St. Catharines Hydro Utility Services Inc. - Media Release
St.Catharines, On (June 5, 2001)—

A recently passed Ontario government regulation means that effective June 1, 2001 the cost of electricity charged by Ontario Power Generation Inc (OPG) is increased by 0.735 cents per Kwh, which represents approximately an 8% increase on the final bill.

Ontario Power Generation says revenues associated with the rate increase will go toward paying off the debt left by the former Ontario Hydro. Ontario Electricity Financial Corp (OEFC), a crown agency, is responsible for managing and paying down the estimated $31.3 billion of stranded debt.

The OPG increase will be passed directly to all St.Catharines Hydro customers.

The initial increase for St.Catharines residents, effective June 1st, is 0.701 cents per Kwh. The staged adjustment in rates is because St.Catharines Hydro generates 5% of its electrical capacity.

The effect of the new charge will vary according to energy consumption, but when fully implemented, the average residential customer will see an increase of approximately $6 to $8 per bill.

“We are proud of the fact that since 1993, electricity rates in St.Catharines have actually decreased 5%, while inflation has climbed 15% during the same time period,” said Rob Cary, Chair of St.Catharines Hydro Utility Services Inc. “However, funding the various electricity restructuring costs, maintaining a reliable distribution system, and earning a reasonable return for our shareholder have all contributed to the need for adjustments to our rates”.

To meet our financial needs, St.Catharines Hydro Utility Services Inc. has applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for a phase-in of distribution service rate increases over 3 years. The utility expects to receive approval for the first phase soon, and could be effective as early as June 1, 2001.

The effect of the increase will depend on electrical consumption, but if OEB approval is received for the first phase of the rate adjustment, the overall average residential increase in St.Catharines will be 3.5%. A typical residential customer using 750KWh per month will pay $2.60 more. For small commercial customers (less than 50kw demand) the overall average increase will be 1.6%.

Low consumption residential and small commercial customers will see a larger increase to cover the introduction of fixed service charges to cover fixed costs under deregulation of the electrical market in Ontario.

Ontario’s electricity industry is being restructured and there are plans to open the market to competition and consumer choice by May 2002.

For More information contact John Kerklaan, President, St.Catharines Hydro Inc. at 905-684-8111.