NOTL Hydro is fortunate that it owns the two stations that transform the power from the Hydro One transmission grid at 115,000 volts to our primary voltage of 27,600 volts at which it is distributed around Town. This ownership is not usual and we may be the only municipally owned electrical utility that owns 100% of this transformation capacity.
The York station was built by NOTL Hydro in 2003. The NOTL station was purchased from Hydro One in 2005. Both have since been expanded and upgraded and each station currently has capacity to serve the entire Town. This ownership brings two distinct benefits.
The first benefit is financial. Embedded in the Delivery Charge on your bill are two transmission charges. These can be found on our rate card and at:
NOTL Hydro’s Retail Transmission Rate – Network is consistent with other electrical utilities. However, NOTL Hydro’s Retail Transmission Rate – Connection is significantly lower and this is because we own our two stations. To illustrate this, I have compared our 2021 residential rates with those of neighbouring utilities.
NOTL Hydro’s distribution rates, which are among the lowest in Niagara, are set higher to recover the costs of the stations but this increase is more than offset by the reduction in the transmission rates.
The second benefit is operational. Ownership of the stations provides the complete flexibility to operate them in a manner that meets the needs of NOTL. For example, NOTL Hydro is charged for transmission services by the IESO based on the monthly peak load at each station. If the loading on each station is not carefully monitored, it is possible that the sum of the two peaks could be much higher than the actual NOTL system peak. As NOTL Hydro owns the stations, we are able to keep this “double billing” to a minimum most months. The exceptions are only when the service from Hydro One is itself disrupted, as occurred in October 2021, as we cannot control for that. These higher charges from the IESO would eventually lead to higher “Network” and “Connection” charges to our customers.
Another operational benefit is the adjustments to the feeder lines coming out of the station. NOTL Hydro can make these adjustments without having to consult with any other party speeding up the process of restoring power after an outage or to meet the need of specific customers.
Finally, owning the stations allows NOTL Hydro to make the operational decisions to increase their size to provide complete redundancy for the Town. This likely would not have happened otherwise.