Energy Minister Shows Support For Entegrus St. Thomas Merger
Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault expressed his support for the Entegrus Powerlines and St. Thomas Energy merger at a mews conference in Chatham Monday morning.
The energy companies have already received approval from both community councils and now await approval from the Ontario Energy Board to move forward with the proposed merger.
Thibeault says he’s seen the benefits of energy mergers in other communities through the successful acquisition of Middlesex Power Distribution Corporation, Newbury Power, and Dutton Hydro.
“We’ve seen these reports that show that mergers will benefit not only the councils and the rate payers, but also benefit the utilities. I don’t have a problem supporting that. We’re asking more and more of this to happen,” says Thibeault.
Thibeault expects a decision to be made by the Ontario Energy Board by January 2018.
Entegrus CEO Jim Hogan says approximately 60,000 customers should see savings in the near future across the two distribution centres, if the merger is approved.
“The rates will be pretty well set as they are for eight to ten years. At the end of that, it should be something like $30 dollars less than it would be… it adds up a lot [and] a lot of money stays in our community, so that’s what we’re looking for,” says Hogan.
Hogan plans to keep the Entegrus name throughout the merger process to save money on branding. The head office would be located in Chatham-Kent, while the St. Thomas Energy office would still remain open. There would also be no changes in staffing, according to Hogan.
St. Thomas Energy’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Kent feels this partnership will benefit both employees and customers.
“We aspire to provide excellent customer service, helping in the best way we know how… we look forward to exciting opportunities ahead with our new team,” says Kent.
St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson is also on board with the merger.
“We know that this merger would bring together two like-minded utilities that are committed to providing excellent service to all communities we serve,” says Jackson.
Thibeault says the merged utility would become the 11th largest distribution company in the province.