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Hay River won't renew Northland Utilities power distribution agreement

After more than 60 years doing business together, Hay River, N.W.T., is not renewing its franchise agreement with Northlands Utilities to distribute power in the town. The mayor says it’s an issue of cost, not service.

‘There’s got to be a way to restructure,’ says Hay River Mayor Andrew Cassidy

After more than 60 years doing business together, Hay River, N.W.T., is not renewing its franchise agreement with Northlands Utilities to distribute power in the town.

Andrew Cassidy, Hay River’s mayor, says it has nothing to do with the level of service the company provides: it’s the cost.

"We are comparing apples and oranges,” Cassidy says, “However, it's about 18 or 19 cents a kilowatt hour in Fort Smith and it's over 30 cents a kilowatt hour in Hay River. So there's got to be a way to restructure or take a look at how that cost is broken out and start to see where we can bring that down."

Northland Utilities, owned by ATCO, has been distributing power in Hay River since 1951.

It also delivers power generated by the Northwest Territories Power Corporation to customers in Yellowknife, N’Dilo, Trout Lake, Kakisa, Fort Providence, Wekweti and Enterprise.

Hay River hopes to get proposals from a number of different companies, including NTPC.

A spokesperson for the power corporation told the CBC they haven't decided whether they would respond or not.

Earlier this month, the Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger asked how many energy distributors a territory of 42,000 people needs.

Miltenberger also wanted to know how distribution companies buy power for less than 10 cents a kilowatt hour and sell it to the consumer for more than 30.

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