INNISFAIL, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2012) - A new electrical distribution company has joined the playing field, as the members of Central Alberta Rural Electrification Association Ltd. (CAREA) and South Alta Rural Electrification Association Ltd. (South Alta REA) voted in favour to merge during special general meetings in Innisfail on November 28 and Lethbridge on November 29. Effective January 1, 2013, EQUS REA Ltd. will be the largest member-owned utility in Canada.
"As EQUS, we are stronger and more competitive, and provide rural Albertans with customer choice," said Jim Towle, CAREA Board Chairman.
"The beginning of EQUS is an exciting opportunity for our member-owners," said John Ross, South Alta REA Chairman. "Judging by the robust and positive response from members during the special meetings, they recognize the viability of EQUS to be a strong and successful REA that protects their interests."
FortisAlberta tried numerous tactics in a last ditch attempt to derail the merger, including distribution of misleading information both in print and in face to face discussions. Their actions only served to drive members to their REA meetings in greater numbers and both associations benefited from the great turnout and enthusiastic member support. The end result was the overwhelming endorsement to merge, with members of both associations collectively voting 91 per cent in favour of the merger.
EQUS REA Ltd. will have an Alberta service area spanning 28 counties, from the County of Barrhead to the U.S. border. It will remain a rural based, rural focussed REA that provides real energy solutions for rural Alberta development.
"The biggest benefit of operating our own system is that REA members are not at the mercy of giant investor owned utilities," said Towle. "Unlike for-profit utilities, our mandate is not to produce dividends for stockholders; rather, we deliver safe and reliable service to members 24/7."
"The synergies from this merger allow us to continue to be the benchmark for service and cost in rural Alberta," said Ross.
Rural Electrification Associations are not-for-profit co-operatives that own and operate electrical distribution systems in rural Alberta. Unlike investor owned utilities, such as FortisAlberta, REAs are member-owned, which translates into savings for members, leaving millions of dollars in the communities they serve.