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History

The international company known today as Fortis Inc. has its roots in the St. John’s Electric Light Company in 1885.

From our earliest days in Newfoundland, the leaders and visionaries who built the companies that came to be known as Fortis Inc. have held a shared conviction: energy is the engine of economic growth and development of our society. The history of Fortis is the story of fueling that growth by bringing power to the communities we serve. From Newfoundland’s very first electrical plant to the earliest hydroelectric generating plant, Fortis today continues the mission of delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective energy to homes and businesses throughout North America.

A look back at the growth and evolution of Fortis.

  • 1885 1885

    The international company known today as Fortis Inc. has its roots in St. John’s Electric Light Company formed in 1885.

  • 1900 1898

    The Petty Harbour Electric Generating Station was completed in 1900 by St. John’s Street Railway Company. The Petty Harbour hydro plant continues to operate today and is a member of the Hydro Hall of Fame as the first hydro plant in the province now known as Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • 1924 1920

    The electric utility company was renamed The Newfoundland Light and Power Company in 1924.

  • 1948 1948

    Newfoundland Light and Power Company, Limited became a pure electric utility in 1948 and first issued stock to the public in 1949.

  • 1949 1949

    In July 1949, Newfoundland became the tenth province of Canada. Newfoundland Light and Power had 1,600 common shareholders.

  • 1966 1966

    Newfoundland Light & Power Co. Limited was formed through the amalgamation of Newfoundland Light and Power Company, Limited; Union Electric Light and Power Company; and United Towns Electric Company Limited.

  • 1985 1985

    Newfoundland Light & Power Co. Limited celebrated 100 years of service. Common shares split 2-for-1.

  • 1987 1987

    Shareholders of Newfoundland Light & Power Co. Limited voted to create a holding company known as Fortis Inc. to be the 100% owner of the utility. On December 29, 1987, each Newfoundland Light & Power Co. Limited common share was exchanged for one common share of Fortis Inc.

  • 1988 1988

    Dr. Angus A. Bruneau became Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortis Inc. He served as Chairman of Fortis Inc. for 18 years. Dr. Bruneau also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Newfoundland Power from 1986 until 1990. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983 and was awarded the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers Gold Medal in 1988.

  • 1990 1990

    Maritime Electric, located on Prince Edward Island, was our first electric utility investment in 1990. This was followed by investments in Ontario in 1996.

  • 1996 1996

    Stan Marshall was appointed President and CEO of Fortis Inc. in 1996. His career with Fortis spanned 35 years and, under his leadership, Fortis became the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility in Canada. Total assets grew from less than $1.0 billion in 1996 to $26 billion when Stan retired in December 2014.

  • 1999 1999

    Fortis embarked on international expansion with investments in Belize in 1999 and the Cayman Islands in 2000.

  • 2003 2003

    Fortis announced an agreement to acquire electric utilities in Alberta and British Columbia from Aquila Inc. The subsidiaries were renamed FortisAlberta and FortisBC in 2004.

  • 2005 2005

    Fortis common shares split 4-for-1 after reaching nearly $100 per common share.

  • 2006 2006

    Fortis added to its Caribbean interests with the purchase of two utilities on the Turks and Caicos Islands. The companies were collectively renamed Fortis Turks and Caicos and later FortisTCI.

  • 2007 2007

    Fortis expanded its activities to include gas distribution with the purchase of Terasen in British Columbia in 2007. Terasen was later renamed FortisBC Energy.

  • 2012 2012

    Fortis announced an agreement to acquire the CH Energy Group of companies for US$1.5 billion. CH Energy is the parent company of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, a gas and electric utility in New York State.

  • 2013 2013

    Fortis announced an agreement to acquire UNS Energy, a gas and electric utility in Arizona for US$4.3 billion.

  • 2014 2014

    At the end of 2014, Stan Marshall retired as President and CEO and Director of the Board of Directors of Fortis Inc. Mr. Marshall’s career with Fortis spanned 35 years and he was at the helm as President and CEO for more than 18 years. Barry Perry, Vice President of Finance and CFO of Fortis Inc., succeeded Mr. Marshall as President and CEO of the Corporation, effective December 31, 2014.

  • 2016 2016

    Fortis announced an agreement to acquire ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent transmission utility in the United States for US$11.3 billion. ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission operations in seven states. The transaction closed on October 14.

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1987 ushers in a new era of growth and diversification with the creation of Fortis Inc.

Learn more about Fortis Inc.

Common shareholders of Newfoundland Light and Power voted at a special meeting held at the Hotel Newfoundland on November 24, 1987 to create a holding company known as Fortis Inc. to be the 100% owner of the utility. On December 29, 1987, one Newfoundland Light & Power Co. Limited common share was exchanged for one common share of Fortis Inc.

Under the leadership of Chair, Angus Bruneau, Fortis (Latin for “strong”) began to pursue opportunities for growth in non-regulated businesses through subsidiaries independent from Newfoundland Light & Power.

Fortis first entered the non-regulated business environment in 1989. In August of that year, Fortis purchased its first real estate company, Water Street Investments Inc., which became the foundation of Fortis Properties Corporation. Its main asset was a 12-storey office building located at 139 Water Street in Downtown St. John’s (oldest city in North America) and adjacent to the City’s harbour. This office tower was named the Fortis Building and became known as the Corporate Headquarters of Fortis until moving in December 2014 to its current location, Fortis Place at 5 Springdale Street in Downtown St. John’s.

Also in 1989, Fortis acquired Newfoundland Building Savings and Investment Limited, a small savings and mortgage firm based in St. John’s, which began operations in 1936. The subsidiary was renamed Fortis Trust Corporation and was part of the Corporation’s non-regulated segment until the deposits and loans of Fortis Trust were sold to Scotiabank in June 2001.

In 2015, as part of sharpening the Corporation’s focus on its core utility business, Fortis divested of its commercial real estate and hotel business. Since 1989 Fortis Properties had grown to a business that owned and operated 23 hotels in eight Canadian provinces, representing over 4,400 rooms, and 2.8 million square feet of commercial and retail real estate, primarily in Atlantic Canada.

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In 1990, Fortis made its first utility investment outside Newfoundland with the purchase of a 33% interest in Maritime Electric Company, Limited.

Maritime Electric is the utility serving 90% of the Province of Prince Edward Island. This acquisition was consistent with the Fortis mandate for growth and diversification. At the time of acquisition, Maritime Electric was a private company rather than a government-owned utility. Under the leadership of Fortis, rates were reduced and customer service improved.

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  • The utility has delivered power to customers in Prince Edward Island since 1918
  • Maritime Electric owns and operates a fully integrated electric generation, transmission and distribution system
  • Electricity is mainly purchased from off-island sources and supplied via submarine cables connecting to New Brunswick
  • The utility also buys more than 20% of electricity sales from wind farms on Prince Edward Island
  • Fortis became the 100% owner in 1994
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The growth of Fortis continued in 1996 with the purchase of a 50% interest in Canadian Niagara Power.

With the acquisition of Canadian Niagara Power, Fortis became the only utility to have operations in three separate Canadian provinces. Canadian Niagara Power is based in Fort Erie, Ontario, across from Buffalo, New York. This acquisition by Fortis laid the groundwork for the growth and development of FortisOntario.

  • Canadian Niagara Power was established in 1892 to generate power in the territory owned by the Niagara Parks Commission
  • Fortis became the 100% owner of Canadian Niagara Power in 2002
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Fortis continued its international expansion with an investment in the Cayman Islands in 2000.

Fortis acquired a 20% interest in Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd. (CUC) in March 2000, positioning the Corporation to take advantage of further growth in the Caribbean region. Fortis had a strong relationship with the management of CUC, providing them strategic input and advice for more than a decade.

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  • Fortis purchased the balance of its investment in CUC in 2006 and today holds an approximate 60% controlling interest
  • CUC operates the only public electric utility in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • The utility began operations in May 1966
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2002 saw a significant increase in Fortis’ investment in the Province of Ontario.

Fortis significantly expanded its presence in Ontario in 2002 with the creation of FortisOntario. In April, the distribution business of Port Colborne Hydro was added. Later that year, Fortis acquired the transmission and distribution business of Cornwall Electric and the remaining 50% ownership of Canadian Niagara Power.

  • Cornwall Electric has its roots in the Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power Company of 1902
  • By the end of 2002, Fortis Inc.’s investment in Ontario had quadrupled to $170 million
  • Fortis restructured its operations in Ontario to separate the generation and distribution businesses under FortisOntario
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In 2003, Fortis Inc. announced an agreement to purchase regulated electric utilities in British Columbia and Alberta.

In September 2003, Fortis entered into an agreement with Aquila, Inc. for the purchase of its regulated electric utilities in British Columbia and Alberta for $1.4 billion. The companies served more than 525,000 customers, primarily in Southern British Columbia and Southern and Central Alberta. This transaction met Fortis’ objectives of growth and diversification and added a significant presence in Western Canada.

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  • The acquisition closed in May 2004 and the new utilities were renamed FortisAlberta and FortisBC
  • FortisAlberta is a pure distribution utility using approximately 120,000 km of power lines
  • FortisBC is an integrated generation, transmission and distribution utility
  • FortisBC’s electricity arm began life as West Kootenay Power in 1897
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In 2006, Fortis added to its Caribbean interests with an acquisition in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

August 2006 saw the purchase of two electric utilities for approximately US$90 million. P.P.C. Limited and Atlantic Equipment and Power (Turks and Caicos) were collectively renamed FortisTCI. Turks and Caicos Utility Limited was added in August 2012. FortisTCI is the sole provider of electricity in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

  • FortisTCI generates and transmits electricity to 14,000 customers on the islands of Providenciales; North, Middle, East and South Caicos; Grand Turk and Salt Cay
  • The utility has a combined diesel-powered generating capacity of 82 megawatts and over 600 km of transmission and distribution lines
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Fortis significantly expanded its BC presence with the purchase of Terasen Gas for $3.7 billion.

Fortis announced an agreement with Kinder Morgan Inc. to buy Terasen Gas for $3.7 billion in February 2007. The utility was the principal gas distributor for British Columbia, serving over 900,000 customers or approximately 95% of gas users in that province. The acquisition closed in May 2007.

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  • The utility has its roots in a company called Inland Natural Gas, which was formed in 1952
  • Terasen Gas was renamed FortisBC Energy Inc. in 2011
  • The utility is the largest distributor of natural gas in British Columbia and owns and operates approximately 48,000 km of pipelines and two liquefied natural gas storage facilities
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Fortis first entered the U.S. regulated electric and gas distribution business in 2013 with the purchase of CH Energy Group for US$1.5 billion.

CH Energy Group is the parent company of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, a regulated transmission and distribution utility serving nearly 400,000 gas and electricity customers in the Mid-Hudson River Valley in New York State.

  • Central Hudson began life in 1900 with a group of citizens consolidating local electric companies
  • CH Energy Group became a public company in 2000
  • One of the first power stations created by Thomas Edison remains in use today as a Central Hudson substation
  • Central Hudson’s electric assets include 14,000 km of distribution lines and 968 km of transmission lines
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UNS Energy Corporation

Fortis made a significant investment in the U.S. regulated utility industry with the acquisition of UNS Energy in 2014.

In December 2013, Fortis Inc. announced an agreement to acquire UNS Energy (UNS) of Tucson, Arizona for US$4.3 billion. UNS is the parent company of regulated utility companies Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES), which provide gas and electricity services to customers in Tucson and Northern and Southern Arizona. The acquisition closed in August 2014.

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  • TEP grew out of a company started by citizens of Tucson in 1892
  • This acquisition brought the total number of customers served by Fortis to over 3 million
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In February 2016, Fortis announced the acquisition of ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent transmission utility in the United States. ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission operations in eight states. The US$11.8 billion acquisition closed in October 2016.

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Looking ahead to the future.

Today, Fortis looks back over its history with pride. From our earliest roots in Newfoundland, the hard work and vision of generations of men and women have brought us to a position of international leadership today. As we look ahead to the future, we see abundant opportunities to continue on our path of growth and excellence.

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