Denendeh Investments (DII) has increased its ownership in power company Northland Utilities to 50 per cent.
First Nations-owned DII previously held 14 per cent. Global utilities corporation ATCO, which has had a controlling interest in Northland since the early 1980s, controls the remaining 50 per cent.
Northland Utilities provides electricity retail, distribution, transmission and generation services in the NWT.
DII claims to represent 27 First Nations in the Northwest Territories and half of the territory’s Aboriginal population.
“Increasing Dene ownership in Northland Utilities to become equal partners is the logical next step in a mutually-beneficial business partnership that has grown over three decades,” said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus in a statement.
“We look forward to exploring the opportunity in having a Dene company serve all Dene communities.”
Darrell Beaulieu, president of DII, called Northland a “shining example of how First Nations in the North can benefit and grow from a meaningful business partnership”.
DII says more than a quarter of Northland’s employees are Aboriginal.
“Today, we celebrate becoming an equal owner in a company that we believe has an important role to play in the future in the Northwest Territories,” said Beaulieu.
In December last year, the Town of Hay River said it would not renew its agreement with Northland to distribute power. That agreement expires in 2016.