Hay River issues request for proposals for power distribution
Northland Utilities has distributed power in community since 1951
The Town of Hay River, N.W.T., is opening up its power distribution system to any and all bidders.
At a council meeting Monday night, Hay River town council directed city staff to issue a request for proposals from companies in taking over the power distribution franchise.
In December, the Town of Hay River announced that it would not renew its franchise agreement with Northland Utilities.
Northland Utilities has distributed electricity in Hay River since 1951. It also distributes power generated by the Northwest Territories Power Corporation to customers in Yellowknife, Ndilo, Trout Lake, Kakisa, Fort Providence, Wekweeti and Enterprise.
"We just feel that it's time," says Andrew Cassidy, Hay River's mayor.
"Different economy, different set of variables, new technologies... maybe there's an opportunity for us to open this up and receive some different ideas, some different solutions that would ultimately end up with lower power costs for our community."
Cassidy says that ads will appear in local papers and online next week, and that he fully expects Northland Utilities to make a bid.
Northland Utilities responds to GNWT
On the same day Hay River council finalized its request for proposals, Northland Utilities ran its own full-page ad in local newspapers.
The ads, as well as a page on its website, are related to territorial government discussions to remove Northland Utilities from power distribution in communities across the territory. In early 2014, territorial finance minister Michael Miltenberger questioned how many power distributers a territory of 42,000 people needs.
Northland Utilities' ads say that N.W.T. taxpayers would have to pay $180 million to buy out the company's assets, such as power poles and lines, transformer stations, and other infrastructure.