Your local multi-utility provider
Dedicated to the responsible management of integrated services, Utilities Kingston provides the following core utility services:
- An assured clean drinking water supply to 39,000 customers.
- Collection and treatment of wastewater.
- Safe and reliable gas services to nearly 15,000 customers.
- Asset management, billing, and operational services to Kingston Hydro, which in turn provides electricity services to 28,000 customers in central Kingston.
- Reliable maintenance of over 10,000 street lights and traffic signals at 200 intersections.
- Specialized fibre optic broadband networking services, providing highly available and affordable connectivity up to 10 Gbps. A major benefit is the cost-effective and highly-reliable monitoring of the City’s utility infrastructure.
To advance the unique multi-utility model to benefit our customers and build better communities.
To manage, operate and maintain community infrastructure to deliver safe, reliable services and a personal customer experience.
Safety, integrity, innovation
Whether through protecting health and safety, caring for our planet, or taking action for social responsibility, our corporate responsibility page outlines the myriad ways in which the employees of Utilities Kingston strive to meet these expectations, each and every day.
Shared services delivery model
Our shared services delivery model is unique in Ontario and gives Utilities Kingston clear advantages in cost savings and customer service over other utility providers in the province.
Cost savings come from efficiencies through the scope of services provided. One example of this is the savings from printing and mailing just one bill for all services received by the customer.
Customer service advantages
- One call to arrange for service changes when you move.
- One call and one appointment for underground locates when you excavate on your property for fencing, pool installations and so on.
- One contact for a number of new construction services, which assists the community in economic development.
- Efficient coordination of joint construction projects (for example, combining water, sewer, gas, electricity, and road works). This leads to timely and cost-effective completion of projects, with less disruption to customers.
Utilities Kingston is unique in Ontario, combining water, wastewater, gas and electrical services and a broadband networking business in one company under the leadership of a single CEO.
This structure enables the complex choreography of multiple work programs, leading to the timely and cost-effective completion of the work. Along with helping to ensure that infrastructure repairs are less disruptive to residents and businesses, one of the most obvious benefits of a multi-utility structure that has all services under one roof, is cost-savings from economies of scope. We benefit from a shared services model for activities, equipment, and systems, ranging from customer care, billing, accounting, fleet and even some operational functions.
Check out our video which describes the benefits to the Kingston community of having multiple utility services under one roof.
1425445 Ontario Limited (operating as “Utilities Kingston”) and its predecessor organizations have provided the residents of Kingston with safe and reliable utility services for more than 100 years. Over the years our name and corporate structure have changed, but one thing has remained constant: we are the City-owned utility company accountable to our Shareholder, the Corporation of the City of Kingston represented by their City Council.
Prior to amalgamation on January 1, 1998, the utility services were provided by several different groups:
- water and wastewater by the former townships
- wastewater services by the former City government
- water, natural gas, and electricity services in the former City by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
As a result of amalgamation, all of these services were brought together under the Corporation of the City of Kingston with the utilities rebranded as Utilities Kingston.
Changes to the electricity distribution industry
The introduction of the Energy Competition Act in June of 1998 initiated significant changes to electric utilities in the Province of Ontario. One of these was the establishment of corporate structures for the ongoing management and operation of electricity distribution systems – a requirement that would create a level playing field between privately owned utilities and those that were retained by their municipalities.
Legislation was prescriptive in the way these corporations were to be set up. In particular, municipalities could not continue to distribute electricity, except through a corporation. In addition, employees within a municipally-held electricity distribution corporation could not be significantly involved in any other activities except electricity distribution.
This created challenges for the municipal department known as Utilities Kingston which operated four utility systems as well as starting to build and operate a fibre optic network system. The Corporation of the City of Kingston, as owner, determined it would benefit the municipality and all utility ratepayers to maintain the multi-utility structure.
The organization needed a structure that would meet the intent of the legislation, maintain the advantages realized through utility convergence or integration (one call, one crew, and one bill), and support the municipality through sharing corporate services, where beneficial to both parties.
An innovative solution
The proposed solution, which became the current structure, saw the incorporation of three Ontario Business Corporations under section 142 of the Electricity Act. The first, Kingston Hydro Corporation, owns the electricity assets and is the local distribution company regulated and licensed by the Ontario Energy Board. The second, 1425447 Ontario Limited, was formed as a generating company. The third, a subsidiary of 1425447 Ontario Limited, is 1425445 Ontario Limited (operating as Utilities Kingston). The latter is home to all the employees of the former municipal department and owns the assets of the broadband telecommunications business.
The corporate chart is outlined herein (grey lines show Ownership; blue lines show Management).
Through this structure, which is unique in Ontario, Utilities Kingston manages, operates, and maintains the assets of the water, wastewater, natural gas, and electricity utilities, and the broadband networking business. This structure enables economies of scope and allows for the sharing of corporate and operational resources to enhance service delivery and keep rates as affordable and competitive as possible.
Local services you can rely on
The local utility structure provides the City of Kingston with a unique advantage over other municipalities. Throughout the city, the municipality owns the water and wastewater assets. In the core area of the city, the municipality owns gas assets and, through Kingston Hydro, the electric assets.
Public accountability ensures residents that vital services like water, wastewater, and electricity are provided while meeting the highest safety standards. Furthermore, the company must be accessible to all its stakeholders.
The residents of Kingston benefit from an accessible, socially conscious utility that is committed to providing its services in the most cost-effective, efficient manner possible. Through the strategy of utility convergence, employees are cross-trained in many disciplines, allowing the company to effectively share human resources and equipment. Utilities Kingston recognizes that by focusing on the customer, policies, and processes are streamlined to make the company an efficient utility provider.
Our funding model
Each utility – water, wastewater, natural gas, electricity, and broadband networking – is completely funded by separate utility-specific user fees, and through this funding model promotes utility conservation. Steps are taken to prevent cross-subsidization between the utilities.
Reinvesting in our community
Did you know that a portion of the profits from our water heater rental program which Utilities Kingston manages on behalf of the City, are allocated to the City of Kingston’s Environmental Fund? This is just one of the ways Utilities Kingston is proud to support the community’s sustainability goals.
Putting sustainability to work
Utilities Kingston is a partner and supporter of the Sustainable Kingston initiative, helping to achieve our community’s vision of becoming Canada’s Most Sustainable City. Our employees deliver initiatives that help build active citizenship, encourage the community to use less electricity and less treated water, provide clean and safe potable water that exceeds Ministry of the Environment standards, and much more. We take pride in attracting and retaining skilled talent and offer fulfilling jobs with safe working conditions.