Four years ago, a fire tore through the 123-year-old cheese manufacturer known worldwide for its gourmet products, including its cheese curds that top the area’s famous poutine.
While the business was rebuilt a year later, this time larger than ever before and with more production capacity, St- Albert was not able to grow as much as it could. One impediment was the availability of electricity.
In rural parts of the province, there is often a single distribution line and one transformer to serve businesses in the area. As the local electricity distributor, Hydro One offered St-Albert a solution to connect the co-operative with a second distribution line. The co-operative felt the option was not economical and subsequently shelved the idea, until further review.
Fast forward to 2017. Seeing how expansion was needed now more than ever, the local MPP for the area, Grant Crack, Glengarry-Prescott-Russel, stepped forward with a notion.
“There have been some significant customer service changes at Hydro One since they were privatized and I thought that maybe the company would be more willing to find an innovative solution to help St-Albert Cheese Co-operative,” said Crack.
Through Crack’s efforts, the co-operative and Hydro One went back to the table to find a solution everyone could benefit from. What came about was that not only has Hydro One found an innovative, answer to bring in additional power to St-Albert’s, we are now working with the co-operative to find a long-term solution to help further grow their business.
“Hydro One is fundamentally changing the way in which we operate to put our customers first,” said Ferio Pugliese, Executive Vice President, Customer Care and Corporate Affairs. “The availability of power is a major factor for growth and expansion of businesses in the province. We need to be flexible to find innovative solutions to help Ontario communities and businesses grow and expand.”
St-Albert’s couldn’t be happier.
“This announcement, which confirmed that we will now have access to an additional 500 amps of power, will most definitely help us continue our growth and it will enable us to invest for the future,” said Éric Lafontaine, General Manager, St-Albert Cheese Co-operative.
“As a publicly-traded company, Hydro One has brought forward significant changes in the way it interacts with its 1.3 million customers – both residential and commercial,” said Glenn Thibeault, Ontario Minister of Energy. “I applaud Hydro One’s commitment to providing innovative solutions to help ensure the ongoing success of customers like St-Albert Cheese. Businesses like St-Albert are cornerstones of communities across the province, and I’m looking forward to seeing more stories like this in the future.”