Announcement Press Release, Backgrounder & FAQ’s, March 2017 Information Sessions & Press Release

March 2017 Information Sessions & Press Release

Information Sessions will be held in Chatham, Strathroy & St. Thomas in March 2017.

Chatham Information Session

  • Tuesday, March 21st, 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • John D. Bradley Convention Centre, meeting room 1A

Strathroy Information Session

  • Thursday, March 23rd, 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • Gemini Sports Complex, Wescast Room

St. Thomas Information Session

  • Thursday, March 30th, 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • CASO Station, Farley Room

Entegrus Powerlines & St. Thomas Energy to Hold Information Sessions

Entegrus Powerlines Inc. & St. Thomas Energy Inc. are holding information sessions in regards to the merger of the two organizations in the communities of Chatham, Strathroy & St. Thomas during the month of March.

Sessions will run from 6:30-8:30pm, and members from both organizations will be on site to answer questions.

“Our companies have similar values and operating philosophies,” stated Rob Kent, COO of St. Thomas Energy. “We welcome the public to come out and learn about both companies and see that once the merger occurs, there will be no changes to their service. If anything, they will experience a more robust utility.”

Although both companies are currently in the due diligence phase and continue to finalize merger agreements with a projected merger date of January 1st, 2018, both parties expressed the need to provide the communities affected an opportunity to learn more about the merger.

“Local is a key aspect of this merger,” notes Jim Hogan, President  & CEO of Entegrus Inc. “As a merged utility, we will have a larger voice in the industry and reap the benefits of a larger utility, with the benefit of continuing to be locally owned and operated – ensuring local community interests are met.”

Information session details are as follows:

Chatham Session: Tuesday, March 21st, John D. Bradley Convention Centre – Meeting Room 1A, 565 Richmond St., 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Strathroy Session: Thursday, March 23rd, Gemini Sports Complex – Wescast Room, 667 Adair Blvd 6:30 – 8:30pm.

St. Thomas Session: Thursday, March 30th, CASO Station – Farley Room, 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas, 6:30 – 8:30pm.

The companies have launched a website to post relevant information regarding the merger as it becomes available at www.poweringourpath.com

About Entegrus

The Entegrus Group directly operates and maintains electricity distribution systems for over 40,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario.  In addition, Entegrus provides general administrative services, namely in the areas of customer care, billing, call centre operations and collection services for companies focused on the areas of electricity supply, transmission and distribution, energy and renewable energy, and water supply.  Entegrus is committed to operating safe, reliable and cost effective distribution systems while providing high levels of service to its customers, partners and the communities it serves.

About St. Thomas Energy

St. Thomas Energy Inc. operates and maintains the electricity distribution system for over 17,000 customers within the City of St. Thomas. St Thomas Energy is committed to providing a safe, dependable, reliable, cost effective distribution system while maintaining high levels of customer service. St. Thomas Energy also supplies water and sewer billing and collection services to residents on behalf of the City of St. Thomas. St. Thomas Energy is part of The Ascent Group of Companies, (Ascent.ca) who are wholly owned by the City of St. Thomas.

Media Contact:

Entegrus:

Sarah Regnier, Corporate Communications Specialist, Entegrus

519-352-6300 x 308 or sarah.regnier@entegrus.com

St. Thomas Energy:

Lisa Bayley, Executive Assistant & Board Secretary

519-631-4211 x 5230 or lbayley@ascent.ca

PRESS RELEASE

December 20, 2016

St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus Powerlines Partner to Create New Utility

The deal will see both companies transform into a regional utility with a focus on efficiency, responsiveness and innovation.

 

St. Thomas, ON – After an effective consultation process, St. Thomas Energy (Ascent Group) announced today that they will be merging to create a new, larger entity with Chatham-Kent based Entegrus Powerlines.

Both companies are awaiting final shareholder approval and will enter a due diligence phase, with the goal of receiving final Ontario Energy Board approval in 2017.

Once approved, the merger is expected to be finalized in January of 2018. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for both companies, dedicated to maintaining and continuously improving service to their regions and their commitment to outstanding customer service.

Entegrus submitted a proposal for the merger on November 15, 2016. The proposal had unanimous approval of the St. Thomas City Council and support by both the St. Thomas Energy’s and Entegrus’ Boards.

St. Thomas Mayor, Heather Jackson, is excited by the merger, which is one of many Hydro consolidation projects currently happening in the province of Ontario. “I believe this will be a very successful venture. Both Entegrus Powerlines and St. Thomas Energy are forward thinking, progressive companies with a focus on innovation. I look forward to seeing the positive impact on our community.” says Jackson.

Chatham-Kent Mayor, Randy Hope, echoes Jackson’s excitement and is looking forward to the merger strengthening both communities, saying that Entegrus and St. Thomas Energy are excellent corporate citizens who share a focus on providing dedicated local service.

“We are pleased to see transactions that will benefit our citizens, and this is truly one of them,” says Hope. “Safe, reliable power is imperative for our community, and the union of these two companies will strengthen their ability to quickly respond to our local needs.”

Electricity rates in and around St. Thomas as well as Chatham-Kent will continue to be low, and competitive. The parties believe the merger will improve customer service. The location of the offices will allow the combined utility to efficiently cover their service areas from Wheatley, to St Thomas to Parkhill, ON. As well, with an increased human resource pool, more innovation and creativity will be fostered that will help meet the demands of the evolving electricity market.

The new utility will provide employment guarantees and will maintain offices in St. Thomas, Chatham and Strathroy, and will become the 11th largest utility in Ontario. Both companies state that customers will reap the benefits of a larger utility that is locally owned and operated, with strong customer service and fast operational response times.

Entegrus Powerlines, which currently serves over 40,000 customers and has over 100 employees, believes that this merger will benefit both utilities. Jim Hogan, President and CEO of Entegrus, feels very optimistic about the deal and is excited for the approval process to move forward.

“We’re very fortunate to have found a partner in St. Thomas Energy to voluntarily join forces with. Together, we will combine our expertise in order to meet and exceed the demands of this ever-changing industry,” says Hogan.

St. Thomas Energy Interim CEO, Robert Kent, also sees the merger as a win-win for both companies and especially for customers who will benefit from the deal.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to partner with Entegrus,” says Kent. Our customers and employees will benefit from this partnership as our companies have aligned vision and values, with complementary service offerings.”

Part of the due diligence phase includes public consultation in 2017.

 


About Entegrus

BACKGROUND

The Entegrus Group directly operates and maintains electricity distribution systems for over 40,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario. In addition, Entegrus provides general administrative services, namely in the areas of customer care, billing, call centre operations and collection services for companies focused on the areas of electricity supply, transmission and distribution, energy and renewable energy, and water supply. Entegrus is committed to operating safe, reliable and cost effective distribution systems while providing high levels of service to its customers, partners and the communities it serves.

 

About St. Thomas Energy (Ascent)

The Ascent Group of Companies, (Ascent.ca) are wholly owned by the City of St. Thomas.

Ascent includes St. Thomas Energy Inc. which operates and maintains the electricity distribution system for over 17,000 customer within the City of St. Thomas. St Thomas Energy is committed to providing a safe, dependable, reliable, cost effective distribution system while maintaining high levels of customer service. St. Thomas Energy also supplies water and sewer billing and collection services to residents on behalf of the City of St. Thomas. Additionally, Ascent includes Ascent Energy Services Inc. which operates fibre and provides IT services within the City.

 

About Chatham-Kent

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent was created in 1998 by the amalgamation of Chatham and Kent Counties and its 23 communities. Located in the heart of SW Ontario, Chatham-Kent is located within an hour’s drive of Windsor, London & Sarnia, bordered by two great lakes and is known for its outdoor recreation, and heritage. Its vision is to be the fastest growing sustainable community in Southwestern Ontario, and offers amenities that support any size family at any stage of life.

 

About St. Thomas

 St. Thomas, proud of its heritage, is known as the Railway Capital of Canada. It is a dynamic city on the move, home to 38,000 residents. The city enjoys great access to the 401 corridor and to the north shore of Lake Erie. In addition to its residents, the city is home to many significant, diversified industries supported by a talented, skilled labour force.


Service Areas of the New Utility

Service territories of St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus Powerlines are seen below: (blue shading)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this merger happening?

The Ontario government is encouraging local distribution company (LDC) consolidation. Over the past few years a number of LDCs in the Province have already amalgamated, or are in the process of doing so. When like-minded, locally focused distribution companies come together, they can provide better rates and service to customers compared to remaining on their own. Further, technological advances and new customer requirements can be better addressed by such regional LDCs.

 

Who is Entegrus Powerlines?

Entegrus Powerlines is a division of Entegrus Inc. which is 90% owned by the Municipality of Chatham- Kent, and 10% owned by Corix Utilities Inc. The Entegrus Group directly operates and maintains electricity distribution systems for over 40,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario, including the communities of Chatham-Kent, Strathroy, Mount Brydges, Parkhill, Dutton and Newbury.

In addition, Entegrus provides general administrative services, namely in the areas of customer care, billing, call centre operations and collection services for companies focused on the areas of electricity supply, transmission and distribution, energy and renewable energy, and water supply. Entegrus is committed to operating safe, reliable and cost effective distribution systems while providing high levels of service to its customers, partners and the communities it serves.

 

Who is St. Thomas Energy?

The Ascent Group of Companies, (Ascent.ca) are wholly owned by the City of St. Thomas.

Ascent includes St. Thomas Energy Inc. which operates and maintains the electricity distribution system for over 17,000 customer within the City of St. Thomas. St Thomas Energy is committed to providing a safe, dependable, reliable, cost effective distribution system while maintaining high levels of customer service. St. Thomas Energy also supplies water and sewer billing and collection services to residents on behalf of the City of St. Thomas. Additionally, Ascent includes Ascent Energy Services Inc. which operates fibre and provides IT services within the City.

 

Why does this merger make sense for Entegrus Powerlines and St. Thomas Energy?

The merger between Entegrus Powerlines and St. Thomas Energy makes sense because of their common regional and local interests and shared values including the desire to be community-focused and industry leaders in the areas of innovation and conservation.

The proximity of St. Thomas to the communities that Entegrus serves was also a consideration in continuing local presence of the utility. By working together, there are opportunities for operational savings and efficiencies. Continuing to keep customer rates low, and local employment strong is a mutual goal of this merger.

When complete, the two utilities will use their collective resources to continue providing excellent and efficient service and communication as well as fostering increased innovation and creativity in the always changing and evolving electricity market. In the long run, this approach will better serve customers and employees.

 

Where else have mergers like this taken place?

In early December, the Ontario Energy Board approved a merger involving the communities of Barrie, Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga, Hamilton and St. Catharines. Other mergers are being explored in communities north of Toronto, including Ajax, Oshawa and Whitby.

 

Is St. Thomas Energy being sold or will it still be owned by the municipality?

The new merged company will be owned by both the municipalities of St. Thomas, Chatham-Kent and Corix Utilities.

 

Will there be job losses?

It will be business as usual as this merger progresses with no anticipated job losses.

 

Will there be changes to services? Will customers experience any rate changes?

It is anticipated that services will be maintained or improved through this merger. As a regional utility, there will be additional opportunities to continue to keep rates low.

 

Are any other utilities involved in this merger?

No. St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus Powerlines are the only two utilities involved in this transaction.

 

What happens next with this process?

This announcement is the first step of the due diligence process, which is anticipated to run through April 2017. After which, approval from the Ontario Energy Board will be sought.

There will be public consultations in the first quarter of 2017 where residents and businesses can learn more about this process. Information about this will be shared by both St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus Powerlines as soon as possible.

 

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