ATCO laying off staff nationally but says NWT unaffected

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ATCO, a co-owner of the NWT’s Northland Utilities, is reportedly cutting hundreds of jobs – but says no staff in the territory will be affected.

The ATCO group employs around 9,000 staff worldwide. In the NWT, it operates power firm Northland Utilities in partnership with Aboriginal-owned Denendeh Investments.

News of layoffs at ATCO emerged on Wednesday, but the company has not yet elaborated on the extent or precise location of cuts. CTV’s Alberta bureau, quoting sources, believes 450 positions to be at risk.

However, in a statement to Moose FM, Stephanie Cunya – a senior communications advisor for Northland Utilities – said no staff in the Northwest Territories would be affected.

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“ATCO is responding to the extremely challenging economic times in Alberta. There is no impact to the people or operations of Northland Utilities in Yellowknife or Hay River, or ATCO Electric Yukon,” said Cunya.

Northland Utilities currently distributes power in Yellowknife and Hay River, though the future of the latter arrangement is in jeopardy.

Hay River’s town council recently declined to renew Northland’s distribution agreement, instead choosing to issue a request for proposals in a bid to drive down the cost of power for residents.

Councillors continue to discuss the proposals subsequently received, with no sign yet of a conclusion. In the meantime, Northland’s current agreement runs until November 2016.

The company has distributed electricity in Hay River for 64 years.

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