Tuesday marked a change of hands in the electricity business as the sale of Orillia Power Distribution Corporation(OPDC) to Hydro One was closed. The purchase price was $26.35 million.
Beginning this month, residents will receive a one per cent reduction to the base distribution rate of their bill. Orillia hydro bills will still come from OPDC during the transition period with Hydro One.
“On behalf of Orillia Council, I would like to welcome Hydro One to the Sunshine City. Hydro One’s continued investment in our community and their proven philanthropic spirit will serve our community well now and into the future,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Orillians will benefit from a one per cent reduction in their base distribution rates, which will be frozen for five years, along with the significant economic spin-off benefits generated by the construction of new facilities in West Orillia and the hundreds of jobs coming to our community.”
The City said increases after the rate freeze ends will go up less than inflation years six to 10. Distribution rates after year 10 would need to be reviewed and approved by the Ontario Energy Board.
The primary Ontario Grid Control Centre is currently under construction in the Horne Business Park in West Orillia. Hydro One expects to move 150-250 high-quality jobs to this facility. As well, the utility is constructing a provincial warehouse and a regional operations centre on the site. The City estimates as much as $200 to $300 million in near-term economic impact as a result of these facilities.
“We are thrilled to become a part of Orillia and to continue energizing life in the community for years to come,” said Mark Poweska, President and CEO, Hydro One. “At Hydro One, we’re deeply committed to the communities where we work and live, and look forward to finding more ways to support families, businesses and the local economy in Orillia.”
The City is retaining complete ownership of the Orillia Power Generation Corporation. It is the distribution arm that has been sold to Hydro One. OPDC employees will be transferred to Hydro One with comparable pension and benefits, along with a one-year location guarantee.
Hydro One will pony up $250,000 through its community investment program to benefit the community. The City and Hydro One will work together to determine funding partnership opportunities.