Possible Merger For Two Energy Companies

Head office of Chatham-Kent electrical utility Entegrus May 19 2015 (Photo by Simon Crouch)

Chatham-Kent’s Entegrus Powerlines could be merging with St. Thomas Energy.

Entegrus President and CEO Jim Hogan says the potential merger is part of a larger movement among power providers.

“The industry is changing and the government’s looking for fewer utilities and Entegrus is interested in partnering with other utilities,” says Hogan. “St. Thomas Energy is a very similar utility, like-minded, and we think [by] coming together we’ll be able to continue to provide exceptional service to our customers.”

At this time, Entegrus has been selected as “the preferred partner” but the merge cannot happen without approval from the Ontario Energy Board.

Hogan says they’re hoping to file an application to board by May 2017, adding the Ontario Energy Board has the final say.

“One of the key principles that they look for is what’s called the ‘no harms test for customers,'” he says. “They want to make sure that the customers as far as rates and services will be as good, if not better off, as they were with the utilities being separate.”

If approved, the merger would take place in January 2018.

In the meantime, Hogan says there’s a lot to do in the upcoming year.

“In the first quarter of 2017 we’ll be negotiating the actual merger agreement,” he says. “Included in that, we’ll be going to council in open sessions.”

Should the merger proceed as planned, Hogan says customers probably won’t notice any changes.

“At that point really the customers shouldn’t see a lot of a difference,” says Hogan. “In the background, we’ll be able to provide some additional service, [and] invest in some new technology, invest in innovation that’ll assist the customers.”

Hogan adds the companies will be giving customers information on the possible merge. Anyone looking to give feedback can go through a formal process with the Ontario Energy Board.