ATCO Ltd. is an Alberta based corporation with more than 7,000 employees operating across three main business divisions: Power Generation; Utilities (natural gas and electricity transmission and distribution) and Global Enterprises, with companies active in industrial manufacturing, technology, logistics and energy services.

ATCO Ltd. controls its operations through Canadian Utilities (). It owns 74% of Canadian Utilities' voting shares and 40% of non-voting shares. Canadian Utilities' registered head office is in Edmonton, and the main corporate office is in Calgary.

The ATCO Group of Companies includes the following subsidiaries:

  • ATCO Electric (delivers electricity in Alberta, the Yukon (as Yukon Electrical Company), and the Northwest Territories (as Northland Utilities)
  • ATCO Frontec (project management and technical/logistical services to NATO and other western mlitary operations in countries such as the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan)
  • ATCO Gas (delivers natural gas in Alberta)
  • ATCO I-Tek (information technology, billing, customer care)
  • ATCO Midstream (natural gas processing and storage)
  • ATCO Pipelines (transports natural gas throughout Alberta)
  • ATCO Power (electricity generation)
  • ATCO Structures (manufactures, leases, and sells modular buildings)
  • ATCO Travel (corporate and vacation travel services)
  • ATCO Noise Management (industrial noise-reduction services)


ATCO was founded in 1947, with matching cash investments by Ron Southern and his father S.D. Southern, under the name Alberta Trailer Hire, renting utility trailers in the Calgary area. As the company's operations grew, they also began to sell trailers, first becoming the Alberta Trailer Company, then ATCO. By the early 1960s, the company had operations across North America and in Australia.

ATCO Industries Ltd. became a public company in March 1968, with shares traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. During the 1970s, the company expanded into the natural gas and petroleum industries, and into the electricity industry in the 1980s.

In 2004, with the deregulation of the retail energy industry in Alberta, ATCO sold the retail operations of ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric to Direct Energy Marketing Ltd.; ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric still operate as "distributors" (owning and operating the infrastructure that delivers natural gas or electricity in its service territories) but are no longer in the retail market. As part of the sale to DEML, DEML contracted call center and billing services from ATCO I-Tek. This split between "retailer" and "distributor" has proved to be confusing to many Alberta consumers, many of whom have interpreted the change as meaning that Direct Energy now owns ATCO.


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