Ontario's Electrical Utilities Call for Broader Exit of Province from Distribution Sector

TORONTO, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Today's announcement relating to Hydro One and the structure of Ontario's electricity system represents a step in the right direction, but must be applied much more broadly if the interests of Ontario's energy consumers are to be meaningfully advanced. That's the view of the Electricity Distributors Association, in response to the far-reaching recommendations of the Ed Clark Advisory Panel and the government's response to them.

The proposed combination of Hydro One Brampton with a group of existing locally based distribution companies is a welcome outcome, and is consistent with a comprehensive policy proposal publicly released by the EDA last month.

"We support this development and are confident Brampton residents will welcome the superior customer service and cost management that locally based distribution companies provide," says EDA Chair Ray Tracey. "EDA is encouraged by the provincial government's decision to exit the sector to this degree, and we urge it to make similar opportunities available in other communities across the province."

The EDA will seek clarity from government to ensure that other local distribution companies will have the same latitude to acquire provincial distribution assets from the new and soon-to-be partially privatized Hydro One.

"What we need to avoid now is a scenario where the Hydro One initial public offering becomes a barrier to local leadership in rationalizing the sector," says Tracey. "We can't afford to simply entrench the current provincial distribution structure. And we have to have the opportunity for further transfer of distribution assets from provincial to local or regional ownership, in the various instances where that would improve efficiency."

The EDA stands ready to work with government in an effort to find ways of replicating the "Brampton Model" for such transfers in various other parts of the province.

The EDA has also communicated to government its eagerness to continue working with relevant ministries to better capture other efficiency-improvement opportunities. These could include shared services among utilities, improved access to capital, and expansion of the permitted scope of utility activities. It appears that elements of the Clark Panel recommendations, such as the transfer tax change, may be favourable to the sector.

About the EDA
The Electricity Distributors Association is the voice of Ontario's local electricity distribution sector, which consists primarily of municipally and privately owned local distribution companies. The distribution sector delivers power to Ontarians through 4.9 million residential, commercial and institutional customer accounts. The sector employs 10,000 people directly (FTE) and makes hundreds of millions in direct contributions to both municipal and provincial revenues.

SOURCE Electricity Distributors Association

Image with caption: "Electricity Distributors Association (CNW Group/Electricity Distributors Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150416_C6929_PHOTO_EN_14384.jpg

For further information: and to arrange interviews please contact the EDA's Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Kevin Hanson, at (905) 265-5337 / (647) 627-1826.


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