FortisOntario to Acquire Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc.

06/23/2009 10:27 EST

ST. JOHN'S, NL (June 23, 2009):

FortisOntario to Acquire Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc.

Fortis Inc. (“Fortis” or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS) announced today that FortisOntario Inc. (“FortisOntario”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporation, has entered into an agreement with Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. (“Brookfield”) to purchase all of the issued and outstanding shares of Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $68 million, subject to adjustment.

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Ontario Energy Board and Competition Act approval.

Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc. serves approximately 12,000 customers located in the district of Algoma in northern Ontario.  Its assets include more than 1,800 kilometers of distribution lines in an area that covers approximately 14,200 square kilometers, which is more than double the size of the Greater Toronto Area.  Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc. meets a peak load of approximately 40 megawatts and an annual energy requirement of 198 gigawatt hours.

“The acquisition of Great Lakes Power Distribution Inc. is an important step for Fortis in growing our utility assets in Ontario and is further evidence of the Corporation’s long-term commitment to the electric distribution sector in the province,” says Stan Marshall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortis. “This acquisition results in Fortis being the only investor‑owned electric distribution utility in Ontario,” he says.

“This acquisition expands FortisOntario’s presence into northern Ontario and represents a good strategic fit with our existing electricity distribution operations in Ontario.  We look forward to providing safe and reliable distribution services to our new customers in the district of Algoma,” adds Bill Daley, President and Chief Executive Officer of FortisOntario. 

Fortis is the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada.  With total assets approaching $12 billion and annual revenues totalling $3.9 billion, Fortis serves more than 2,000,000 gas and electricity customers.  Its regulated holdings include electric distribution utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries and a natural gas utility in British Columbia.  Fortis owns and operates non‑regulated generation assets across Canada and in Belize and Upper New York State.  It also owns hotels and commercial real estate across Canada.  Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS.  Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.

Fortis may include forward-looking information in this media release within the meaning of applicable securities laws in Canada (“forward-looking information”).  The purpose of forward‑looking information is to provide management’s expectations regarding the Corporation’s future growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities and may not be appropriate for other purposes.  All forward‑looking information is given pursuant to the “safe harbour” provisions of applicable Canadian securities legislation.  The words "anticipates", "believes", "could", "estimates", "expects", "forecasts", "intends", "may", "might", "plans", "projects", "schedule", "should", "will", "would" and similar expressions are often intended to identify forward-looking information, although not all forward-looking information contains these identifying words. The forward-looking information reflects management's current beliefs and is based on information currently available to the Corporation's management. The forecasts and projections that make up the forward looking information are based on assumptions which include, but are not limited to: the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and requested rate orders; no significant operational disruptions or environmental liability due to a catastrophic event or environmental upset caused by severe weather, other acts of nature or other major event; the continued ability to maintain the gas and electricity systems to ensure their continued performance; no significant decline in capital spending in 2009; no severe and prolonged downturn in economic conditions; sufficient liquidity and capital resources; the continuation of regulator-approved mechanisms to flow through the commodity cost of natural gas and energy supply costs in customer rates; the continued ability to hedge exposures to fluctuations in interest rates, foreign exchange rates and natural gas commodity prices; no significant variability in interest rates; no significant counterparty defaults; the continued competitiveness of natural gas pricing when compared with electricity and other alternative sources of energy; the continued availability of natural gas supply; the continued ability to fund defined benefit pension plans; the absence of significant changes in government energy plans and environmental laws that may materially affect the operations and cash flows of the Corporation and its subsidiaries; maintenance of adequate insurance coverage; the ability to obtain and maintain licences and permits; retention of existing service areas; no material decrease in market energy sales prices; favourable relations with First Nations; favourable labour relations; and sufficient human resources to deliver service and execute the capital program.  The forward-looking information is subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or results anticipated by the forward-looking information.  Factors which could cause results or events to differ from current expectations include, but are not limited to: regulatory risk; operating and maintenance risks; economic conditions; capital resources and liquidity risk; weather and seasonality; an ultimate resolution of the expropriation of the assets of the Exploits River Hydro Partnership that differs from what is currently expected by management; commodity price risk; derivative financial instruments and hedging; interest rate risk; counterparty risk; competitiveness of natural gas; natural gas supply; defined benefit pension plan performance and funding requirements; risks related to the development of the Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc. franchise; the Government of British Columbia’s Energy Plan; environmental risks; insurance coverage risk; an unexpected outcome of legal proceedings currently against the Corporation; licences and permits; loss of service area; market energy sales prices; transition to International Financial Reporting Standards; changes in tax legislation; First Nations’ lands; labour relations; and human resources. For additional information with respect to the Corporation’s risk factors, reference should be made to the continuous disclosure materials filed by the Corporation from time to time with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and to the heading “Business Risk Management” in the Management Discussion and Analysis for the three months ended March 31, 2009 and for the year ended December 31, 2008.

All forward-looking information in this media release is qualified in its entirety by the above cautionary statements and, except as required by law, the Corporation undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking information as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For analysts and investor inquiries: Fortis Inc. Barry Perry Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer 709-737-2800 or For customer and general inquiries: FortisOntario Inc. Bill Daley President and Chief Executive Officer 905-994-3636

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