EQUS’s office move was growth related
The head of the rural power cooperative in southeast Alberta says moving its regional headquarters to Medicine Hat makes sense because of the economic outlook around the city and area it serves along Highway 3.
“We see this as a growth area,” said Glen Fox, board chair at EQUS, before a ribbon-cutting and barbecue for members.
“The (facility) will drive membership and that drives all of our costs down.”
The 10,000 square-foot shop and adjacent two-acre storage yard are located on Township Road 120, near the Rangeroad 61A turnoff. It opened in March.
“It’s a fantastic looking facility, and I know the growth is going to be there,” said Cypress County Reeve Richard Oster, who helped cut the ceremonial ribbon along with Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes.
He said the electrification association model offers options to rural power consumers, and such groups are increasingly important.
The company operates in 26 rural municipalities in Alberta.
Its southern region office is based in Claresholm, but the Medicine Hat shop replaces one in Bow Island, where the entity was located since a series of smaller REAs amalgamated in the 1990s. The resulting South Alta REA joined with other associations in Alberta to form EQUS in 2013.
Originally formed decades earlier to serve irrigators and farms, where lines were costly and considered a money loser by larger power companies, the group now has a mandate to offer commercial and acreage owners power service.
Trudi Alsgard, manager of the local shop, says power needs are growing, and along with more pivots on expanding irrigated acres, more rural dwellers are growing the business.
“Our service area isn’t changing, but the operating agreement allows us to grow,” she said.
EQUS handles construction and distribution of lines, and the ownermember model keeps costs low, said Alsgard.
The service area in the southeast stretches from Medicine Hat to Bow Island and from there south to the U.S. border in the county of Forty Mile.
Six former directors of Rural Electrification Associations in the region line up for a photo at the the opening of the new EQUS REA shop, located south of Medicine Hat, on Monday. Pictured are (right to left) Evert Vanderberg, Walter Genesis, Jack...