Exploring options for Guelph Hydro

Guelph’s Strategies and Options Committee is exploring opportunities to ensure we get the most value from Guelph’s energy assets—to benefit our city, the community, and Guelph Hydro customers.

We are doing this because:

A regular asset management review is a common business practice designed to ensure assets are achieving maximum value.

With provincial policies changing and new technologies emerging, we want to make sure we are prepared for the future.

Energizing Facts:

Guelph Hydro service

We are in the initial exploratory stage and there will be no impact on your electricity service.

Hydro rates

We are in the initial exploratory stage and there will be no impact on rates at this stage.

Jobs at Guelph Hydro

We are in the initial exploratory stage and there will be no impact on jobs at this stage.

It’s time to explore opportunities for Guelph Hydro

Ontario’s energy landscape is changing, and mid-sized utilities like Guelph Hydro are looking for better ways to:

  • meet customer expectations
  • take advantage of modern technologies (small-scale, distributed and renewable generation, electric vehilce charging stations, smart-home technologies, energy automation etc.)
  • cover costs of delivering safe, reliable electricity service
  • fund local infrastructure maintenance and upgrades
  • prepare and respond to more frequent and severe storms

Provincial policy initiatives also encourage local electricity utility companies to reduce duplication, manage costs and modernize service to benefit customers. With utilities consolidating across the province, now is the time to explore opportunities for Guelph Hydro.

Learn more about Ontario’s changing energy landscape

Electricity rates

When you pay your Guelph Hydro bill, 80 per cent of the money is used to pay electricity generators, transmitters and provincial government agencies. These charges are related to the amount of electricity you use, and Guelph Hydro has limited control them.

Guelph Hydro keeps 20 per cent of your payment to cover the cost of distributing electricity here in our community. Guelph Hydro manages these distribution charges carefully, and proposed changes to distribution charges must be approved by the Ontario Energy Board.

Learn more about the charges on your electricity bill

Ontario Energy Board requirements

Any plan to buy, sell or merge electricity utility assets must be approved by the Ontario Energy Board. Any plan to buy sell or merge electricity utility assets must be approved by the Ontario Energy Board. That means the proposal must show it will not have an adverse effect on ratepayers based on the Board’s statutory objectives:

  1. To protect the interests of consumers with respect to prices and the adequacy, reliability and quality of electricity service.
  2. To promote economic efficiency and cost effectiveness in the generation, transmission, distribution, sale and demand management of electricity and to facilitate the maintenance of a financially viable electricity industry.
  3. To promote electricity conservation and demand management in a manner consistent with the policies of the Government of Ontario, including having regard to the consumer’s economic circumstances.
  4. To facilitate the implementation of a smart grid in Ontario.
  5. To promote the use and generation of electricity from renewable energy sources in a manner consistent with the policies of the Government of Ontario, including the timely expansion or reinforcement of transmission systems and distribution systems to accommodate the connection of renewable energy generation facilities.

Learn more about the Ontario Energy Board No Harm Test in the Handbook to Electricity Distributor and Transmitter Consolidations

Guelph’s decision-making criteria

In addition to meeting to Board’s requirements, we’re considering what’s most important for Guelph Hydro customers and the community.

Learn more about our decision-making criteria, and tell us what matters most to you.

What are the options?

The committee researched the risks and benefits associated with maintaining full ownership, buying another electricity utility, selling some or all of Guelph Hydro, and merging with another utility.

On February 15, Guelph City Council voted to explore opportunities to merge with publicly-owned utilities, and compare those opportunities with maintaining full ownership. City Council voted not to explore opportunities to sell Guelph Hydro or buy other utilities.

The Ontario Energy Board will continue to regulate the electricity distribution company serving Guelph and Rockwood.

Learn more about the options

Who are the decision-makers?

The Strategies and Options Committee will make its recommendation to Guelph City Council who has the authority to make decisions about the future of Guelph Hydro.

Learn more about the organizations involved


The work of the Committee will occur in phases, and each phase depends on City Council approval.

Phase 1 – complete

Explore options:
buy, sell, merge or maintain full ownership

Begin community engagement

Present findings Guelph City Council in early 2017

Phase 2

Research potential mergers
compare with maintaining full ownership

Continue engaging community

Make recommendation to City Council mid-2017

Phase 3

If City Council votes to maintain full ownership:
process ends

If City Council votes to pursue merger(s):

Pursue potential merger partners
Begin formal discussions or negotiations
Continue engaging the community
Make recommendation to City Council


Phase 4

Final City Council decision


Quick Facts

Everything you need to know about our goals, process, and timelines for exploring options for Guelph Hydro.

Your Voice Matters

We want to hear from you as we explore opportunities for Guelph Hydro.

Current Landscape

See how many Ontario municipalities are making changes to their electricity distribution companies.