OAKVILLE, ON – Ontario-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (APUC) has purchased Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, which provides natural gas to approximately 12,000 customers in 12 communities across New Brunswick, and operates approximately 800 kilometers of natural gas distribution pipeline.
Liberty Utilities, a subsidiary of APUC, paid $331-million for the company. Ian Robertson, CEO of APUC, said they plan to grow the New Brunswick company after the transaction is completed and regulatory approvals are in place, which is expected to take place sometime in 2019.
APUC says it plans to establish a $5-million “Fuel for the Future” fund aimed at increasing the accessibility of natural gas in New Brunswick.
“The acquisition of New Brunswick Gas builds on the growth strategy for Liberty Utilities’ East Region through the addition of a new, high-quality utility,” said Robertson, in a release.
“As a proudly Canadian company, we see [Endridge New Brunswick] as an ideal opportunity to expand the distribution footprint into Canada, where we see tremendous potential to invest in growing the customer base. We look forward to welcoming the New Brunswick Gas team to the APUC family, and are committed to supporting the dedicated teams as they continue to deliver the same great services across the province.”
APUC is a generation, transmission and distribution utility with approximately $9-billion (U.S.) of total assets. It operates green and clean energy assets, including hydroelectric, wind, thermal, and solar power facilities, as well as utility distribution businesses (water, electricity and natural gas).
Cynthia Hansen, executive vice-president of utilities and power operations of Enbridge, says the company is selling the New Brunswick business to focus on markets elsewhere.
“This is a great franchise with a complement of dedicated and hard-working employees. The sale aligns with Enbridge’s priority of focusing on expanding and growing its business in core markets,” said Hansen in a release. “Enbridge will work with Liberty Utilities to ensure a safe and orderly transition of business’ operations.”
Despite the sale, Enbridge said it will maintain its ownership interest in the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, which serves markets in Atlantic Canada, including New Brunswick, and the northeastern United States.
Colleen Mitchell, president of the Atlantica Centre for Energy, said the Algonquin investment, along with the news that limited development of shale gas in the province may go ahead, are positive signs for the growth of the sector in the province.
“The option of reducing emissions through natural gas use, increasing the availability to customers and creating jobs based here are all win-win-win,” said Mitchell, in a release.