Two hydro utilities, North Bay Hydro and Espanola Hydro, are now considered affiliates.
North Bay Hydro President Matt Payne says the Ontario Energy Board approved the purchase of Espanola Hydro on October 1st, and the two will operate as affiliated utilities until 2022.
At that time, he explains, the board will have to approve the final amalgamation as the new company: New North Bay Hydro.
Payne adds the move will help manage customer rates and address future infrastructure demands.
The New Espanola Hydro affiliate will provide service to the Town of Espanola and Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers.
To help ensure a smooth transition and continued communication between the communities, a six-member municipal advisory committee will be established with representation from each community.
“We are very excited to be moving forward to create a Northern Partnership with the Town of Espanola and the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers that will enhance future sustainability for our communities,” said Payne. “We are seeing more and more smaller utilities being taken over by larger hydro companies. This transaction allows all three communities to better manage those challenges while continuing to be a Northern Ontario utility,” added Payne.
The mayors of the communities involved in the transaction, echo the sentiment made by Payne.
“We are pleased to hear the acquisition has been successfully completed. The North Bay Hydro team will do an excellent job with their expertise, knowledge, and resources,” stated North Bay Mayor Al McDonald. “This is a positive initiative that will benefit all the communities involved for years to come.”
“The Town welcomes this partnership with North Bay Hydro,” Jill Beer, Mayor of the Town of Espanola said. ”This will be good for our community, as it will better position both Espanola Regional Hydro and the Town to move forward with infrastructure upgrades which will ensure citizens enjoy reliable services in the future.”
“We are very pleased to be working with North Bay Hydro and congratulate all parties involved in achieving this partnership,” explained Leslie Gamble, Mayor for the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers. “We see this as a positive move for our municipality and look forward to a successful relationship that will benefit our residents.”
As part of the move, the Town of Espanola and the Township of Sables-Spanish Rivers have taken over the direct billing for water and sewer rates. Customers will only be billed for hydro on their bills, which came into play on October 1st, 2019.