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OPG, Hydro Québec renew operating agreement at Chats Falls GS

On the Ottawa River, OPG has renewed a decades-long partnership with Hydro Québec to continue to operate Chats Falls Generating Station (GS) safely and reliably.

Mike Martelli, OPG's President of Renewable Generation, left, and Simon Racicot-Daigneault, Senior Director, Generation and Maintenance at Hydro-Quebec, sign a new Operating Services Agreement at Chat Falls GS.
Mike Martelli, President of Renewable Generation at OPG, left, and Simon Racicot-Daigneault, Senior Director, Generation and Maintenance at Hydro-Québec, sign a new Operating Services Agreement at Chat Falls GS.

On Oct. 15, Mike Martelli, President of Renewable Generation at OPG, and Simon Racicot-Daigneault, Hydro Québec’s Senior Director, Generation and Maintenance, held a signing ceremony at the station to commemorate a new Operating Services Agreement.

The eight-unit, 192-megawatt hydroelectric station, located 60 km west of Ottawa near the Ontario-Québec border, is jointly owned by OPG and Hydro Québec, with the station sending power to both provinces. The station has been a partnership effort since 1928 when OPG’s predecessor, The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, reached an agreement with Chats Falls Power Company (later absorbed by Hydro-Québec) for the development and operation of a powerhouse on the Ottawa River.

As a shared station, revenues and costs are shared by both companies, with each owning and operating four of the station’s generators.

A view of OPG's Chats Falls Generating Station
Chats Falls Generating Station

Guiding this collaborative arrangement is an Operating Services Agreement between OPG and Hydro Québec. The agreement, last signed more than 40 years ago in 1977, provides a framework for how the facility is operated and maintained, and how costs are recovered, allowing both companies to share their strength, expertise and experience.

“For 88 years, Chats Falls GS has been generating electricity on the Ottawa River safely and reliably,” said Martelli. “This updated operating agreement demonstrates a shared commitment to continue providing low-cost, clean and reliable power to our respective provinces.”

A lot has changed since 1977 in terms of technological improvements, including station automation. This necessitated a new agreement, which was signed by both companies on May 30, 2019.

OPG and Hydro Quebec staff came together at Chats Falls GS on Oct. 15 to hold a signing ceremony commemorating a new Operating Services Agreement.
OPG and Hydro Québec staff came together at Chats Falls GS on Oct. 15 to hold a signing ceremony commemorating a new Operating Services Agreement.

The renewed pact takes into account new efficiencies and operational changes at Chats Falls that have improved the station’s performance and financial viability.

“Since the 1977 agreement, equipment and technology investments in the station allowed us to meet the requirements of both provincial regulatory bodies,” said Ken Tom, Section Manager Programming, Eastern Operations.

“These were sizable investments requiring collaboration from both OPG and Hydro Québec. The new Operating Services Agreement will strengthen our relationship with Hydro Québec and having a documented process provides clarity to both parties.”