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Q: Why merge now?

A: Ontario’s electricity sector is changing quickly and this proposed merger is a local solution that will help our communities adapt to these changes and thrive in the years ahead. This larger, local, publicly owned utility will have more resources to invest in technologies that benefit customers while helping our communities’ transition to a lower carbon economy.

Q: Of all electric utilities in the province, why is a merger between Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro the best solution?

A: This proposed merger is about Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro taking the next step in their ongoing collaboration efforts by combining operations to create a larger, local and publicly-owned power utility that will provide reliable service, invest in new technologies, generate cost savings through operational efficiencies and keep local jobs in our communities.

Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro are natural merger partners given the utilities’ contiguous service areas, shared values, strong record of dedicated service to customers and vision to build a stronger utility that can invest in our future

Q: What’s going to happen with our hydro rates? Are they eventually going to go up?

A: The size and stability of the combined utility will help ensure distribution rates remain competitive and stable for customers. Distribution rates for all customers are projected to increase at less than the rate of inflation over the 10 years following the merger, leaving more money in customers’ pockets. Thereafter, the combined utility will harmonize distribution rates over time, between Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro customers.

Q: How does this merger align with climate change action?

A: Having a larger customer base will boost our capacity for collective climate action. The larger, combined utility will allow for greater investments in new technologies and services that will benefit customers and help reduce emissions, such as managing smart home and energy data, automated restoration of power outages, renewable microgrids and supporting local renewable generation.

Q: What’s going to happen to my billing cycle? Will there be any service changes?

A: Initially, your billing cycle will not be affected by the merger. The municipalities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich are committed to ensuring the smoothest transition possible through the merger process. We will ensure that there are no impacts on service reliability to customers because of the merger.

Our commitment to affordable, reliable power is why we’re always looking at new and innovative solutions, including this merger and streamlining of operations, to improve our service to the communities we serve.

Q: How many jobs will be lost because of this merger? Which utility company is expected to lose the most jobs?

A: Layoffs are not expected at either utility company because of the merger. There are vacancies that have not been filled and some pending retirements. There may be adjustments made to work locations and day-to-day duties as we combine the assets and services of Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro.

The head office will be the current Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro office in the City of Kitchener, with a second work location at the current Waterloo North Hydro office, at which activities will include leading innovation and new technology development.

Q: How will this affect collective bargaining agreements at both utility companies?

A: Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro will work with IBEW Local 636 and PWU Local 1000 to ensure a smooth transition to the new utility company. Both companies will support all unionized and non-unionized employees throughout this process and will be open and transparent with employees along the way.

Q: Where will the head office be?

A: The head office will be the current Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro office in the City of Kitchener, with a second work location at the current Waterloo North Hydro office, at which activities will include leading innovation and new technology development.

Q: What’s your brand? What will this new company be called?

A: What we’re focused on right now is engaging with the community, and if approved, seeing this merger through to a successful completion. Once approved, the new utility will unveil a new company name and brand.

Q: What’s next in the process?

A: Community engagement will begin the first week of October 2021. Following the community information and engagement initiative, the five municipal councils are expected to make a final decision on the proposed merger in December 2021. If approved by the municipal councils, the merger application will be submitted thereafter to the Ontario Energy Board for regulatory approval, which is expected in the third quarter of 2022. The new company is expected to begin operations soon after regulatory approval.