume $15 million in debt as part of the deal.
“We look forward to welcoming the customers and employees of Orillia Power Distribution to the Hydro One family” said Mayo Schmidt president and CEO of Hydro One in a press release. “This merger of two long time neighbours makes perfect sense and we believe will enable us to realize operational synergies over time that can positively impact electricity prices and quality of service.”
“On behalf of Orillia council I would like to welcome Hydro One as a new community partner” said Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke in a release. “We look forward to Hydro One providing the same high-quality electricity distribution service as Orillia Power and the construction of new state-of-the-art facilities in Orillia which in turn will provide significant economic impact new jobs and spin-off benefits for our city.”
Last week the province announced that Ontario residents would receive rebates on their hydro bills as the provincial government removes the provincial portion of HST from bills. In most cases this will amount to an eight per cent rebate although higher rebates were promised for residents of rural areas.
Critics were quick to point out that hydro rates are scheduled to increase again as of Nov. 1 and that cap-and-trade taxes are also likely to mean heightened charges in the new year.
Orillia Power has owned the dam at Minden since it was sold to the Orillia Power and Light Company by the Stinson family in 1918. The Stinson family had operated a series of mills at the site.