Hydroelectric, Nuclear, Renewables

Ontario Power to cut 2,000 jobs, take restructuring charge

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Jan. 16, 2002 — Canada’s Ontario Power Generation Inc. Wednesday said it will eliminate 2,000 jobs over the next 2 years and take a $400 million (Can.) charge as part of a major restructuring plan.

The Toronto, Ont.-based utility said the restructuring will better align the company’s resources, improve efficiency, and contribute to its future competitive positioning in the deregulating electricity market. The Ontario electricity market will open to competition in May. The process was originally scheduled to begin in November 2000.

Analysts warn the province can expect price volatility to accompany the deregulation process. Some predict prices will fall because of increased competition and the economic slowdown.

Government-owned Ontario Power controls about 77% of the province’s generating capacity. It is scheduled to sell 4,200 Mw of generating capacity within 4 years to encourage competition and must decrease its share of the market to under 35% within 10 years.

Last year, the company leased its Bruce Nuclear facilities to Bruce Power. Currently, Ontario Power Generation is seeking to decontrol the Lakeview, Lennox, Thunder Bay, and Atikokan fossil-fueled stations, along with four Mississagi River hydroelectric stations.

At the same time, the company said a number of major improvement initiatives that required considerable capital investment will be completed or will be nearing completion over the next 2 years. These include the Pickering A nuclear plant restart, nuclear performance improvement projects, and various upgrades at fossil and hydroelectric stations.

In a related initiative, Ontario Power said it will be relocating nuclear-related personnel to the Durham Region where the company’s two nuclear generating stations are located. Similarly, head office personnel that support the hydroelectric and fossil stations will be relocating to either the Sir Adam Beck facilities near Niagara Falls or to the Nanticoke Generating Station, located in Haldimand County.