Hydro Ottawa planning $80M consolidation

The city’s public utility is spending $80 million to construct two new suburban facilities so it can consolidate the locations it has scattered throughout Ottawa by 2016.

Hydro Ottawa has acquired properties close to Hunt Club Road and Highway 417, southeast of downtown, as well as in the Fallowfield Road and Highway 416 area near Barrhaven, said Bryce Conrad, the organization’s president and CEO.

It plans to close down three of its other locations and just use the two new locations in combination with two existing sites in Kanata as well as one in the Carling Avenue and Highway 417 area.

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The consolidation will ultimately be a good deal for ratepayers, said Mr. Conrad, despite the amount of money that it will have to spend up front.

That’s because it would have to put between $20 and $25 million to maintain the existing facilities over the next few years. The new sites will generate $3 million a year in savings when they are up and running, he said.

“We believe this is the best long-term value for the ratepayers, to pursue this strategy,” said Mr. Conrad.

The land cost $20 million to buy, he said, while the facilities are expected to cost another $60 million.

However he said that will be offset by selling the existing land for about $20 million.

The utility acquired many of the facilities it currently uses from the various utilities that operated in Ottawa before a number of municipalities were amalgamated to form the City of Ottawa in 2000, he said.

The new facilities will be used for a variety of purposes, said Mr. Conrad, including maintenance trucks at the Highway 416 facility.

The close proximity to the highway will also make it easier for crews to get to where they need to go, he said.

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