July 19, 2005 10:17 ET

July 18, 2005: Consortium of Ontario School Boards

Completes Electricity Contracts to Bring Cost Savings Over $8 million Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Education Editor, Environment Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - July 19, 2005) - A consortium of Ontario school boards led by CSBSA (Catholic School Boards Services Association) has completed the latest in a series of innovative electricity purchase contracts that will amount to savings of over $8 million for the 43 school boards.

The program involves the school boards contracting with electricity retailers, and opting out of Ontario's Regulated Price Plan (RPP) for electricity.

"The contracts enable us to both reduce our power costs and increase our price certainty, both of which are critical issues for school boards," noted Peter Howarth, Executive Director of CSBSA.

In aggregate, the 43 school boards use more than 1.5 million MegaWatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, making them comparable to many large industrial buyers in total power use.

"The Regulated Price Plan provides a two-tier price structure and larger consumers in the Plan will pay the higher of the two prices on most of their consumption. The school boards were able to contract with retailers in the power market in a way that will achieve a lower net price than the RPP," observed Bruce Sharp, senior consultant for Aegent Energy Advisors Inc. "What's more, the RPP is subject to after-the-fact adjustment for price variances, whereas a fixed price contract in the market is a fixed price contract, so greater price certainty is also achievable". Aegent provided commercial advice to the consortium in completing the transactions.

More school boards are expected to join in the power buying program over the coming months.

"The electricity market rules have been constantly changing, and many school boards have not come to grips with it yet", said Peter Howarth. "CSBSA has been working on this for over five years, and we think we have a very practical and successful program. Participating school boards get the maximum benefit for the minimum cost and effort. We are able to offer them the benefit of our experience, the costs involved are spread over many participants, and our large aggregate load attracts much better power pricing than a school board could achieve on its own."

"We've been delighted to work with CSBSA and the school boards in the program," commented John Voss, Managing Director of Aegent Energy Advisors. "Peter and his colleagues are to be commended for being very proactive and forward-thinking. Throughout all the electricity policy changes, they have persisted in looking past the "default" price, trying to find the best deal they could get for the education sector."

The numbers speak for themselves, as the participating boards will save more than $7 million in electricity costs and an additional $600,000 in avoided legal/consulting fees over the period to next spring.

CSBSA (www.csbsa.org) is a not-for-profit consortium of Greater Toronto Area Catholic School Boards dedicated to providing business opportunities for all Ontario School Boards -- Catholic, public, French and English -- to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. "The Electricity Acquisition Program is just one of the many initiatives implemented by CSBSA but once again has demonstrated the tremendous benefit school boards or other public sector bodies can achieve by working together, cooperatively" concluded Howarth.

Aegent Energy Advisors Inc. (www.aegent.ca) is an independent energy consulting organization helping large volume energy buyers to reduce the costs, manage the risks, and resolve the complexities of their electricity and natural gas purchases.
/For further information: John W. Voss, P. Eng.
Managing Director
Aegent Energy Advisors Inc.
P: 416.622.9449 ext 102


Contact Information

  • Paul Howarth, Executive Director
    Primary Phone: 905-793-7862