(Starting Dec. 22 and ending Dec. 31, GuelphToday will count down its top 10 stories of 2017.)
It is one of the most important decisions Guelph City Council has made in a long time: deciding to merge Guelph Hydro with much larger municipally-owned utility Alectra.
Following a push by the province to have fewer, larger utility companies, and by a thought that this might be the best deal Guelph gets moving forward, City Council voted 10-3 in favour of merging with Alectra, whose municipal members stretch from Barrie to St. Catharines.
The merger will see Guelph cash in an $18.5 million dividend from its own utility, necessary to balance the books, increased dividends in the future, a green energy research centre. Guelph will also host an operations centre for at least eight years.
But some Guelph Hydro jobs will be lost in the transition, with some being offered jobs outside of Guelph, and Guelph will only have a 4.63 per cent ownership share and one seat on the 13-member board of directors of Alectra.
Guelph Hydro was also profitable and had assets of $228 million at the time of the merger, producing an annual dividend lately of $3 million.
The merger will take a year to complete and must still be approved by the Ontario Energy Board.