NWT Power Corp. eyes Northland Utilities
Power Corp. urges city to allow bids for Yk power market

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (July 16/99) - The NWT Power Corp. announced Monday that it wants to buy Northland Utilities.

The announcement came even though Northland managers have stated flatly that the company is not for sale.

Northland Utilities holds a franchise agreement with the City of Yellowknife to deliver power to the municipality until 2001. A city committee recommended on June 21 that the city begin negotiating with Northland for the renewal of that agreement.

"The Power Corp. is trying to insert itsef into the franchise process," Northland Utilities general manager John Carroll said.

"They didn't approach us and ask us if we wanted to sell, so in effect they're trying to go around us and begin a hostile takeover."

Since Northland is not for sale, Northland Utilities Yellowknife manager Jerome Babyn said expropriation is the only way to get the company. That can only happen, he said, if they don't deliver the service properly.

"Northland Utilities wants to grow and expand in the North for the interest of our shareholders and customers," Babyn said.

"We are not for sale and the only way that we would sell is if we were forced to."

The Power Corp. delivers 75 per cent of the NWT's power. Northland Utilities handles the final 25 per cent, which is the Yellowknife market.

Power Corp. president Leon Courneya said they've been interested in acquiring access to the Yellowknife power market since the early 1990s.

"We're still interested and we want to make our case that we are the best company to deliver services to the city," Courneya said.

"We would put together a formal proposal if the city requested it. We're asking them to (request proposals) instead of just renewing the Northland Utilities contract."

Yellowknife city clerk Tim Mercer said council was "caught off guard" by the Power Corp. request and that council has not, at this stage, changed its decision to renew the franchise agreement with Northland Utilities.