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Gil Brocanier is Mayor of Cobourg and also a Director of Lakefront Utilities Inc.  He wrote a report that was published in Northumberland Today.

I’d like to provide you with an update on the Lakefront Utilities Inc. (LUI), our electrical provider. Firstly, the Electrical Sector Distribution Review Panel was established in 2012 to provide a recommendation on how the Ontario electrical sector should be restructured, this report was finalized in December 2012. Their recommendation was to consolidate the existing 73 local electrical distributors into 8 to 12 regional distributors.

Gil BrocanierGil BrocanierRegional distribution restructuring would have severe negative impacts on the Town of Cobourg and our customers in the following ways:

Recognizing what was at stake, we at Lakefront Utilities Inc. developed a formal response to the Ministry of Energy expressing our concern that “bigger is not always better” and specifically identified our operating efficiencies and low consumer costs. I, too, as mayor sent a letter to the Ministry of Energy expressing my concerns regarding the review panel’s recommendations and outlining our advantages as a local electrical distributor. We were joined by a number of other small and medium size utilities also expressing concern over a forced amalgamation.

The outcome to all of this was in the spring of 2013 the Ministry of Energy announced they would not be forcing the amalgamation of small-and medium-sized local electrical distributors, but would welcome suggestions on how savings and efficiencies can be achieved. Essentially this announcement enables Cobourg residents to continue enjoying the benefit of paying the eighth-lowest electrical rates in the province along with the high level of service and response time.

The second item I want to bring to your attention is the improvement in reliability of service. We have invested heavily in the electrical infrastructure and it is paying off in a great reduction of power outages. LUI is now passing the point of ‘corrective action’ for power outages and moving into the territory of “predictive maintenance” with infrared technology that alerts us to overheating problems before they cause a power interruption.

All of this progress at LUI has not gone unnoticed, as we were called on by Hydro One to help with the July storm that knocked out power to 200,000 of their customers. As a result of our support we received a letter from the president and CEO of Hydro One thanking our crew for their professionalism and safe work practices.

I feel confident we are on the right track with our focus on bringing a reliable source of electricity to all of Cobourg at an affordable price. In closing, although we are in a good place right now, we are not finished yet and will be exploring further opportunities for efficiency and cost savings in our continuous improvement process.

Seems like a good news story; any other opinions?

Update

July 2, 2015

Perhaps in response to the 89.7 news item and comments below, on June 29,  2015, Lakefront issued a statement as follows:

A recent media item about a potential electricity rate increase for our customers has been brought to the attention of Lakefront Utilities Inc. The current rates, as approved by the Ontario Energy Board, came into effect on May 1, 2015: These rates reflect to the current cost for electricity supplied to Lakefront customers by the Independent Electrical System Operator (I.E.S.O), the cost of Lakefront delivering the electricity, and include a two year phased recovery of the amount due.

In 2014, Lakefront Utilities Inc. was required to undergo an audit by the Ontario Energy Board. During the audit process, it was noted that the charges due to the I.E.S.O in 2012 had been understated and that an amount was still due. As a result, the rates charged to customers for the 2011/2012 period did not reflect the full cost of the energy supplied. Lakefront notified customers of the new rates, including the increase, in the Northumberland Today newspaper on November 27, 2014, as well as by posting the information on Lakefront's website.

Lakefront strives to ensure the current and future integrity and viability of the electrical distribution system by providing a reliable service that meets the needs of our customers at a comparable market price with the top quartile of electrical utilities in the Province. Lakefront Utilities lnc.'s residential base rates have typically ranked the 8th lowest of the Local Distribution Companies in the province.

Looks like the error did mean a rate increase but this increase has already been actioned.

Source: Advertisement by Lakefront Utlities in Northumberland Today July 2, 2015.