top of page
  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

E.L.K. brings on Entegrus to provide contracted management services

by Sylene Argent

Last week, E.L.K. Energy Inc., signed an agreement that will bring on Entegrus Inc. to provide contracted management services.

Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy, who sits on the E.L.K. Board of Directors, said the contact will be looked at reevaluated six-months at a time.

E.L.K. is owned by the Town of Essex.

“We want to bring some stability,” Bondy said of bringing on Entegrus, which is based in Chatham. “We want to be able to give Entegrus the tools to come in to adequately assess the gaps that are here and make recommendations to the Board.”

This will give the E.L.K. Board of Directors a chance to take its time to hire a new CEO, as Mike Audet recently retired after 30-plus years of service.

The E.L.K. Board of Directors extend its thanks to E.L.K.’s former CEO.

Entegrus will help determine if E.L.K. is meeting Ontario Energy Board (OEB) deadlines, and if there are gaps in asset management or the organizational chart.

As a new Board, “We felt we needed to act quickly and swiftly with a bold decision that was best for E.L.K., for the E.L.K. customers, and all of our service territories, and to protect our shareholder’s interest,” Bondy said.

The previous Term of Essex Council changed the composition of the E.L.K. Board. The new Board is comprised of six members, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Town of Essex, two members at large from the Town of Essex, and two members at large from either Kingsville and/or Lakeshore, who are E.L.K. customers. The previous E.L.K. Board had nine members, five of which were members of Essex Council.

Entegrus was selected for this task as Bondy said its staff matched the needs and were committed to bringing E.L.K. into the 21st century.

“We took our time. We did a good job with this,” Bondy said. “We are interested in what Entegrus has to offer.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Entegrus, said his Local Distribution Company has a similar distribution system as E.L.K. Entegrus serves 17 small communities, similar to E.L.K. that serves six, including Belle River, Comber, Cottam, Essex, Harrow, and Kingsville.

“We have helped out other utilities in similar situations like E.L.K. We worked with them, because there is good staff, and helped them deliver the best service we can for their customers,” Hogan said.

Entegrus, he added, has a fair number of resources, such as engineers, accountants, and line staff, who – together with the team at E.L.K. – will be able to deliver a great service to customers.

The initial agreement with the E.L.K. Board, he added, is to work with the staff, see where things are at, and provide informational feedback to the Board. In addition, Entegrus will provide recommendations.

Bondy said it is not the Board’s job to get into E.L.K.’s operations. “Faced with a CEO vacancy, we had to do something. Hiring a CEO does take a long time. In order to ensure we were not dealing with operations, we decided to have somebody do that for us.”

Kingsville Deputy Mayor Kim DeYong is one of six members on the E.L.K. Board of Management. She has been vocal about E.L.K. in the past. In October of 2021, the previous Term of Kingsville Council voted unanimously to support DeYong’s motion to send a letter to Essex regarding E.L.K., requesting a complete comprehensive review of the electrical supply be conducted.

Last week, DeYong said she wanted to get on the Board so she could help from the inside out to address some of those concerns. “I see this step as a really good start for addressing some of the [concerns].”

As the Kingsville rep on the Board, “I am here to bring that Kingsville voice to the table. Kingsville residents do have concerns about the service level of E.L.K. and also about the quality of the supply. I see this as a positive move. I am looking forward to great changes,” DeYong said.

The E.L.K. Board, DeYong added, wants to make the utility, customer experience, and supply better.

bottom of page