VAUGHAN, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/13/12 -- PowerStream, an electricity distribution company which has successfully demonstrated how bringing utilities together through consolidation can benefit customers, shareholders and other stakeholders, welcomed the recommendations put forward in a report released today by the Ontario government's Distribution Sector Review Panel on the future of the province's electricity distribution sector.
The report contained several recommendations referenced by PowerStream in its own submission to the Panel in June 2012 including the consolidation of local distribution companies within a region to gain efficiencies to benefit customers.
The Panel, whose membership consisted of representation from all three major Ontario political parties, was tasked earlier this year by the provincial government to provide advice and make recommendations to the Minister of Energy regarding issues related to Ontario's electricity distribution sector and distribution models, including opportunities for consolidating distributors. As part of its consultation, the Panel examined potential long and short-term financial savings associated with consolidation, benefits for ratepayers, long and short-term operational efficiencies and potential risks.
Citing specific areas of the report for being both "insightful" and "forward-thinking", PowerStream officials applauded Panel members David McFadden, Floyd Laughren and Murray Elston for being thorough in their review and delivering recommendations that would assist Ontario's electricity distribution sector in meeting the province's future energy needs.
-- "PowerStream, working in conjunction with its shareholder municipalities, has a record of executing cost-effective mergers and acquisitions that have resulted in reducing the upward pressure on customer distribution rates while maintaining industry-leading safety, reliability and customer service," said Frank Scarpitti, PowerStream Board Chair and Mayor of the City of Markham. "We commend the Panel for their insightful review of the sector and their forward-thinking recommendations." -- "We believe that Ontario's distribution sector is poised for tremendous change in the next 10 years due to customer expectations, the need for new sources of capital as well as the emergence of new technologies," added Brian Bentz, President and CEO, PowerStream. "We also recognize that the report's recommendations, if adopted, will result in further consolidation within the sector, which will provide distribution companies with the scale necessary to meet the challenges and take advantage of opportunities that will benefit customers."
-- PowerStream has successfully completed several consolidations including the merger of three York Region-based electricity distribution utilities - Hydro Vaughan, Markham Hydro and Richmond Hill Hydro - which created the company on June 1, 2004. In 2005, PowerStream acquired Aurora Hydro and in 2009, the company merged with Barrie Hydro. In 2012, PowerStream formed a strategic partnership with the Town of Collingwood in the ownership of Collus PowerStream, the local distribution company which serves that area. -- Through its own experience with consolidations, PowerStream has seen operating cost savings of 10-15% when compared to pre-merger costs. Combined annual synergy savings as a result of mergers and acquisitions since 2004 has enabled the company to maintain customer distribution rates that are among the lowest in Ontario.
PowerStream is the second largest municipally-owned electricity distribution company in Ontario, providing service to more than 355,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario. It is jointly owned by the Cities of Barrie, Markham and Vaughan.
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