In mid-December, ATCO Electric began the year-long process of renewing its franchise agreement with the Town of Drumheller. The first step? A presentation to Town Council introducing the nuts and bolts of the agreement.

Allan Gano is the East Central District Manager at ATCO Electric.

"We have a franchise agreement," he explained to 99.5 Drum FM. "What the franchise agreement allows is, is that it allows ATCO Electric to own and operate the wires and meters in the community. We'd like to renew that for 10 years and we [were at] Council asking if that's something that they're interested in."

The current agreement expires in Nov. 2018. Ten year agreements allow for steady revenue for the Town and provide stability to ATCO.

"It's a license to operate the wires and poles in the community," said Gano. "To ATCO, it gives us stability, that we know we're going to be here for the next term of the agreement."

So what does the Town get out of this agreement?

"We're billing the residents of Drumheller for that service. The community, the Town of Drumheller, has an opportunity to also collect a little bit of money, as a franchise fee, and those amounts are also set by the Town."

The previous agreement saw Drumheller receiving a franchise agreement fee of nine per cent. Other communities in the area have similar franchise fees: Three Hills and Forestburg receive a nine per cent fee, while Hanna Town Council recently voted to increase their franchise fee to 7.5 per cent.

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