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Cornerstone Hydro Electric Concepts

John Walsh, Chair of CHEC Board, to Retire

March 31, 2021

Long-time President and CEO, John Walsh, retiring from Rideau St. Lawrence

After a 32-year career in the organization he helped form, John Walsh to retire in early summer.

Prescott, Ontario March 10, 2021 – For Immediate Release

The Board of Directors for Rideau St. Lawrence Distribution today announced that the company’s President and CEO, John Walsh, has decided to retire in the early summer of 2021. The Board has begun the process of finding his replacement and will make an announcement when the new position has been confirmed.

Walsh has served in his role for 32 years and was the original President and CEO when the utility was formed in 2000. He began the position with the significant task of incorporating and creating the electricity distribution company following the de-regulation of the industry during that year. His steady leadership oversaw the implementation of Smart metering; participation in the CHEC organization, a collaborative organization of small locally minded distribution companies in Ontario; and the sustained, successful operation of a profitable, community-oriented utility during a time when there was a substantial reduction in the number of distribution companies in the province due to mergers and acquisitions.

“Walsh has a deep understanding of the industry and of the regional culture,” said Scott Bryce, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Combine that with his unflappable leadership and his facility to get along with people whether they are shareholders, staff, or part of the industry at large, and he was a key reason we were able to retain a profitable, reliable electricity distribution company in our community.”

There has been significant change in the industry since the utility began and Walsh used collaboration as a way to ensure the utility was able to maintain reasonable rates while effectively adapting to change and embracing new technologies. The collaborative organizations included CHEC and one of the utility’s owners, FortisOntario Inc., whose experience and knowledge helped considerably in the early days of the organization when four utilities merged into a single entity. Walsh credits their small size and his hard-working staff for the utility’s ability to remain nimble and adapt to the industry as it changed.  

“We did well during the evolution of the industry,” said Walsh. “The company has done well keeping rates where they are, and keeping our customers and our shareholders happy.”

Walsh has always lived in the communities serviced by Rideau St. Lawrence, and believed in the role of the utility in helping the community grow. “As a municipally owned utility, we are embedded in the community and that has always been important to us. I’ve worked with a lot of great people and got to work on some amazing projects. I want to thank the people of Prescott and the surrounding communities, our exceptional staff, and the Board for their trust in me and giving me the latitude to do what needed to be done to be successful.”

Rideau St. Lawrence (RSL) is a locally-owned and operated electricity distributor that serves approximately 6,000 customers located in the Villages of Cardinal, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Westport, Williamsburg and the Town of Prescott. The corporation is owned by four municipal shareholders, the Township of South Dundas, the Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, The Village of Westport, the Town of Prescott and FortisOntario. It provides dependable utility services governed by and for the benefit of their customers in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. RSL is committed to their customers, community and shareholders and are interested in hearing any comments, suggestions or concerns you may have, or how they can serve you better. Visit to learn more.