HYDRO OTTAWA: TEAMWORK KEY TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 24
LONDON HYDRO: L2L A FINALIST IN POWER FORWARD CHALLENGE 22
Agreement #: 43526108
Elevating the industry by celebrating the best in the sector 8
EDIST 20: The Call for Papers is Now Open ///26
London Hydro: Powering Forward Challenge Top Finalist ///22
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6 News from the LDC Sector
8 Celebrating LDC Excellence 10 Minister of Energy Gives Keynote Address 11 Celebrating the Best in the Sector 11 Ray Tracey: Chair’s Citation Award 13 Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro: LDC Performance Excellence Award 16 Seven LDCs Honoured
ADVOCACY IN ACTION 18 EDA White Paper Dives Deeper into Regulatory Reform 18 PoLH Reboot 18 ETNO Report on Structural Options in a High-DER Future 19 EDA Shares Distributors Perspectives on Industrial Pricing 20 EDA Provides Input of Regional Government Review 20 IESO’s Market Renewal: Making the Business Case
ASK THE EXPERT
22 Why should LDCs explore non-regulated investment opportunities?
LDC INNOVATORS 24 London Hydro: Finalist in the Power Forward Challenge
26 Hydro Ottawa: Emergency Preparedness
CONNECT EVENTS 27 Women Connected 2019: Women to the Power of X
27 ENERCOM 2019: Breaking Barriers 28 EDIST 20: Call for Papers 31 EBIC 2019: October 22 32 CON::NECT Event Series Calendar www.eda.on.ca
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) publishes The Distributor for its members and stakeholders. All rights to editorial content are reserved by the EDA. No article can be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the EDA.
PUBLISHED Summer 2019 FOR: Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) 3700 Steeles Avenue West, Suite 1100 Vaughan, ON L4L 8K8 www.eda-on.ca
EDA STAFF CEO’S OFFICE Teresa Sarkesian, President and CEO Kristina Macura, Executive and Administrative Assistant
POLICY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Justin Rangooni, Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs Kathi Farmer, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor Jesse Kulendran, Senior Policy Advisor Lynn Williams, Senior Policy Advisor Derek Nardone, Manager, Corporate and Government Affairs Brendan McClughan, Policy and Government Affairs Specialist
CORPORATE AND MEMBER AFFAIRS Ted Wigdor, Vice President, Corporate and Member Affairs Marica Macura, Director, Member Relations and Events Sari Maritzer, Communications Specialist Dianna Merlocco, Events Specialist Lesia Kostecki, Marketing and Member Relations Specialist
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Tamara Orlova, Director, Finance and Administration Arlene Klemmer, Accounting Clerk Matthews Joseph, Senior IT Analyst Lina Parisi, Receptionist
DOVETAIL Communications 30 East Beaver Creek, Suite 202 Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1J2 Tel. 905.886.6640 | www.dvtail.com Advertising inquiries, Beth Kukkonen, email@example.com Editorial inquiries, Andrea Ritter, firstname.lastname@example.org Please return undeliverable copies to: Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) 3700 Steeles Avenue West, Suite 1100, Vaughan, ON L4L 8K8 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 43526108
While many businesses see a somewhat slower pace over the summer, the EDA remains very active on several fronts. The team has been hard at work addressing current policy issues, planning our next set of events and developing initiatives that advance our strategic priorities. In April, I was very pleased to join with the EDA leadership team and my fellow board members for a two-day facilitated retreat. The sessions gave us the opportunity to establish key strategic priorities for the EDA over the next few years. Our main objective was to determine how best to enhance the profile of our sector, strengthen our advocacy efforts and build member engagement. One initiative we are undertaking immediately is a refresh of our successful Power of Local Hydro campaign. Our messages about the importance of local hydro will remain the same, but we will be working to enhance the profile of our sector and to align our outreach more closely with current government priorities. Stay tuned for more details this fall, including how your LDC can get involved. Highlighting excellence in the LDC sector is one important way to elevate our public profile. That is why this edition of The Distributor focuses on this year’s EDA Award winners and their outstanding initiatives. I was honoured to host this year’s Awards Gala and to celebrate the outstanding achievements of peers. The quality of the work submitted for consideration this year shows that Ontario’s LDCs are proactive, innovative and consistently working hard for their customers. On behalf of the EDA, especially our Membership and Awards Committee, I thank all the LDCs that submitted nominations to this year’s program and encourage more submissions for 2020. Speaking of submissions, the call for papers is open for our Electricity, Distribution, Information Systems & Technology (EDIST) Conference and Exhibition in January. If you would like to submit an abstract, see the information on Page 26 in this issue, or visit eda-on.ca for complete details. Registration is also open now for our Energy Business Innovation Conference (EBIC), coming up in October. As our sector continues to evolve rapidly, LDCs do not want to sit back while decisions are made and policies are implemented. We want to make sure LDCs are at the forefront of Ontario’s energy future. Through the EDA, we are in an excellent position to make our voice heard. Sincerely,
Gerry Smallegange President and CEO, Burlington Hydro
Every community needs an ally IN
We’re proud to be the first utility in Ontario to receive the Caring Company designation from Imagine Canada in recognition of our excellence and leadership in corporate social responsibility.
I N E
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Through our AlectraCARES Community Support Program, we fund not-for-profit organizations in our service area to help foster healthy, diverse and sustainable communities. Learn more at alectrautilities.com/AlectraCARES
SECTOR SCAN Appointment: Justin Allen, Ottawa River Power
The EDA is pleased to congratulate Justin Allen on his recent appointment as President and CEO of Ottawa River Power Corporation. Justin first joined Ottawa River Power in 2008. Since then he has taken on progressively senior roles in IT, engineering and client services. He now brings his extensive experience in energy distribution, management, innovation, corporate governance and business development to the utility’s top leadership role.
EDA Vice Chair Joins ESA Board of Directors
Members Hear Detailed Updates, Plans at EDA AGM
In March, LDC members had the opportunity to attend the EDA’s annual business meeting, part of our two-day Annual General Meeting in Toronto. Members received the EDA’s annual report and financials in advance of the meeting. Past Chair Brian Wilkie delivered a detailed overview of EDA activities accomplished throughout his 2018 mandate. The EDA’s President and CEO, Teresa Sarkesian, spoke about next steps and strategies for the year ahead. Members can download the EDA’s 2018 Annual Report at eda-on.ca.
The EDA congratulates Ysni Semsedini, CEO, Festival Hydro, and Vice Chair of the EDA Board, on his appointment to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). The ESA is an administrative authority mandated by the Government of Ontario to enhance public electrical safety in the province. As a licensed professional engineer with more than 15 years of experience in the electricity industry, Ysni brings a wealth of expertise to the 12-member ESA board.
EDA Congratulates Award-winning LDCs
• Energy+ earned The Spirit of Cambridge Award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce for outstanding corporate leadership, social responsibility and local community building. •Smart 50 Awards, in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and US Ignite, recognized Alectra Utilities’ Advantage Power Pricing program as one of the world’s most transformative and influential smart cities projects. •Hydro Ottawa was named as one of United Way Ottawa’s Community Builders of the Year for outstanding power
restoration work following last year’s spring ice storm and fall tornadoes. • Hydro Ottawa landed an International Association of Business Communicators Gold Quill Award for its highly successful campaign that incented customers to “Go Paperless” by donating $5 to Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ottawa for every sign-up for paperless billing. •The Canadian Electricity Association showcased projects by Alectra, Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa, London Hydro, Oakville Hydro and Utilities Kingston as part of its 2019 Centre of Excellence
Appointment: Keith McAllister, Wasaga Distribution
Appointment: Lesley Gallinger, Elexicon Energy
The EDA extends congratulations to Keith McAllister on his appointment as CEO of Wasaga Distribution Inc. Keith served previously as Vice President, Engineering and Operations, with Entegrus Powerlines and as President and CEO of Orillia Power.
The EDA congratulates Lesley Gallinger on her appointment as President and CEO of Elexicon Energy, the new company formed following the merger between Veridian Connections and Whitby Hydro Electric Corporation in 2018. Lesley joins Elexicon with extensive experience in strategic leadership, corporate governance and enterprise risk management. Before taking on her new role, Lesley was Chief Strategy and Financial Officer for the Electrical Safety Authority and also has worked for Oakville Hydro.
his spring, more than 400 EDA members and guests came together once again at the historic FairmontRoyal York in downtown Toronto to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of local electricity distribution companies (LDCs) in Ontario at our annual Awards Gala. The evening opened with a cocktail reception, where attendees had the opportunity to network with peers and vendors in the exhibit hall. Guests then enjoyed dinner and a keynote address from the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development & Mines, followed by the highly anticipated awards ceremony. The
celebration continued with live music, a fun photo booth and dancing in the DX Lounge. Award programs serve several purposes in the corporate world. They reinforce the image of an organization among key stakeholders, customers and even employees. Recognition by peers — those who know and understand the unique business challenges and opportunities within a given sector — can be especially meaningful. “Throughout the province, LDCs tend to be well known but not necessarily known well within the communities they serve,” said EDA President and CEO Teresa Sarkesian. “We want customers and decisionmakers to learn more about extraordinary LDC efforts to develop innovative programs and services that enhance affordability, reliability, safety and efficiency.” That is one of the reasons why the EDA created a comprehensive awards program in 2001. Since then, the annual EDA Awards ceremony has remained the premier recognition of excellence in Ontario’s electricity distribution sector. Recognizing high-performing local hydro utilities for innovative achievements and business success helps to advance the public profile of LDCs. It also serves to inspire and elevate the entire industry. Each year, LDC members are invited to submit nominations outlining their award-worthy programs in a range of categories. The EDA Membership and Awards Committee reviews all nominations and recommends winners in each of the defined categories for approval by the Board of Directors. Winners remain confidential until the annual Awards Gala, following the Annual General Meeting. The highly anticipated Gala is where EDA members get together to celebrate the success of their peers and inspire each other by example. THE DISTRIBUTOR
IN 2019, THE EDA RECEIVED EXCEPTIONAL NOMINATIONS IN NINE CATEGORIES: Chair’s Citation
The EDA Chair’s Citation is awarded to a board member, leader or employee of an LDC who has demonstrated outstanding, longtime dedicated service to the EDA and the electricity distribution sector. The Chair’s Citation is presented in memory of Dr. Robert H. Hay who, through over 30 years of service, showed tireless dedication, leadership and an outstanding commitment to the association and the electricity industry at large.
EDA Conservation Leadership Excellence Award SPONSORED BY
EDA Environmental Excellence Award
This award recognizes a member LDC for outstanding efforts in protecting and improving the environment. The award goes to an LDC that demonstrates short- and long-term environmental benefits, environmental stewardship, economic benefit and innovation.
EDA Communication Excellence Award
This award goes to an LDC that has demonstrated excellence in informing customers about programs and services provided by the utility. Success is measured by how well the utility’s communications have influenced and enhanced customer uptake of programs and services.
EDA Public Relations Excellence Award SPONORED BY Introduced in 2013, this award recognizes an LDC that has demonstrated leadership in conservation and demand management, with particular consideration for the creation of new programs, innovative program delivery, exceptional results and community and industry leadership in conservation.
EDA Public Electrical Safety Excellence Award SPONSORED BY
This award recognizes an LDC for the creation and successful delivery of programs that teach important electrical safety lessons to students in schools and people of all ages throughout the community.
This award goes to an LDC that has demonstrated excellence in reaching out to the broader community, via traditional and/or social media, to inform the public about utilities and the many ways in which they enhance prosperity and quality of life for all Ontarians.
EDA Customer Service Excellence Award
This award goes to an LDC that has demonstrated excellence in delivering measurable value and exceptional experiences to customers. Selection considerations include the percentage of customers benefitting, partnerships leveraged and performance or customer satisfaction.
LDC Performance Excellence Award SPONSORED BY
EDA Innovation Excellence Award
This award recognizes an LDC that has leveraged innovative technologies and business processes to create value and enhance the customer experience. Awardees in this category have demonstrated measurable customer value through the successful delivery of an original, practical concept with broad applicability to the sector. www.eda.on.ca
This award represents the highest honour for an LDC in Ontario. The award is presented to an LDC member company that has distinguished itself for performance excellence in the areas of occupational health and safety, operations, finance and contributions to the community.
MINISTER OF ENERGY
CONGRATULATES LDCS IN KEYNOTE “We share a commitment with EDA to reduce energy waste . . . I ask each and every one of you to partner with us to restore confidence in the energy sector.” — Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Indigenous Affairs
he EDA was pleased to welcome the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Indigenous Affairs, as keynote speaker at the 2019 Awards Gala. The event marked the minister’s first address to the EDA membership. After congratulating all award winners, the minister focused his remarks on swift changes made by his government to enhance affordability and efficiency in the energy sector. The address came just days after the government’s introduction of Bill 87, which shifted conservation programs from the purview of LDCs to centralized delivery through the
Independent Electricity System Operator. In his remarks, the minister acknowledged that LDCs would be impacted by the change but stated it was part of his government’s efforts to “restore the public’s confidence in the energy sector.” He noted it was one of many swift moves aimed at making Ontario’s energy system more affordable, including leadership changes at Hydro One, ending renewable energy contracts and repealing the Green Energy Act. In a press release immediately following the government announcement regarding Bill 87, the EDA expressed concern that the change could mean less value for customers. At the same time, following extensive advocacy for regulatory reform, the EDA was pleased to see Bill 87 include commitments to modernize the structure and mandate of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). “LDCs have been frustrated by regulatory requirements,” Minister Rickford told Gala guests. “Please have the same confidence that Premier Ford has placed in me to cut red tape and eliminate the need for thousand-page submissions to the OEB.” As the MPP for Kenora–Rainy River, Minister Rickford took the opportunity to make special mention of Dave Sinclair, a past chair of the EDA and long-serving CEO of Kenora Hydro until his retirement following the company’s merger with Thunder Bay Hydro to form Synergy North. The minister thanked Dave for his many years of service to the sector and the region. The minister closed by thanking all LDCs for their contributions to Ontario. “We share a commitment with EDA to reduce energy waste,” he said. “I ask each and every one of you to partner with us to restore confidence in the energy sector. I thank you for your contributions and look forward to working with you.” THE DISTRIBUTOR
CELEBRATING THE BEST IN THE SECTOR
his year’s EDA Awards Gala was another exceptional evening of celebration, as the EDA honoured topperforming LDC members. “Ontario’s electricity utilities are proactive, innovative and consistently working hard for their customers,” said Gerry Smallegange, President and CEO of Burlington Hydro and Chair of the EDA, who hosted the ceremony. “Our annual awards program is our opportunity to recognize members of our LDC community for their extraordinary and inspiring achievements.” The annual awards program provides opportunities for LDCs to be recognized for their key accomplishments, landmark customer programs, innovations and best practices in the electricity sector. Award nominations were open to all EDA LDC members in the fall of 2018. Final winners were selected by the EDA’s Membership and Awards Committee. This year, awards were presented in one individual and eight corporate categories.
RAY TRACEY EARNS
CHAIR’S CITATION FOR LONGTIME SERVICE
he 2018 Chair’s Citation Award went to Ray Tracey, President and CEO, Essex Powerlines Corporation, for outstanding longtime service to the EDA, the electricity industry and his local community. As president and CEO, Ray is responsible for the development and integration of Essex Power Corporation and its three subsidiaries: Essex Powerlines, Essex Power Services and Essex Energy. Through more than three decades in the sector, Ray also has dedicated his time and energy to ensuring the voice of LDCs would be heard by decisionmakers on critical issues that impact the sector. Ray is a past board member and chair of the EDA Board of Directors and a past chair of the EDA’s Western District. He also served on the IESO Smart Grid Forum and was appointed to the EDA Industry Environment Council to provide feedback for LDCs on emerging policy issues and draft submissions. Ray is also a past chair of Utilismart Corporation’s Board of Directors, co-chair of the Retail Settlement Code Committee, and served on the Market Ready Task Force representing Essex Power in Electricity Market Retail Testing for the Province of Ontario. Ray served two terms as the Distributor Representative to the Technical Panel of the IESO. In an impassioned acceptance speech, Ray urged Energy Minister Greg Rickford to recognize the expertise within the LDC sector and to hear the input of its leaders on critical issues. He expressed heartfelt gratitude to his peers for the award and for what he called the privilege of serving the sector over the past three decades. Congratulations, Ray!
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TOP HONOURS: KITCHENER-WILMOT HYDRO EARNS LDC PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE AWARD
he most prestigious award of the evening, sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, went to KitchenerWilmot Hydro, which also won the 2018 IHSA President’s Award for one million hours worked with no lost time due to injuries, as well as Canada’s Safest Employers
Award in Utilities Electrical and Wellness. The company also achieved 94.9% of its energy savings target and saw heightened customer satisfaction results last year. The EDA proudly congratulates all award winners and nominees. Watch for the call for nomination for the 2019 EDA Awards, coming this fall.
L-R: John Finch, Jerry Van Ooteghem, Wilf Meston, George Minow
SEVEN LDCS HONOURED IN EIGHT CORPORATE CATEGORIES
Communications Excellence Award
Lakeland Power was honoured for its outreach to customers through a previously unexplored social media channel. The communication initiative increased customer engagement and provided an enhanced service experience.
Conservation Leadership Excellence Award
Sponsored by the Independent Electricity System Operator, this award went to Ottawa River Power, where a single dedicated staffer responsible for conservation program
Customer Service Excellence
This award went to Cambridge-based Energy+ for creating a program that provided customers with an enhanced service experience and timely access and updates on outages on all communication channels.
delivery worked closely with customers to help them reduce their bills, while propelling Ottawa River Power to 98.2% of its electricity reduction target. THE DISTRIBUTOR
Environmental Excellence Award
Oakville Hydro earned this year’s prize for outstanding efforts to help customers reduce their carbon footprint through conservation and demand management programs.
Public Electrical Safety Excellence Award
Sponsored by the Electrical Safety Authority, this year’s honour went to Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, which partnered with 31 other utilities to develop electrical safety awareness videos to help educate customers.
Public Relations Excellence Award Innovation Excellence Award
Stratford’s Festival Hydro took home this award for constructing and launching six groundbreaking innovation initiatives in 2018. www.eda.on.ca
Sponsored by NATIONAL Public Relations, the award went to Hydro Ottawa for its robust crisis communication plan. The plan was called into action in a big way in 2018 when six tornadoes caused catastrophic damage that left hundreds of thousands of capital-region customers without power.
ADVOCACY IN ACTION
EDA WHITE PAPER DIVES DEEPER INTO REGULATORY REFORM While the Ontario legislature is on hiatus until late October, the EDA is getting a head start on shaping conversations around energy policy, particularly in the areas of red tape reduction and regulatory streamlining. With substantial input from our Councils and LDC members, the EDA is publishing a new white paper that offers recommendations aimed at easing the day-to-day burden for LDCs. Thanks to previous EDA advocacy around the structure and mandate of the regulator, the Government of Ontario has committed to substantial changes at the Ontario Energy Board. This new white paper dives deeper, calling for streamlining of reporting requirements, rate applications, intervenor reform, the MAADs process and other LDC obligations.
While we continue to keep a close watch on the government’s pursuit of further bill reductions, industrial rate consultations and regulatory modernization, the EDA is also looking at ways to elevate the profile of the LDC sector in the eyes of government and the public. The recent cabinet shuffle opened up new opportunities for the EDA to articulate a vision of the sector that will help decisionmakers understand fully the significant value LDCs provide to customers and to the province. To advance this goal, we are undertaking a refresh of our Power of Local Hydro campaign, which proved highly successful in positioning, promoting and protecting the LDC sector throughout the 2018 election cycle. One year later, we need to be aligned with the government’s current priorities to ensure the voice of the LDC sector is heard. The Power of Local Hydro brand will remain consistent, but new messaging will focus on the value distributors contribute to customers and communities. The team will be looking to all LDCs for success stories, customer testimonials and ongoing support for this important government and public relations campaign.
At this year’s IESO Summit in June, a new Energy Transformation Network of Ontario (ETNO) report on “Structural Options for Ontario’s Electricity System in a High-DER Future Background” was front and centre in a panel session, Structural Models for an Evolving Distribution System. The panel explored various viewpoints on emerging and evolving roles and responsibilities at the distribution level, given the rapid proliferation of distributed energy resources (DERs). Following is the EDA’s summary and analysis of the ETNO report: The report explores many questions arising from increased penetration of DERs. Much of the narrative promises that DERs will deliver benefits to consumers and the electricity system, including greater choice, improved resilience and flexibility, increased competition and deferral or avoidance of costs associated with large-scale infrastructure development. Ontario is seeing rapid expansion of DERs, including small-scale generation, storage and demand response. More than 4,000 megawatts (MW) of DERs have been contracted or installed over the past decade. With DER deployment expected to escalate in the coming years, there is risk that such growth could adversely affect system reliability and raise costs for consumers. Ontario’s electricity system was not set up to accommodate thousands of DERs. In fact, the system was established at a time when just a few large-scale generating facilities met the province’s electricity needs. Integrating DERs into Ontario’s electricity system in a way that maximizes benefits and minimizes negative impacts to consumers will require careful coordination and clarity around roles and responsibilities. Among ETNO members, there is broad consensus that system reliability, affordability, competition and consumer choice should be primary objectives. Moreover, members agree that open standards for connecting DERs to the distribution system and open access to DER markets remain essential to the prevention of artificial monopolies that undermine consumer value. While some organizations, including the EDA, continue to advocate successfully for the transition of LDCs to fully integrated network orchestrators (FINOs), regulated and non-regulated groups differ sharply on the merits of this approach. The report suggests this model could be a stepping stone to establishing a distribution-level DER market.
Stay tuned for more details on Power of Local Hydro 2.0 this fall.
For more information, contact Lynn Williams, Senior Policy Advisor, at (905) 265-5334.
The EDA thanks all members who contributed ideas and recommendations. Watch for more details on government relations efforts around this portfolio later this summer and into the fall.
POWER OF LOCAL HYDRO: THE REBOOT
EDA REVIEW: ETNO REPORT ON STRUCTURAL OPTIONS IN A HIGH-DER FUTURE
ADVOCACY IN ACTION
EDA SHARES DISTRIBUTORS’ PERSPECTIVES ON INDUSTRIAL PRICING In the spring, as part of its efforts to examine electricity system, regulatory and delivery costs, the Government of Ontario called for input from businesses on industrial electricity pricing and programs. In response to the call for consultations, the EDA provided a submission to the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on electricity prices for industrial customers. More than 30 per cent of the EDA’s members serve large loads, including industrial entities. EDA members want their customers to feel confident that the electricity supply and services provided by LDCs are priced fairly. The sector is keenly aware that electricity prices for industrial customers impact ongoing economic viability and economic activity in the communities they serve. The ministry put forward nine questions on topics ranging from the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) and rate mitigation programs to pricing structures and market design. The EDA’s responses reflected members’ range of experiences, including working with retailers, administering the ICI and www.eda.on.ca
providing Conservation and Demand Management (CDM). Overall, EDA members are looking for a pricing regime that minimizes requirements for significant changes to LDC systems, offers opportunities to enhance economic development but also ensures fairness and equity for all customers. The EDA’s submission urged the government to be clear about the expected outcome of any proposed program or program change. The submission also noted that improvements in price signals and mitigation of acknowledged market inefficiencies proposed in the IESO’s Market Renewal Program would benefit electricity consumers.
View the EDA’s full submission to the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on Industrial Electricity Prices at eda-on.ca. For more information, contact Kathi Farmer, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor, at (905) 265-5333.
ADVOCACY IN ACTION
EDA PROVIDES INPUT ON REGIONAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW
IESO’S MARKET RENEWAL: MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE
In late spring, EDA Chair Gerry Smallegange and EDA President & CEO Teresa Sarkesian appeared before the Regional Government Review (RGR) panel, which resulted in an extensive Q&A period with panel members. Many LDCs and their shareholders are watching developments around the RGR with great interest, since regional realignment could impact their business substantially. The government is undertaking the review in an effort to maximize efficiency and effectiveness among upper- and lower-tier municipalities. The review covers the regions of Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York and Simcoe County. In total, 82 municipalities are included in the review. Speculation abounds on the direction the province will take with the RGR. One emerging option is expansion of current municipal boundaries to create new or larger regions. This type of change could result in better coordination of services among neighbouring jurisdictions, but it could also lead to redrawing of political boundaries and reallocation of assets. The RGR report is expected to land on the desk of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing this summer. Minister Steve Clark is expected to offer some indication of outcomes and policy direction at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in August. Members of the EDA team will be at the conference and will report back to the membership. The full legislative rollout will follow when the house resumes in October.
In 2017, the IESO commissioned Brattle Group to produce a Market Renewal Program (MRP) Benefits Case. Brattle’s work identified savings (or avoided costs) between $2.5- and $5.5-billion over the first 10 years of the MRP. The bulk of these benefits were anticipated to be derived from the Incremental Capacity Auction. The IESO is now taking steps to augment the Benefits Case with costs in order to render it as a Business Case. In May, the EDA provided comments on the information and guidance that LDCs would need in order to identify and quantify their costs of implementing the MRP. In this feedback, the EDA noted some important points: 1. t hat the IESO had not scoped the presentation of the data (e.g., whether cash accounting or present value data was to be provided); 1. t hat the High-Level Design documents made available to LDCs were not designed to support LDCs in completing this deliverable; and 1. t hat the IESO had provided a compressed timeline for responses. The Ontario Energy Board is currently processing the IESO’s 2019 Revenue Requirement. The MRP Business Case may be entered into the record of that application. The MRP represents a significant portion of the IESO’s expenditures in 2019. The EDA continues to monitor the development of the MRP Business Case and the IESO’s plan to engage its Board of Directors. The association is continuing to provide regular MRP updates, exclusively for LDC members. LDC members can log into eda-on.ca to view a report and analysis of the IESO Business Case from the distributor perspective in Volume 21 of the EDA’s MRP Update.
For ongoing updates on EDA advocacy activities, consultations and submissions, visit eda-on.ca.
For more information, contact Justin Rangooni, Vice President, Policy & Government Affairs, at (905) 265-5325.
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WHY SHOULD LDCS EXPLORE NON-REGULATED INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES?
ASK THE EXPERT
“At a time when government regulation continues to tighten regulated returns, non-regulated investments are an excellent way for municipalities to get more out of their LDCs.” —B rent Jackson, Director Grant Thornton LLP Power & Utilities
n a regulated electricity sector, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) to achieve their strategic objectives by focusing on energy distribution alone. Here, experts from the Grant Thornton LLP Power & Utilities sector team—Brent Jackson, Director; Troy MacDonald, National Leader; and Ricky Soni, Director—explore how investments in non-regulated opportunities can help LDCs enhance both their respective communities and their bottom lines.
Q: Why is it important for municipalities to consider non-regulated opportunities and why, in many cases, are LDCs best suited to be involved? Brent: At a time when government regulation continues to tighten regulated returns, non-regulated investments are an excellent way for municipalities to get more out of their LDCs. A well-devised non-regulated investment strategy can help LDCs and/or their affiliates mitigate industry disruption through new product and service offerings; protect, maintain or grow their dividend streams; and diversify their investment portfolios while strengthening their communities, either through additional services or by creating new jobs. LDC affiliates are particularly well-suited to this type of expansion strategy because it opens the door to countless new business-to-consumer opportunities that synergize with an LDC’s existing operating structure—such as technology applications (like fibre and broadband), water heater rental services, renewable energy storage and many more.
Q: How can municipalities move forward to pursue these opportunities?
Troy: First, it’s important for a municipality to define its strategic rationale for exploring non-regulated LDC opportunities, then clearly outline its goals for any potential opportunity or investment, and research the non-regulated opportunities available in its geographic region. Depending on a municipality’s geography, core competencies, shareholders’ risk tolerance and access to capital, it may opt to pursue new opportunities in the areas of power generation (e.g., hydro, solar or biogas); engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracting; water cycle management; conservation demand management; energy storage; fibre/broadband or something else entirely. After identifying a number of opportunities that align with www.eda.on.ca
the municipality’s goals and objectives, the council and board would have to prioritize them and devise a plan to move forward—either by acquiring an existing company, or starting a new one from scratch.
Q: Given the upcoming Ontario government Regional Review report (coming in September), are there specific services that municipalities could consider combining with their LDCs? Ricky: As the Ontario government reviews the “governance, decision-making and service delivery functions of eight regional municipalities”, many municipalities are exploring—or have already invested in—efforts to leverage existing LDC resources to address other utility needs. One such example could be water. Faced with aging water assets across the entire water cycle—including water treatment and distribution, waste water treatment and distribution, and storm water collection and restoration—municipalities have been looking for ways to fund the replacement and refurbishment of much of their underground water infrastructure. At the same time, other municipalities are also coming together to take on a more regional approach to water cycle management. These types of large-scale infrastructure investments are well-suited to LDCs. Not only do these entities have the asset management knowledge needed to tackle many of these challenges, but by taking something such as water—which is typically run as a municipal department—and placing it under an LDC, it can benefit from the funding and structure of a more formal utility model, while freeing up municipal resources to focus on other services, like transit or roads. Contact our Power & Utilities sector advisors: Troy Macdonald, CA, CPA, CBV National Leader, Corporate Finance & Infrastructure E Troy.Macdonald@ca.gt.com T +1 416 369 6401 Brent Jackson, CA, CPA, CBV Director E Brent.Jackson@ca.gt.com T +1 416 360 3067 Ricky Soni, CFA, PMP Director, Business Consulting E Ricky.Soni@ca.gt.com T +1 780 401 8219
LONDON HYDRO–LED TEAM A FINALIST
IN CANADA-U.K. POWER FORWARD CHALLENGE
anada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, and the U.K.’s Minister of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Hon. Chris Skidmore, recently announced the seven finalist teams in the Canada-U.K. Power Forward Challenge. The Power Forward Challenge is a joint Canada-U.K. initiative that invites Canadian and U.K. organizations to collaborate to envision and demonstrate breakthrough smart grid solutions that will modernize the way we access clean, flexible and reliable energy. The London-to-London (L2L) consortium of London Hydro, Electron UK, ENMAX, the University of Western Ontario, Navigant and Gowling WLG was selected as one of three Canadian finalists, along with four U.K. finalists from a group of 44 project proposal teams competing in the Power Forward Challenge. The London Hydro–led team will deliver a single open, scalable Open Data distributed energy resource (DER)
platform, which will benefit utilities, their customers, the grid and the environment. The platform addresses the market need for an effective mechanism that enables utilities to integrate the growing number of customer-sited DERs into the grid and to easily identify and leverage those resources for grid balancing. “Enabling a digital grid that can flexibly incorporate and utilize all customer-sited resources requires forwardthinking, leading-edge technology, and easy market access and participation,” said Vinay Sharma, CEO of London Hydro. “London Hydro and our team partners are proud to have been selected as a finalist in the Canada-U.K. Power Forward Challenge to demonstrate this solution. Our open, end-to-end DER platform will be developed in Ontario and will be extensible to support the increasing DERs across Canada and transcontinentally in the U.K.” The L2L pilot project will leverage London Hydro’s scalable Green Button energy data access and secure THE DISTRIBUTOR
data-sharing platform, together with Electron’s proven blockchain-based flexibility market platform, to create and demonstrate a standards-based, end-to-end DER engagement system; directory service and asset registry; and trading marketplace. The powerful new platform will enable utilities to easily integrate, view and engage customer-sited DERs. The use of open, standards-based technology will remove barriers for data collection (meter and transactions) and will facilitate interoperability across platforms and applications to ensure a seamless experience for customers. Customers with DERs will have the ability to easily leverage accurate, real-time energy data for better management and also will be able to monetize these resources in a marketplace. The L2L pilot will present a market-based approach for DER grid integration using open, innovative technologies. Lessons learned will inform policy, including design of future retail and wholesale markets, to enable higher operational efficiencies, increased customer participation, www.eda.on.ca
lower carbon and a more resilient grid for the future. A $3-million grant will be awarded to develop the pilot. “The L2L project team is looking forward to collaborating on a revolutionary, secure customer DER engagement platform that can scale to support the new energy economy as it grows in Canada and the U.K.,” said Syed Mir, VP of Corporate Services & CIO for London Hydro. “The Londonto-London pilot will show how utilities can efficiently incorporate DERs and view their status. It will also provide customers who have DERs with a seamless way to monetize their resources in a marketplace, while incentivizing their continued participation in grid management.”. Learn more about the Power Forward Challenge at impact.canada.ca. For more information on London Hydro’s participation in the L2L Consortium and Power Forward Challenge, contact Nancy Hutton: (519) 661-5800 ext. 5797.
“There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” – Stephen King
TEAMWORK IS THE BEST
By Bryce Conrad
enerally speaking, I don’t live my life fearing the worst. Maybe I don’t read enough Stephen King? But fear and worst-case scenarios tend to take the joy out of the everyday. Yet, as the President and CEO of the utility for the nation’s capital, preparing for the worst is unavoidable in my everyday work life. Here, I absolutely subscribe to King’s doomsday message. And I have good reason. Emergency preparedness has always been in our industry’s vernacular, and these last two years have put our community, our crews and our infrastructure to the test when it comes to being prepared for the worst. Based on key learnings from the 2017 flood and 2018 tornadoes, we updated and modernized our emergency preparedness plans. Preparing for the worst has paid dividends for us during the 2019 flooding event. It’s why, even with water levels on the Ottawa River being much higher than they were in 2017, our 100-year-old facilities haven’t sustained damage the way they did in 2017. If you haven’t seen the drone footage from our Chaudière Falls generating stations, you can’t fully comprehend the power of this water and its devastating impacts. Despite my children believing otherwise, I haven’t been around a hundred years, but I have seen enough of a significant increase in severe weather incidents since I took on my role in 2011, to know that I can’t simply hope for the best when it comes to our city’s infrastructure after two floods, two ice storms and six tornadoes in the last two years alone. Thankfully, I do have complete faith and confidence in our ability to plan, prepare, communicate and collaborate during
times of crisis. Time and again, teamwork has proven to be the best emergency preparedness measure during times of crisis. When the Ottawa River began to rise last month, we were prepared thanks to the partnerships we’d built during the last (once-in-a-hundred-years) historic flood of 2017. Working closely with our counterparts at the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, the City of Gatineau, HydroQuébec, the Electrical Safety Authority and the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board enabled us to act swiftly. Our community, the effects of the 2017 flood and the tornadoes of 2018 freshly etched into its memory, rallied together to donate money, supplies and their time to mitigation efforts. Some of our own employees used their annual volunteer day to help bag sand and build berms for their community. This, particularly, gives me hope that as a city we can come together as one team even when climate change is giving us its worst. Thanks to our experiences with major weather events and participation in disaster relief in other parts of the country and the United States, we have adapted and implemented measures that have kept our employees, the public and our city’s infrastructure safe. Special thanks to all of our employees and partners who have helped us with our flood efforts at Chaudière Falls. Preparing for the worst is easier when you work with the best. Bryce Conrad is President and CEO, Hydro Ottawa Group of Companies. Head to YouTube to view incredible drone footage of flooding at Chaudiere Falls. Learn more about Hydro Ottawa at hydroottawa.com.
Indigenous Engagement, Mindfulness, Mentorship Top the Agenda at Women Connected Women Connected 2019 proved to be yet another successful day of education and inspiration for senior leaders, those just entering the work force and everyone in between, within the electricity sector and beyond. More than 150 attendees came together at the Design Exchange in downtown Toronto to network and learn from 11 speakers in six different, impactful sessions. This year’s Women Connected was presented in partnership with Women of Powerline Technicians and hosted once again by EDA Board member Ruth Tyrrell, Chief Corporate Officer at Orangeville Hydro. The rich program featured diverse speakers sharing their experiences and perspectives on the business of electricity distribution and on personal and professional development. The day kicked off with an engaging presentation by Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power (Watay Power) and the first female chief in her home community of North Caribou Lake First Nation. Margaret spoke about an innovative partnership between Watay Power and Fortis to develop new transmission facilities that will connect remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario, currently powered by diesel generation. The program also included discussions on: • Cultivating compassionate leaders and high-performance teams • The importance of mentorship for career development
ENERCOM 2019 Showcases New Initiatives, Future Change In March, the EDA’s 20th ENERCOM Conference proved another great success, providing delegates with a full day of networking, informative presentations and thoughtful discussions on the theme of “Breaking Barriers” in the energy sector. Hosted once again by Ron Clark, partner at Aird & Berlis, ENERCOM 2019 focused on the many new initiatives driving future change within the industry, including top trends in energy storage, grid security, vehicle electrification and trends in DER. Thanks to all of our ENERCOM sponsors, speakers and attendees for taking part in this valuable conference. www.eda.on.ca
• Cultivating a workplace culture of diversity and inclusion • Creating customer-centric organizations • Developing opportunities for women in non-traditional roles in the electricity sector The EDA thanks all of our valued participants, speakers, partners and sponsors for making our seventh annual Women Connected an exceptional success. We especially thank Alectra Utilities, presenting sponsor of Women Connected 2019. Visit our Facebook page to see and share photos from this exciting event.
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EDIST 20: CALL FOR PAPERS The electricity distribution landscape is evolving rapidly. LDCs and their partners are implementing innovative solutions that solve pressing engineering and operations challenges, empower consumers, improve reliability and increase community value. The EDA’s Electricity, Distribution, Information Systems and Technology (EDIST) Conference & Exhibition is the industry’s premier event dedicated to exploring ideas and presenting proven solutions to critical engineering, operations, IT and management issues faced by Ontario’s LDCs. The conference offers a rich program of peer-reviewed technical papers. The exhibition provides suppliers, manufacturers and service providers with unparalleled opportunities to network and showcase their products and services. EDIST 20 takes place January 15–17, 2020, in Markham. Our theme this year is Technology in Action, demonstrating how LDCs are leveraging the latest tech innovations to enhance efficiency, affordability and reliability for electricity customers. The EDIST program is shaped by submissions to the EDA’s
Call for Papers. Right now, LDCs and their partners are invited to submit an abstract for a technical presentation on unique and innovative solutions already delivering value for local customers. Abstracts are reviewed and selected by the EDIST Committee, comprised of EDA members with engineering, operations and IT expertise. EDIST 20 presents optimal opportunities to: • Showcase innovative solutions • Network with some of the top engineering, operational and IT specialists in Ontario • Learn about the latest tech advances impacting the electricity sector now The call for papers for EDIST 20 is open until September 12, 2019. New for this year, all abstracts can be submitted quickly and conveniently online! Find all the details on the call for papers for EDIST 20, including submission guidelines and instructions, by logging in at eda-on.ca. For more information, contact Marica Macura, Director of Member Relations and Events, at (905) 265-5346.
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Innovative technologies and transformative strategies are enhancing virtually every area of the utility business, especially electricity. Join us for the EDAâ€™s third Energy Business Innovation Conference (EBIC), featuring a broad range of impactful sessions exploring the business end of electricity distribution. Meet with peers and hear from industry experts about the latest advances in management, communications, human resources, customer service, finance and regulation. EBIC delivers up-to-the-minute insights on driving transformation and optimizing business efficiency through processes, people and technologies. This full-day conference offers exceptional learning and networking opportunities for utility executives and senior managers in all business units. www.eda.on.ca
REGISTER NOW! EBIC 2019 October 22, 2019 Hilton Meadowvale Hotel, Mississauga A special accommodation rate is available to EBIC attendees.
Get all the details and register today at eda-on.ca. For more information, contact Marica Macura, Director of Member Relations and Events, at (905) 265-5346.
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