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Letter from the President & CEO – Re: Social Media Posts

July 5, 2022

As the new President & CEO, I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead this organization.  These are exciting and opportune times for the Utility (referenced herein, collectively as – Geosands Inc., Wasaga Distribution Inc., and Wasaga Resource Services Inc.) and the industry. The Utility is well-positioned to continue to deliver electricity in an affordable, safe, and reliable manner and will continue to evolve to meet its future needs.

We will ensure that your input is considered as we look to the future considering newer technologies, innovation, and growth opportunities.  Our high customer satisfaction numbers indicate that we are leading the way in listening to our customers.  We will never take your confidence for granted.   A community that works together can do great things together.

It is also important for me to ensure the reputation of the Utility and its employees are protected and that all stakeholders are provided factual information.

Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that senior individuals formerly involved with the governance and leadership of the Utility have been spreading misinformation online through social media. The comments being made are factually incorrect and in bad taste.

Particularly troubling are the comments made by a former officer who served on the Board from 2004-2020.

Our response to these comments are as follows:

“And now today the final big question remains, what growth have we actually seen in Wasaga Distribution Inc. since 2018”

Wasaga Distribution Inc. and its affiliates continue to deliver an annual dividend to its sole shareholder, the Town of Wasaga Beach and reinvest their excess returns in infrastructure to ensure that the Utility can maintain its ability to supply reliable electricity while supporting the growing needs of the community.

In 2020, The Utility adopted its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.   The Utility has undergone a review of its governance framework, adopted a new investment framework, and is in the process of developing a risk management framework to continue to support its strategic priorities. The Utility continues to look at growth and investment opportunities in the unregulated business – Wasaga Resource Services Inc. (i.e., the non-utility), and investments are being made to support the growing needs of the regulated business – Wasaga Distribution Inc.

In 2022, the Utility declared the largest dividend ever of $480,000 and provided an interest payment of $135,000 on the outstanding promissory note to the Town of Wasaga Beach.

Wasaga Distribution Inc. has not grown and has actually stagnated, gone backwards and lost substantial value since 2018”

This statement is incorrect.

The value of assets in service and the financial operating requirements to support the delivery of electricity to its customers (working capital) – effectively called the Rate Base is representative of the growth in value of Wasaga Distribution Inc.   Since 2018, Wasaga Distribution Inc.’s rate base has increased from approximately $14 million to $21 million a 50 % increase.

The rate base is still the prime indicator of a utility’s value.  There is no indication that this has changed.

“If the town were to offer Wasaga Distribution Inc.  for sale today, it would have to be a fire sale as it is no longer the gem” it once was.”

This statement is incorrect.

Recent investments being made by Wasaga Distribution Inc. have increased the capacity to deliver electricity through the distribution system by approximately 20%.  Wasaga Distribution Inc. continues to make investments to support the new development on Sunnidale Road and around the Community.  Wasaga Distribution Inc. continues to build redundancy within its system to improve and maintain reliability while being able to accommodate thousands of new customers.

Wasaga Distribution Inc. continues to provide the resources needed to maintain and improve the distribution system to meet the future needs of the Community and its Customers.

Wasaga Distribution Inc. has some of the lowest residential rates and is considered one of the most efficient electric distribution utilities in the province.  It continues to be a gem.  Over the last few years, Wasaga Distribution Inc. has become better positioned for the future to support growth and infrastructure renewal.

Hydro One informed us that Wasaga Beach was their preferred central location for a large new District Service Centre”

On December 7th, 2015, The Boards and Town representatives attended a session with Hydro One that discussed the potential for a centralized regional operations centre within the service territory.  Hydro One never made an offer at that meeting and there was no offer presented in writing to the Shareholder. Hydro One never informed the Boards that Wasaga Beach was a preferred central location and there was never any follow-up.

“The size of all 4 boards averaged about 6-7 board members in total” and this former officer further states “In 2018, many of the existing board members were just simply let go!  Almost immediately the size of the Hydro Boards tripled”

In 2019 the Town of Wasaga Beach adopted the Shareholder Direction By-Law No. 2019-35 and repealed By-Law No. 2000-65.   It’s correct to state that before 2019, the Boards in their entirety consisted of 6-7 board members.   The amended By-Law set the requirement that most of the members of the Board shall be independent of any other affiliated entity.

The amended requirement is good corporate governance practice and necessitated the need to reduce the multiple appointments of members to each board.

It is important to the Utility and the Shareholder that the Boards can exercise diligence and independent judgment.

Lastly, comments on confidential Human Resource matters that this individual has brought up are private and protected. The safety, corporate culture, and well-being of all staff are the single most important thing to me.  Our staff is our biggest asset to the Utility.  The relationship with all our Stakeholders is as important.

I encourage and welcome anyone to contact me directly if you have any questions. It is important to remember to get your information from the source. I welcome anyone to stop in and introduce themselves and I will make myself available.

Sincerely,

Brandon Weiss

President & CEO

President & CEO Appointment – WDI

April 1, 2022

The Town of Wasaga Beach, in partnership with Geosands Inc., and its subsidiaries (the Utility) is pleased to announce that Brandon Weiss has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) effective May 2nd, 2022. Weiss has been with the Utility since 2010, most recently serving as the Vice President of Finance and Regulatory for the Utility. Weiss is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) with more than 15 years of experience in financial management, regulatory compliance, and risk management.

In his new role, Weiss will be responsible for the overall operations of Wasaga Distribution Inc. and Wasaga Resource Services Inc., ensuring safe, environmentally sound, and efficient practices are in place in compliance with all the applicable regulatory, legislation, and governing entities.

Weiss was selected following a rigorous recruitment and interview process involving the Town of Wasaga Beach, and members of the board of directors.

President and CEO, David Stavinga will continue to lead the organization while working with Mr. Weiss to help him transition to his new role. “It’s been an honour to lead the Utility,” says Stavinga. “It’s a great organization and Brandon, with his experience in the industry, and with the company will be what the Utility needs to move this company forward. I look forward to continuing working with Brandon during his transition.”

Geosands Inc. is 100% owned by the Town of Wasaga Beach and operates Wasaga Distribution Inc. as the regulated entity and Wasaga Resource Services Inc. as the nonregulated entity. The Utility serves more than 14,500 customers covering 58 square kilometres in the Town of Wasaga Beach.

New Temporary Fixed Price for RPP Time-of-Use and Tiered Customers

January 11, 2022

The Ontario government announced that it will set electricity rates at the off-peak rate of 8.2¢/kWh, 24 hours per day beginning January 18th until February 7th, 2022. Households, farms, and small businesses will receive this off-peak rate automatically, whether they normally pay time-of-use or tiered rates. If you should have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact one of our customer service agents to assist you with this at (705) 429-2517.

2022 Bi-Annual Electrical Safety Awareness Survey

January 4, 2022

Wasaga Distribution has commenced our bi-annual Electrical Safety Awareness survey.  You may receive a call from our partner on this project, ADVANIS, who will be conducting the survey on our behalf.  This survey is important to us and we encourage you to participate. If you have any questions, or concerns, please contact customer care at (705) 429-2517.

Director Opportunities for appointment to Wasaga Distribution Board

November 8, 2021

DIRECTOR OPPORTUNITIES ON ELECTRICITY BOARDS

The Town of Wasaga Beach is currently recruiting individuals to sit as Directors on the following boards related to the governance of Wasaga Distribution Inc. The following qualifications would be favourable:

  • Experience in the following: Business, strategic planning, human resource and management, enterprise risk management, membership on boards of significant corporations, financial, legal, accounting and/or marketing
  • Industry knowledge, including experience in the Electricity Business, experience with regulators
  • Experience in corporate governance in a municipal shareholder environment, knowledge of public policy issues relating to the Corporation
  • Any additional skills or qualities as may be consistent with industry best practices or identified by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) as beneficial and/or set forth in any OEB guidelines on governance practices from time to time

We encourage interested individuals to apply for membership on any of the following Boards:

Board of Directors Geosands Inc.
Board of Directors for Wasaga Distribution Inc.
Board of Directors for Wasaga Resources Inc.

Applications of interest will be received until November 17, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Year round availability is a requirement.

Please complete the Application Form “Public Appointments to Boards and Committees” found on the Town Website www.wasagabeach.com under Town & Government; Forms; Council and Election; Public Appointment (Click here) and submit to:

Dina Lundy, Director, Legislative Services & Clerk
Town of Wasaga Beach
30 Lewis Street
Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A1
705-429-3844 ext. 2223
[email protected]

November 1 – Ontario Energy Board set new electricity prices for households and small businesses

October 26, 2021

On October 22nd, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced that electricity prices for households and small businesses will not change as of November 1, 2021 under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP). The winter Time-of-Use (TOU) hours and the change in the Tier threshold for residential customers on Tiered pricing will take effect November 1.  The Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) will be changed from 18.9% to 17.0%.  For a typical residential customer who uses 700 kWh of electricity per month the OER will decrease bills by about $20.90 each month.

For more information please visit the Ontario Energy Board Website by Clicking HERE

Wasaga Distribution publishes 2020 Scorecard with Management Discussion and Analysis

October 22, 2021

Wasaga Distribution is pleased to publish our 2020 Scorecard Management Discussion and Analysis.

2020 was a year of challenge and change for the utility. The COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe and throughout the year, we have seen the pandemic result in the delay of some of the major development and capital projects that were expected to be undertaken in 2020.

WDI met all performance targets except for System Reliability. Aging infrastructure continues to be a challenge facing utilities today. WDI must replace aging infrastructure at a pace that meets the challenge. In addition, vegetation control, including tree trimming activities, also continue to be a primary focus for WDI due to the highly treed community. This reduces the vulnerability of the distribution system to external uncontrollable events, such as weather.

Furthermore, WDI continues to focus on you, the customer. WDI makes every effort to engage its customers on a regular basis to ensure we are aware of your needs and that you are receiving the best value for your money. In 2020, WDI undertook the development of a Strategic Plan that included input from all stakeholders including outreach engagement to its customers and undertook our bi-annual customer satisfaction survey. WDI remains committed to provide its customers with the most reliable service at the least possible cost. WDI thanks their customers for their strong commitment to the utility in 2020 and positive results from the feedback we have received.

As we move forward, we will continue our efforts to improve overall scorecard performance. This performance improvement is expected because of continued investment in both our infrastructure and in response to your needs.

Please click on this link to view the full 2020 Scorecard with Management Discussion and Analysis.

Conditions of Service Update

July 21, 2021

We have refreshed our Conditions of Service.  Please visit our Policy section to review the revised document or Click Here.  The revised Conditions of Service provides additional clarification and reflects the most recent revisions of the Distribution System Code. The Distribution System Code sets out the minimum obligations that a licensed electricity distributor must meet in carrying out its obligations to distribute electricity within its service area under its licence.

You may send any questions, comments or feedback to [email protected] or you may call the office 705-429-2517.

The revised Conditions of Service will come into effect on September 1, 2021.

Wasaga Distribution Awarded EDA’s 2020 Public Electrical Safety Excellence Winner

June 11, 2021

Wasaga Distribution is honored to be awarded EDA’s 2020 Public Electrical Safety Excellence Winner – sponsored by the Electrical Safety Authority. WDI was recognized as having been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic in having to implement new safety measures in keeping staff and customer safe while offering safe, reliable, and affordable power to our customer and communities we serve.

Wasaga Distribution focus on workplace and public health and safety is essential in our services delivered to the community.

Consumer Alert: Beware of disconnection scams

May 25, 2021

Consumers are reporting being contacted by scam artists pretending to be from Wasaga Distribution and threatening to disconnect electricity service if they don’t receive payment immediately. If you receive such a message by phone or text or letter, do not provide payment and contact us directly.

  CustomerConnect