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Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario
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The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (HEPCO) was special statutory corporation established by the Act to Provide for the Transmission of Electrical power to Municipalities of 1906. Prior to its creation, hydro-electric power had developed as a series of solo ventures, private or public stations powering towns or businesses, but forming no common network. These often operated as monopolies, providing poor services at high prices. In response to these practices, the Ontario provincial government recognized in 1905 that electricity should be consider as ‘public good’ rather than commodity. The Commission’s role was to supply the electrical needs of the citizens of Ontario municipalities, and later to rural areas, at the lowest possible cost. Over the course of its history, HEPCO connected Ontario municipalities to its delivery system through the upgrading of local distribution lines and extension of transmission lines. To supply its clients, HEPCO bought power from private companies and acquired or built its own stations. In 1939, the Power Control Act gave the Commission the authority to regulate other electricity generators. The network extended past the borders of Ontario as HEPCO bought power from American-owned utilities and from private hydro producers in Quebec. As the Commission developed its capacity for thermal and nuclear-generated power starting in the 1950s, it became more self-sufficient and even became a net exporter of power. HEPCO was officially renamed Ontario Hydro in 1974 when the six-man commission that governed it was changed to a Board of Directors composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, President, and a number of directors. Ontario Hydro continued to operate the generation and delivery system until deregulation of electricity market in Canada split the corporation in 1999 into two entities: Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to produce energy, and Hydro One to distribute it on the open market. The deregulation ultimately ended the generation and delivery model established with the creation of HEPCO in 1906.
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A. Torrance, 2018-03-07.
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- Macdonald, Catherine. (February 1992). Water Power and the Transformation of Canada 1600-1960: A Synthesis of National Museum of Science and Technology Research Reports, 1989-1991. Corporate Records. Available from CSTM Library.
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Swift, Jamie and Keith Stewart. (2004). Hydro: The Decline and Fall of Ontario’s Electric Empire. Toronto: Between the Lines. Available in the CSTM Library.
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- Willis, John. (28 March 1990). The Power of Water: Hydraulic Power and Hydro-Electric Power in the History of Ontario, from the late 18th Century to 1960. Corporate Records. Available from the CSTM Library.