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SOLDIERING THROUGH A PANDEMIC 6

DISTRIBUTOR THE

SUMMER 2020

POWERING

EXCELLENCE

Agreement #: 43526108

ACROSS ONTARIO

Essex Powerlines takes home top honour as LDC Performance Excellence Award winner ///10

Profiles of this year’s EDA utility award winners 10-22


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ON THE FRONT COVER

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Essex Powerlines and many other utilities and individuals were honoured at this year's EDA Awards Gala.

CONTENTS UP FRONT 4  Chair’s Message: Celebrating Excellence 6  EDA and the COVID-19 Pandemic 8  Sector Scan: News from Around the Industry

COVER SECTION:

EDA AWARDS WINNERS 10 LDC Performance Excellence: Essex Powerlines 12 Communications Excellence: Halton Hills Hydro 14 Customer Service Excellence: PUC Distribution 16 Environmental Excellence: Alectra Utilities Corporation 18 Innovation Excellence: Hydro One 20 Public Electrical Safety Excellence: ENWIN Utilities 22 P  ublic Relations Excellence: Niagara Peninsula Energy 23 Individual Excellence: Chair’s Citations 24 A  Look Back at AGM 2020: Photo Essay

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 26 EDA Advocacy in Action

27 The Power of Local Hydro 28 Ask The Expert: Grant Thornton 29 EDA CON::NECT Event Series www.eda.on.ca

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Summer 2020

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 2020 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 Jessica Amico, Executive Assistant

POLICY, GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS Ted Wigdor, VP, Policy, Government and Corporate Affairs Derek Nardone, Manager, Corporate and Government Affairs Kathi Farmer, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor Brendan McClughan, Policy and Government Affairs Specialist

COMMUNICATIONS AND MEMBER ENGAGEMENT Andrew Temes, VP, Marketing, Communications and Member Relations Marica Macura, Director, Member Relations and Events Emily Kirk, Communications Specialist Dianna Merlocco, Events Specialist Lesia Kostecki, Marketing and Member Relations Specialist

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Tamara Orlova, Chief Financial Officer Arlene Klemmer, Accounting Clerk Matthews Joseph, Senior IT Analyst Lina Parisi, Receptionist

PUBLISHER DOVETAIL Communications 30 East Beaver Creek, Suite 202 Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1J2 Tel. 905.886.6640 | www.dvtail.com Advertising inquiries, Leesa Nacht, lnacht@dvtail.com Editorial inquiries, Emily Kirk, ekirk@eda-on.ca Please return undeliverable copies to: Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) 3700 Steeles Avenue West, Suite 1100, Vaughan, ON L4L 8K8 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 43526108

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CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE AND SOLDIERING ON It all somehow feels like it was a very long time ago, yet as I write this column in early May, it’s just a little over two months since we gathered for our combined AGM and ENERCOM conference at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel. It was a noteworthy occasion for me, as I formally assumed my duties as EDA chair for 2020/21, alongside an exceptional group of returning and newly elected directors. My thanks to all of them, and to the membership as a whole, for your continued confidence in the important work of the EDA, especially in these uncertain times. Close to 400 attendees were on-hand for our gala dinner and awards evening, including not just our province-wide membership, but many senior representatives from within government and across our stakeholder groups and the entire electricity industry. Among them was Associate Energy Minister Bill Walker, who we were pleased to have deliver the keynote speech. The awards presentations were the highlight for me, and an opportunity to celebrate excellence in various facets of distribution utility operations on the part of EDA members large and small. We’re pleased to profile all of the winners with feature articles in this issue, and to present a selection of photos from the evening on pages 19 and 24-25. Congratulations again to LDC Performance Excellence Award winner Essex Powerlines, and to all of this year’s nominees and winners. ENERCOM took place concurrent with the AGM for the first time. It offered high-value insights on topics ranging from the implications of increased density and new models of transportation, through to grid resilience and security, provincial politics, and energy storage – interspersed as always with excellent networking and social opportunities. What we didn’t know at the time of the AGM was that it would be among the last events of its kind, at least for the immediately foreseeable future, with the COVID-19 pandemic declaration happening less than two weeks later. We were very fortunate we gathered when we did. We have all been living through extraordinary and troubling times since then. The EDA board has been meeting virtually every week for some time now. This has been necessary to keep up with the pace of pandemic-related developments, and to ensure we are helping shape relevant policy measures and managing impacts for our members. I refer you to page 6 for an overview from EDA President and CEO Teresa Sarkesian of our efforts and outcomes as of the time of writing. For my part, let me simply state my admiration and appreciation for the effectiveness with which EDA members have shifted to dramatically different operational footings. We have maintained our more-essential-than-ever services, while rigorously safeguarding our employees’ safety, and easing financial and other burdens for our customers and communities to the extent we can. By the time this magazine goes into circulation, it seems likely we will be on a path back to something closer to normal. I sincerely hope everyone in our sector will be walking this path in good health, and with a sense of pride in our response to circumstances unlike any we’ve seen before. Sincerely,

Ysni Semsedini

President & CEO, Newmarket-Tay Power Chair, Electricity Distributors Association

THE DISTRIBUTOR

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Every community needs an ally The not-for-profit health and social service agencies that support our communities are doing their best to help those in need. We provide funding to a wide range of community support organizations to help foster good health, diversity and sustainability wherever we can. Learn more about our commitment at alectrautilities.com/AlectraCARES

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EDA AND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC EMPTY OFFICES, QUICK WINS, AND A LONG-TERM VISION By Teresa Sarkesian, President & CEO, Electricity Distributors Association

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he EDA offices have sat empty for many weeks now, as our staff and members practise social distancing and shelter at home. But quiet though those hallways may be, the pace of our efforts to meet member needs is as fast as ever. I’d like to provide readers with a brief overview of key developments and current status, as of early June. Within less than a week from the declaration of the pandemic by the World Health Organization, we hosted a member conference call with Energy Minister Greg Rickford and Associate Minister Bill Walker. That call initiated close and productive dialogue on some of the immediate electricity related actions the government was poised to take. With your commitment, we were able to provide unanimous sector support for an extended disconnection moratorium. The government also adopted our recommendation on immediate cost relief for consumers in the form of all-day application of off-peak rates – a measure that remained in place until the end of May, when a new fixed flat rate was temporarily implemented. Our sector and its supply chain were also among the government’s essential workplace declarations (see page 26 for more details these developments). Throughout all this intense activity, we had excellent ongoing member engagement and input. It included a lot of dialogue between myself and member CEOs, virtual meetings of our councils, and member-driven initiatives such as the production of a pandemic communications toolkit. With the help of sponsors Grant Thornton and Aird & Berlis, the EDA was also able to offer high-value virtual events with a specific focus on member-relevant pandemic impacts, which attracted hundreds of participants.

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During April, we were able to shift more of our resources and efforts to longer-term pandemic implications for EDA members, in light of what is almost certain to be a gradual and prolonged return to more normal economic activity. We are mindful of the potential impacts on the financial stability of distribution utilities, particularly since they bear the full collection risk on the part of the electricity sector as a whole. We advocated for a strategy designed to ensure that more customers can pay their bills, and the government responded. Relief was provided to address what would otherwise have been significant escalation of unit-based Global Adjustment charges, arising from pandemic-related drops in demand. This was followed by the announcement of targeted relief for both residential and small business customers, via new COVID-19 electricity assistance programs. These outcomes are fully consistent with our sector’s long-standing commitment to and unique relationship with electricity customers, which we continue to highlight through our Power of Local Hydro communications. Beyond the various challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for our own and other economic sectors, it is a simply horrific development in human terms. By this stage I’m sure many readers have been touched personally by the impact of infection, within their circles of family and friends or perhaps even directly. As a sector, though, we need to draw learnings and solidify our capacity to move forward in the service of customers. What parts of our new ways of working should we retain? How can we be in an even better state of readiness for the next major disruption, whatever form it takes? And what further measures may be needed to fully safeguard LDC liquidity and financial stability? We’re still managing immediate pandemic impacts as I write this report, but at the EDA we are also beginning to contemplate these questions. I look forward to dialogue with members on them as we move into what will hopefully soon be a post-pandemic reality THE DISTRIBUTOR

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IRONIC. Small interruptions. Big complaints.

THERE’S A BIG DISCONNECT BETWEEN OUTAGES AND RELIABILITY SCORES.

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See the difference at sandc.com/reliability20 © S &C Electric Company 2017-2020. All rights reserved.


SECTOR SCAN

SECTOR SCAN John Avdoulos Named President & CEO of Essex Power Corporation

The Essex Power board of directors announced that John Avdoulos has been appointed President & CEO of Essex Power Corporation, effective March 2. Avdoulos replaced Ray Tracey, who retired after a long and very successful career with Essex Power and in the electricity sector. “Under John’s innovative leadership, John Avdoulos the board is confident Essex Power will continue its growth and success as a dynamic energy company,” said Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, who chairs the Essex Power board of directors. Avdoulos has served in various capacities at the Essex Power Group of Companies since 2006. At Essex Powerlines specifically, and as Engineering Business Development Manager, he was instrumental in building the foundation of a digital utility platform. In 2012, he assumed the role of president at the unregulated and competitive business, Utilismart Corporation, transforming it into a North American leader in utility data solutions.

IESO Grateful to LDCs and all Market Participants for Pandemic Flexibility

In April the IESO released a message to all Ontario electricity market participants, expressing gratitude for the flexibility they demonstrated under dramatically changing circumstances – flexibility which in turn enabled the market operator to ensure the continued reliability of Ontario’s power system. While the IESO was able to communicate new demand patterns effectively once they emerged, it faced an ongoing challenge in forecasting demand for electricity given the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic. “Operating the grid – especially at a difficult time like this – takes commitment, cooperation and open dialogue among all the partners.” – IESO President & CEO Peter Gregg The IESO indicates that one of its most important steps was to work with market participants to minimize the number of generation facilities and transmission elements that were out of service. Redundancy was especially valuable in providing the flexibility the system has needed during the pandemic. The IESO took a hard look at planned outages – and asked market participants to do the same – to see what types of non-critical work could be deferred or rescheduled. LDCs adopted a similar approach in refocusing their own operations during the crisis. OPG and Bruce Power were also asked to provide flexibility to the system by ensuring the manoeuverability of their generation fleets, both hydroelectric and nuclear. This helped enable the IESO to maintain the balance between supply and demand in real time.

OEB Adapts to COVID-19 Regulatory Challenge

Courtesy ©sharonmccutcheon

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The Ontario Energy Board acted quickly to adapt its regulatory oversight activities to the challenging conditions of the pandemic. A limited number of essential core operations staff remained at its office to support the continuation of work and to oversee operational changes impacting ongoing proceedings and consultations. The OEB’s industry relations enquiries system remained operational and the regulator temporarily waived the requirement to submit hard copies with each electronic filing in regulatory proceedings. Recognizing that there may be costs to LDCs associated with implementing the emergency order regarding time-of-use pricing, the OEB allowed LDCs to track these costs in a deferral account, along with costs associated with the extension of the winter disconnection ban to July 31, and other costs associated with the pandemic. Licensees and gas distributors are normally required to complete their annual Reporting and Record-Keeping Requirements (RRR) filings by April 30. The OEB extended the filing deadline to June 1, with the date to be reassessed if warranted by events. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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” WE’RE HERE TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON SO OUR CUSTOMERS CAN FOCUS ON THEIR FAMILIES.” Dan E. – power line worker

THAT’S WHY WE CREATED THE PANDEMIC RELIEF PROGRAM.

WE’RE HERE TO SUPPORT ONTARIANS IN NEED. As electricity distributors, we play a critical role in powering hospitals, homes, grocery stores and essential services across Ontario. Now is the time to come together as an industry and stand up for customers.

HydroOne.com


COVER

LDC PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE AWARD:

ESSEX POWERLINES CORPORATION Stellar Performance Unfolds (in part) Underneath a New Solar Array

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n March 2019, a new solar photovoltaic system – with a 100 kW net-meter capacity – began operating on the rooftop of the Essex Powerlines Corporation (EPL) operations centre. By January of 2020, it had already produced well over 100,000 kWh of clean electricity, equivalent to about two-thirds of the entire electricity requirement of the building – and representing a 40-tonne annual drop in carbon emissions. This success was among the performance highlights – in this case with operational, financial and environmental benefits – that earned EPL the overall Local Distribution Company Performance Excellence Award at this year’s EDA Awards Gala. Among the strategies behind the utility’s full range of achievements were simplification, modernization and collaboration – combined with a consistently firm grounding in good local corporate citizenship. “It’s a tremendous industry to be in and the collaboration amongst LDCs is outstanding. We share and learn from our colleagues,” said President and CEO Ray Tracey. “The people, the collaboration, the commitment are what makes this award so special. We’re connected to our customers, we’re

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connected to our shareholders, and we’re connected to our employees. It’s humbling to get this award and to be acknowledged by this sector.”

Smart modernization

A simplified distribution system can mean less inventory, lower maintenance costs and fewer line losses. A reduction in line losses is a particularly important outcome to pursue, as it can help moderate overall system costs even extending beyond the 20 per cent of the electricity bill that EPL and other distributors have direct control over. To that end, one of EPL’s key operational focal points in 2019 was to get as close as technologically feasible to the status of a single-voltage utility. EPL eliminated eight substations and converted significant lengths of line in the pursuit of this goal; and is continuing in 2020 to convert remaining step-down transformers in a cost-effective manner. Self-healing grid capacities were another EPL priority, and are helping to insulate customers from the impact of the loss-of-supply incidents that account for more than threequarters of outage hours in the EPL service territory. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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Among the strategies behind the utility’s top-award winning achievements were simplification, modernization and collaboration.

RETAIL STRATEGIES FOR CDM Even with the early winddown of the 20152020 provincial conservation framework, EPL significantly over-achieved on the target for its service territory, realizing 36,010 MWh of energy savings, with more than $3.9 million in local incentives paid.

Upgrade focal points have included line monitors, reclosers and wholesale meters, and all of this work has been facilitated by use of a new SmartMAP digital tool, for which EPL and its Essex Energy Corporation affiliate secured support from the provincial Smart Grid Fund.

Sharing crucial services

In the best spirit of peer collaboration, EPL found mutually advantageous opportunities to share services. Even without the benefit of adjacent service territories, EPL and Oakville Hydro were able to begin using a shared control room service, initially operating for 12 hours per day. Cost and other efficiencies, along with improved outage management, are among the benefits this arrangement is delivering. The SmartMAP digital tool also helped to make this location-agnostic solution possible. There are plans to extend the shared control room’s operation to a 24/7 basis during 2020, and a range of additional technological enhancements – including simplified outage tracking and reporting – are also being pursued for the further benefit of customers.

Safe, connected and delivering strong returns

While firmly embedding safety across its operations, EPL also acted to advance broader employee and community well-being. This included, among other things: companywide mental health awareness training, a fitness reimbursement plan, mandatory defensive driving training, a flu-season awareness campaign, emergency-preparedness exercises with local governments, and public safety presentations at schools and firehalls. While paperless billing campaigns generated more than $8,000 for two local charities, EPL sponsorship, donations and volunteerism had an even wider reach in Essex County. Local food banks and health care providers were among the beneficiaries – as was a past EPL co-op student and his team members, whose prototype high-speed transit pod made it to the final round of the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Competition. www.eda.on.ca

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The EDA award judges found all this to represent an impressive depth and breadth of achievements on EPL’s part, and one that was rounded off by an equally strong financial performance. A four per cent year-over-year expense reduction helped keep EPL in the ranks of the most cost-efficient of local hydro utilities, with some of the lowest residential distribution rates in the province and a 12.3 per cent return on equity. “We are always looking at new and innovative ways to evolve with the ever-changing electricity sector. Our employees show a great amount of enthusiasm and passion for our company,” said General Manager Joe Barile. “Because of this, we have been able to create more opportunities for Essex Powerlines as we move closer towards becoming a 21st century utility. We are especially grateful for everything our employees do on a day-to-day basis as this has helped lead to our success.” Essex Powerlines Corporation, a regulated company, provides safe, reliable and economical electrical distribution and service to over 30,000 residents and businesses in Amherstburg, LaSalle, Leamington and Tecumseh. The foundation to empower our corporate vision is based on a dynamic and progressive workforce that will be industry leaders in providing “best in class” business solutions in the delivery of service to our customers.

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COMMUNICATIONS EXCELLENCE:

HALTON HILLS HYDRO Better Customer Input at Less Than One-tenth the Cost

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Social media ads helped drive cost-effective customer engagement.

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eaningful customer engagement is an important part of building a utility’s multi-year Distribution System Plans. We all want our customers to “have their say” on these plans, yet effectively mobilizing customer input is challenging and resource intensive; and all of the conventional outreach methods have their inherent limitations. Halton Hills Hydro was recognized with this year’s Communications Excellence Award for an innovative and highly effective alternative to customer engagement as part of its cost-of-service application. Using an interactive customer engagement website – https://haveyoursay. haltonhillshydro.com – the utility was able to not only inform, but also engage and collaborate widely on its plans, and at a fraction of the cost of conventional engagement methods. “Gaining input from a wide range of customers is an important part of our planning process,” said Art Skidmore, President & CEO of Halton Hills Hydro. “This online platform provided us with an innovative way to engage with our customers in an extremely cost-efficient manner.” THE DISTRIBUTOR

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The website, which was launched in July 2019, featured an Halton Hills Hydro’s mission is to provide electricity initial ask for input in the form of a video from Skidmore. The distribution excellence in a safe and reliable manner. At Halton Hills Hydro, our brand, “We are Community”, site provided a variety of channels – including surveys, polls represents our actions and goals. It is a vision created and idea forums – which were designed to gather a more collaboratively by our employees that represents our precise understanding of customer needs and preferences, in mission statement and objectives. It is our goal to provide an inclusive approach that engaged customers in a our customers with the ideas, tools and information that conversation about reliability, safety, automation and cost. give them the power to make the best choices for their While an external vendor hosted the site, the branding, energy needs. content, surveys and marketing materials were developed entirely in-house by Halton Hills Hydro staff. This approach had the benefit of better enabling adjustments to processes and content based on participant feedback, as the engagement unfolded. “Managing the website internally provided an easy way to adapt messaging to respond to customers’ questions and interests,” said Jennifer Gordon, Project Manager, Halton Hills Hydro. “This allowed us to more fully engage with our customers than we could have done through conventional methods.” Information pages and educational materials – including a highly successful post entitled: “Why don’t we bury powerlines?” – were added based on questions and input that was received, The platform was promoted via email, which resulted in a high rate of conversion to completed surveys. It was also promoted extensively by all of Halton Hills Hydro’s social media SaaS Model channels, on its corporate website, Self-Service Portal Virtual Marketplace through business community Customer Information System newsletters, and at local events High Availability Meter Data Management including a utility open house. Disaster Recovery ERP Financials It resulted in high rates of Cyber Security Integration Web Services: engagement and awareness, and good Managed Services AMI MDM/R GIS SCADA OMS dialogue on crucial considerations such as the balance between electricity costs and reliability. By the end of the engagement period, 561 survey responses were received along with 152 responses to quick polls and a number of ideas were contributed for discussion. At less than 10 per cent of what conventional approaches would have cost, this engagement process delivered 38 years 10 countries 4 continents excellent input for Halton Hills Hydro to help inform its planning and application. The site remained live into ‘Innovation Creates 2020, providing a means by which the Opportunities’ utility’s customers can continue to keep up-to-date on their local distribution sales@jomarsoftcorp.com w w w . j o m a r s o f t c o r p . c o m Te l : 5 1 9 - 7 4 0 - 0 5 1 0 system planning process.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE:

PUC DISTRIBUTION

Helping Customers Access Affordability Funding Provides Major Boost on Satisfaction

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hile the province puts up the money for the AffordAbility Fund Trust (AFT) program, it was up to distribution utilities to bring it to life – making customers aware of the cost-cutting opportunities and encouraging sign-ups. Realizing that the multi-faceted criteria resulted in broad eligibility among its customers, PUC Distribution in Sault Ste. Marie took on this task in an especially impactful way. While the results earned it a Customer Service Excellence Award at this year’s EDA Awards Gala, the most important outcomes are reflected in the success stories it collected through customer interviews and posted to its Facebook page. For one of the PUC’s customers, Mr. Martens, AFT

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participation meant close to $15,000 worth of appliances, including a new heat pump, fridge, stove, freezer, and dryer. All this made the house he’s lived in for 15 years more affordable and freed up savings to use on general upgrades. The Santoro family, meanwhile, updated their home with a new fridge and a dual-unit heat pump. Now they can save money on heating and other energy efficiencies around the house – motivated in part by their belief in the importance of energy conservation. Another customer, Phil, told PUC he was surprised by the existence of the AFT program, through which he received a heat pump, fridge and freezer. While he had a heat pump previously, his new one works in colder conditions, making it a more efficient way to cut his electricity costs. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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Every customer’s situation and eligibility considerations were

PUC Distribution is a customer focused company safely delivering high quality utility related services, while earning a fair return for our shareholder. A community partner since 1917, PUC values safety, customer service, and innovation.

different, so PUC employees talked to customers about how the program might benefit them specifically, and helped start the application process. The success stories go on, each demonstrating customer participation and engagement. And the success of the program continues to grow in the community. How did PUC effectively reach so many qualified customers? A multi-faceted campaign was key. It issued news releases, showed hundreds of AffordAbility ads on CTV, attended dozens of public community events, spoke about the program on various local morning shows, and utilized automated calls. PUC’s social media platforms highlighted AFT success stories and reached over 10,000 people. Attending community events gave PUC a particularly valuable opportunity for face-to-face customer engagement and the ability to explain the program. Every customer’s situation and eligibility considerations were different, so PUC employees talked to customers about how the program might benefit them specifically, and helped start the application process. All of this resulted in more than 5,000 verified AFT participants among PUC customers by the end of 2019. Remarkably, Sault Ste. Marie – with 0.51 per cent of the provincial population – accounts for 11 per cent of total financial allocations under the program; and that equates to potential savings for PUC customers of $2.4 million on an annual basis. In addition, PUC, in partnership with AFT, has allocated over $5 million to local businesses that are supporting program delivery until the end of 2020. “The success of this program has made everyone a winner; our customers, local business and the team at PUC who are gratified their hard work paid off,” stated Robert Brewer, President and CEO of PUC Services Inc. “Local participation in the AffordAbility Fund is a reflection of how we have embraced change, how we have created a culture that focuses on innovation and how we have sought to put our customers first.” Helping customers reduce their hydro bill is clearly one of the most direct and meaningful ways a distribution utility can make life better for them, and PUC’s success in this regard is reflected in some other impressive numbers. In its 2019 scorecard, the utility’s overall credibility and trust were at 87 per cent, up from 80 per cent in 2017; while its overall customer satisfaction ranking was boosted to 94 from 82 per cent. PUC is confident that these results relate directly to its efforts with the AFT program. www.eda.on.ca

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COVER

ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE:

ALECTRA UTILITIES CORPORATION

One Planet, Many Communities and the Generations to Come

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ne of the distinctive attributes of Alectra Utilities and other local distribution companies is the extent to which they are plugged into priorities and sentiments within their service territories. With a number of Alectra’s Greater Golden Horseshoe shareholder-municipalities declaring climate emergencies and enacting zero-waste policies, it was natural for the utility to step up its own efforts to improve and protect the environment. “As a sustainable company, we are committed to meeting the needs of today and of future generations by empowering our employees, our customers and our communities to protect the environment while embracing innovation,” said Dan Pastoric, VP Strategic Growth & Special Projects, Alectra Utilities. Alectra has created a broad sustainability framework called AlectraCARES, which provides guidance to its employees and its executive on “People”, “Planet” and “Performance” issues. The environmental element of AlectraCARES, known as the “One Planet” program, earned Alectra the 2020 EDA Environmental Excellence Award.

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Leading the way to a sustainable future

The One Planet program was designed to help Alectra achieve two major objectives: first, to reduce direct corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2026; and second, to cut waste by eliminating single-use plastics, collecting more organics and recycling, and using electricity more efficiently. Alectra’s Corporate Sustainability Committee guides and enables the implementation of One Planet initiatives throughout the company, with the participation of volunteer GREEN Team members and other employees, and by engaging with vendors as needed. One Planet also encompasses seeking input and leveraging expertise more broadly. Most notably, this has involved twice-annual Sustainability Roundtables that bring together representatives of more than 20 municipal and regional governments, as well as several policy and advocacy agencies and associations.

Protecting the environment through innovation

The results of the One Planet program to date are impressive. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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The One Planet program was designed to help Alectra achieve two major objectives: to reduce direct corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2026 and to cut waste of various kinds. With GHG reductions already down by 19 per cent – a cumulative reduction of over 1,800 tonnes of carbon since 2016 – Alectra is tracking well ahead of target and looking to revise its original target. Contributing actions have included an anti-idling policy, facilitation of lower-impact commuting, and the generation of more than 25 GWh of solar energy at multiple installations. A switch to a district energy system at the Hamilton corporate office also cut onsite natural gas use by close to two-thirds. Alectra also donated more than 600 surplus binders to school boards in Peel Region through The Creative Zone, a project through which items that might end up in a landfill are instead put to productive re-use by teachers in hundreds of local schools. This is another one of the innovative and community-benefitting ways in which Alectra is reducing waste. Additionally, One Planet supports sustainability progress outside the bounds of Alectra’s offices and operations. It includes funding for community initiatives, as well as providing a graduate fellowship for a student in the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Sustainability Management program – the inaugural recipient of which was named one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 sustainability leaders by Corporate Knights. “Environmental and social responsibility are foundational to Alectra’s success and part of the fabric of this organization,”

said Brian Bentz, President and CEO, Alectra Inc. “Our focus on people, planet and performance speaks to the continuing value we provide to our employees, customers, communities and shareholders.” The AlectraCARES One Planet program is a compelling demonstration of what a local distribution company can achieve environmentally, and of how it can encourage others to act as well. The Earth, Alectra’s many communities, and countless generations to come will all benefit from this innovative sustainability program. “We can learn from businesses and utilities that are committed to sustainability and protecting the planet,” said Dan Pastoric. “It will take our collective efforts to continue to make a difference. Alectra is open to collaborate on new initiatives and sharing our framework.” Serving more than one million homes and businesses in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe area, Alectra Utilities is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada, based on the total number of customers served. We contribute to the economic growth and vibrancy of the 17 communities we serve by investing in essential energy infrastructure, delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, and providing innovative energy solutions. Our mission is to be an energy ally, helping our customers and the communities we serve to discover the possibilities of tomorrow’s energy future.

Alectra employees used their lunch break to clean up litter in support of the City of Vaughan’s 20 Minute Makeover program.

www.eda.on.ca

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INNOVATION EXCELLENCE: HYDRO ONE Battery Solution Improves Reliability in Remote Region

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ydro One plays a critical role in energizing life for people and communities across Ontario. The company is focused on building a reliable and resilient grid for the future. For some remote communities, vast geography and technical limitations can lead to challenges including a greater frequency and duration of power outages. The Aroland First Nation – an Anishnawbe First Nation located about 350 km northeast of Thunder Bay – is one of those communities. Between 2013 and 2019, the community experienced an average of 57 hours of power outages each year, with outages occurring almost monthly. Nearly all those outages – 99 per cent in fact – originated outside the community. They commonly involved a major weather event or some other factor that resulted in a loss of power to the community along the very long power line that connects Aroland to the distant transmission and distribution systems. Through its efforts to address these challenges, Hydro One earned the EDA Innovation Excellence Award for thinking outside of the box to find a solution. In 2017, Anwaatin Inc. – an organization that supports Indigenous community involvement in fighting climate change, and participation in emerging energy opportunities – brought power outage concerns at communities including Aroland to Hydro One’s attention. Hydro One is committed to working with Indigenous communities to find innovative solutions to better serve its customers. Aroland and Hydro One agreed to install a battery

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storage system that would improve the community’s overall reliability. The system is expected to be installed this year and will power the community in the event of an outage. Hydro One anticipates that the reliability of power in the community will increase by more than 60 per cent. “Hydro One’s first battery storage solution in the Aroland First Nation in northern Ontario, demonstrates how we are planning, building and designing a more resilient grid for the future,” said Bruno Jesus, Vice President Planning, Hydro One. “This non-wires alternative solution is one way Hydro One is investing in new technology to modernize the grid and improve the reliability of power for our customers.” The battery installation proved to build a strong relationship between Hydro One and the Aroland First Nation. Aroland leadership has been engaged in the project since its inception, including the process of securing and assessing the installation site. In its March 2019 decision on Hydro One’s distribution-rate application, the Ontario Energy Board commended the company and the Anwaatin-represented First Nations communities, saying that they had provided an example “of how a cooperative approach can result in mutually beneficial outcomes.” Significantly – in what has been termed a groundbreaking decision – the OEB also allowed some of the distributed energy resources involved to be rate-based. The Aroland battery solution will be the first one Hydro One has implemented, but it will likely not be the last. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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COVER

THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED The future-focused agenda at this year’s ENERCOM conference featured diverse and engaging experts and influencers, and was held concurrent with the EDA AGM and Awards Gala. This suite of events brought the distribution sector together to learn and

network, conduct association business, and celebrate industry excellence. The gathering was no doubt reflected on very fondly in the weeks afterwards, when the near-term future took an unwelcome turn with the arrival of social distancing.

Robin Sharp Photography

See pages 24-25 for more event photos.

www.eda.on.ca

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COVER

PUBLIC ELECTRICAL SAFETY EXCELLENCE:

ENWIN UTILITIES

They Shoot, They Score: On-ice Performance Boosts Safety Messages

I

nnovation, impact and a low-cost campaign: in hockey that would be referred to as a hat trick, and through ENWIN’s SAFETY POWERPLAY campaign that’s exactly what the utility achieved. Building on the community’s love for the local OHL Windsor Spitfires, ENWIN saw an opportunity to deliver important electrical safety messages to a key target audience. This marketing partnership with the “Spits” earned ENWIN the Public Electrical Safety Excellence Award, sponsored by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), at this year’s EDA Awards Gala. The target audience was 30 to 55-year-old men – the demographic that research shows is most at risk for electrical accidents, and that also tends to be comprised of avid hockey fans. And as a bonus, messages during Spits hockey games reached family members and friends of the key demographic, who in turn were likely to be advocates for safe behaviour around electricity. The campaign was simple and in real time, and exponentially increased the reach and impact of ENWIN’s annual safety campaign.

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Whenever the Spits had a power play or scored a goal, SAFETY POWERPLAY messages were broadcast over multiple media including: on-ice TV testimonials from Spits players; radio mentions by local celebrity commentators; Twitter mentions on @SpitsHockey, including links to videos; and rink-side in the WFCU Centre itself by video ribbon boards, a ring board and jumbotron. “This campaign is truly the result of great team work – the kind the Spits practise in all their games, and the kind ENWIN practises every day in the field,” commented Barbara Peirce Marshall, Manager Corporate Communications for ENWIN. “We were delighted to be able to access the power of the Spits and their media partners as a conduit for ESA safety messaging.” Much to the delight of fans, the three-time Memorial Cup-winning Spits had a lot of power plays during their 2018-19 season – and that made for very effective delivery of the six key ESA messages that ENWIN built into its SAFETY POWERPLAY campaign. The Spits 295 power plays, combined with the range of campaign delivery channels, led to tens of millions of impressions. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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COVER

THE SCORE ON POWERPLAY CAMPAIGN REACH Digital signage: >140,000 home game attendees viewed three digital safety messages via ribbon boards, a ring board, and jumbotron during each of 121 power plays on home ice = 51.2 million impressions. Intermission safety videos: Two 30-second videos featuring Spits players were broadcast to home game attendees via jumbotron during intermissions at each game = 282 thousand impressions. @SpitsHockey: The Spits tweeted ENWIN SAFETY POWERPLAY messages and videos to their 26,000 followers during 295 power plays and power play goals = 7.7 million impressions. CKLW AM800 Commentary: 6,500 listeners per game heard campaign commentary during live broadcasts of all 295 power plays and power play goals = 1.9 million impressions.

“In addition to the very important impact on our distribution of ESA safety messages, the campaign has helped us to connect with our community,” Peirce Marshall observed. “The Spits are seen as powerful, local advocates and the heart of our city. The public is now able to identify these qualities in ENWIN.” Through a $10,000 marketing investment, ENWIN boosted the reach of its ESA safety messages by more than 65 million impressions in six months, at a cost of about $0.01 per 1,000 impressions. All video and audio were created in-house by ENWIN at no additional cost. Based on this impact and efficiency, it’s no surprise that ENWIN has extended the campaign into the 2019-20 hockey season. ENWIN Utilities Ltd. is the licensed electricity distribution company serving customers in the City of Windsor, and is responsible for the local distribution of electricity, and the service and maintenance of the local electricity distribution infrastructure. ENWIN also maintains a contract of service with Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC) to operate and maintain the WUC owned water system that serves customers in Windsor, Tecumseh and LaSalle.

The target audience was 30 to

CKLW AM800 PSAs: >200, 15-second public service announcements were broadcast to listeners during the season = 1.3 million impressions.

55-year-old men – the demographic

Cogeco YourTV: 2,900 viewers per game saw a rotation of six 15-second safety videos containing player testimonials which were broadcast >1,000 times during the season = 2.9 million impressions.

electrical accidents, and one that also

www.eda.on.ca

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that research shows is most at risk for tends to be avid hockey fans. 21


COVER

PUBLIC RELATIONS EXCELLENCE:

NIAGARA PENINSULA ENERGY A Picture Perfect Solution to a Perennial Problem

W

e’ve all seen the large green utility boxes that dot neighbourhoods across the province. They’re a bland landscape feature at best, and they can even be an eyesore. That’s especially true if they are vandalized or graffitied – common occurrences that can also shorten the working lives of this equipment, and add unnecessary costs for local hydro utilities. Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) was recognized with the Public Relations Excellence Award at this year’s EDA Awards Gala for its creative, practical and attractive solution to the problem that these pad-mounted transformers can represent. Through its Utility Box Artwork Program, NPEI is not only deterring damage to equipment and extending its life, but adding original and local artwork to streetscapes as utility boxes are transformed into things of beauty. The program involves vinyl wraps for the utility boxes, on which original pieces of art are reproduced (with careful adjustments to ensure required tags and warning decals remain visible). “This is a great way to make the area even more beautiful,” said Sue Forcier, VP of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs at NPEI. “It also helps to reduce graffiti, and busy images work best to deter vandalism. We’re proud to be a local utility responding to innovative ideas from the local business community. We are the first utility in Ontario to participate in a creative program like this and we are excited to set a trend that we think is going to be very popular.” For the first round, the City of Niagara Falls held a contest for local artists to submit artwork to be nominated. Sonia Wilkinson was chosen as the winner. Her vibrant work now adorns nearly a dozen utility boxes in the Lundy’s Lane Business Improvement Area.

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“It just kind of clicked,” Wilkinson told the St. Catharines Standard, in describing her multi-hued designs. “When I got the project, it just felt like a perfect opportunity to celebrate our differences. It sounds kind of cliched and goofy, but I really believe that part of being Canadian is our differences and what we each bring to the table.” The existing art boxes have attracted many compliments, and a lot of expressions of interest in expanding the program. A new cultural hub that is being developed in Niagara Falls, for example, has already reached out to NPEI to request that all utility boxes in the area be wrapped. The Utility Box Artwork Program has enabled NPEI to expand and grow local partnerships and to contribute to the development and beautification of its communities. And it has transformed potential eyesores into artwork that is enjoyed by not only those who live and work in the neighbourhood, but also by passersby. “We’re confident that many more boxes will be decorated in 2020,” said Forcier. “It’s still early in the program, but with increased equipment longevity and reduced maintenance and repairs, we expect this initiative will deliver good value for NPEI, while helping make us the talk of the town.” Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) provides local electricity distribution and related services to residential and business customers in the City of Niagara Falls, Town of Lincoln, Town of Pelham and Township of West Lincoln. NPEI is jointly owned by Niagara Falls Holding Corporation and Peninsula West Power Inc. Niagara Falls Holding Corp. is wholly owned by the City of Niagara Falls. Peninsula West Power Inc., which is also a Holding Company, is jointly owned by the Town of Lincoln, the Town of Pelham and the Township of West Lincoln.

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COVER

INDIVIDUAL EXCELLENCE: CHAIR’S CITATIONS

CAREER-LONG COMMENDABLE SERVICE EARNS PERSONAL RECOGNITION

T

he EDA Chair’s Citation is awarded to board members or utility executives who have distinguished themselves through outstanding, dedicated service to the EDA and the industry over an extended period of time. The award is presented in memory of Dr. Robert H. Hay, who through over 30 years of service showed tireless dedication, leadership, and outstanding commitment to this association and the electricity industry at large. Two Chair’s Citations were presented at this year’s EDA Awards Gala.

Present for the awards ceremony was Associate Energy Minister Bill Walker (at left in photos).

Chair’s Citations were presented by incoming EDA Chair Ysni Semsedini (at right in photos).

Ruth Tyrrell, C. Dir. Chief Corporate Officer, Orangeville Hydro

Ron Stewart Former President & CEO, Hydro Ottawa

Ruth Tyrrell will retire this year after a quarter-century working in the electricity distribution sector, a career trajectory that culminated in her post as a senior executive at Orangeville Hydro. Tyrrell advanced through a succession of roles over her time in the sector, in the process becoming an ambassador for local hydro, and embodying the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that the EDA promotes among all of its members. She has served as a member of the EDA’s board of directors since 2007. She is also a director of MEARIE, a trustee of the LDC Tomorrow Fund, and an active member of her home EDA District of Georgian Bay. She emceed the EDA’s Women Connected event and promoted the rewarding career opportunities available for women, and indeed for anyone, within Ontario’s distribution sector. www.eda.on.ca

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Stewart began his career at Ontario Hydro in 1970, where he held various senior management roles that spanned nearly 30 years. He successfully managed several major utility transformations, including the transition and restructuring of transmission and distribution systems during the formation of Hydro One. He led the crisis recovery efforts following the 1998 ice storm – the most devastating on record and the largest emergency effort ever undertaken by Ontario Hydro. He was founding Chief Operating Officer of Hydro One Network Services, and then served as President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa, where he led the merger of five municipal utilities into the second largest LDC in Ontario. In retirement he has consulted on major initiatives in the Ontario electricity sector with a focus on the social well-being of remote northern areas and off-grid First Nation communities.

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CON::NECT EVENTS SERIES

A LOOK BACK AT ENERCOM, AGM AND EDA AWARDS GALA 2020

Robin Sharp Photography

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THE DISTRIBUTOR

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CON::NECT EVENTS SERIES

K-LINE INSULATORS LIMITED www.k-line.net "PROUDLY INTRODUCES" Totally Insulated Framing System (TIF)

3-Phase TIF Tri-Frame - Distribution 15kV - 69kV (Patent No.: US 9,685,772)

3-Phase TIF H-Frame Transmission 69kV - 230kV(Patent No.: US 9,685,772)

www.eda.on.ca

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ADVOCACY IN ACTION

COVID-19 RESPONSE DISTRIBUTORS SUPPORT EXTENDED DISCONNECTION BAN One of the EDA’s first pandemic-related action items was member outreach regarding extension of the seasonal moratorium on customer disconnections for bill non-payment. This arose out of a conference call for LDC members with Energy Minister Greg Rickford and Associate Minister Bill Walker, during which they asked LDCs to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with government on a voluntary extension. The EDA was subsequently able to confirm full member willingness to comply. “The EDA is pleased to announce our industry’s support for the immediate suspension of electricity disconnections for an additional three months for our residential customers,” our statement read. “We share the goal to provide hard-working families this added security. Ontario’s local hydro utilities will continue work to support our customers during this difficult time.”

LDCS HELP REPLENISH CRUCIAL MEDICAL RESOURCES With the possibility of a surge in hospitalizations looming, and complications in cross-border supplies, the Ministry of Energy made an emergency appeal via the EDA for donations of available N95 and other medical masks at the beginning of April. LDCs had already begun to donate available supplies for use in the health care system, and within a week of this request the distribution sector had provided tens of thousands of units of personal protective equipment to local and regional health care providers.

THE EDA HELPS ENSURE ‘ESSENTIAL’ DESIGNATION

Wide-scale workplace closures were ordered effective March 25 in Ontario. But advocacy on the part of the EDA, with input from its HR and Operations and Engineering Councils, assured the continued operation of the distribution sector. Initial and subsequent versions of the essential workplaces list included electricity utilities and their entire supply chain, including financial and other business-support services.

GOVERNMENT TAKES EDA ADVICE ON TIME-OF-USE RELIEF

Another early-stage ask from government was for recommendations on immediate electricity rate relief for customers during the pandemic. After extensive member engagement over a 24-hour period, the EDA provided a submission defining an option that would provide savings to customers, be easily understood, and relatively easy to implement. The government moved in the direction recommended, implementing all-day off-peak pricing for a period that extended to the end of May.

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Government of Ontario Newsroom

UPDATE ON PANDEMIC RATE RELIEF At the end of May, the provincial government announced continued relief for regulated price plan customers on time-of-use (TOU) pricing – in the form of a new fixed flat rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour. While higher than the off-peak rate that had been in effect earlier in the pandemic, the government noted this rate will provide continued price stability during a period when many people continue to spend more time at home. It will apply until November 1, at which time the government says customers will be able to choose between TOU and tiered pricing. Additional targeted price relief for residential and small business customers – along with measures to address Global Adjustment-charge escalation – have also been announced. THE DISTRIBUTOR

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POWER OF LOCAL HYDRO

THE POWER OF LOCAL HYDRO

DURING COVID-19

We salute and thank all members for showing their #OntarioSpirit during these difficult times. “PPE Care Packages” from Oshawa Power.

Alectra distributed 16,800 masks to seven hospitals in a single day.

D

uring the COVID-19 pandemic the Government of Ontario coined the hashtag #OntarioSpirit, and used it to showcase what companies and organizations were doing to support their communities. Local utilities are an excellent example of #OntarioSpirit, and of what it means to support your communities and customers through a pandemic and throughout the year. In the early days of the pandemic, when Ontario declared a state of emergency and all non-essential workers were asked to stay home, frontline utility workers were of course deemed essential. Office staff to a large degree began working remotely, and the continued collective efforts of utility company teams kept the lights on during a time when reliable power was even more appreciated than ever.

Answering the call

Utility companies also answered the call to help our frontline medical workers, and provided multiple donations of surgical masks and other much-needed materials. By the second week in April, local utility companies across Ontario had donated 35,000 units of personal protective equipment to healthcare workers. Some utilities used their 3D printers to make parts for InkSmith, a company that manufactures products used in hospitals and other health care facilities.

Supporting the vulnerable

Utilities also supported programs that helped their most vulnerable customers. London Hydro doubled its contribution to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). And Peterborough Utilities Group provided funds to both LEAP and to “Funds for Utility Service Emergencies” (FUSE). FUSE is www.eda.on.ca

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managed by a local Housing Resource Centre and used to support both electric and water arrears. Alectra Utilities made donations to local food banks, helping to ensure that the most vulnerable had access to food. This was especially important during the pandemic when demand on food banks increased. Burlington Hydro covered the costs associated with the new electrical service and equipment needed to power the temporary Pandemic Response Unit being built at Joseph Brant Hospital. The unit increased the hospital’s capacity to support COVID-19 patient care, providing approximately 90 additional beds. Hydro One offered support to the Ministry of Health with its efforts in contacting travelers entering Ontario to ensure compliance with mandatory quarantine measures. Hydro One volunteered employees from its customer service operations to contact thousands of returning travelers, providing them with timely guidance on how to self-isolate and to spot the symptoms of the virus. Utility companies also kept their customers consistently up to date and informed, including when fraudsters were trying to take advantage of customers with scam phone calls threatening to cut off service. Local utilities, through traditional media and social media, were quick to remind customers that utilities do not conduct business in this way, and that assurances against disconnection were in place during the pandemic. The list of examples of what local utility companies did to help their customers and communities during the pandemic is no doubt considerably longer. For our part at the EDA we salute and thank all members for showing their #OntarioSpirit during these difficult times.

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ASK THE EXPERT

ASK THE EXPERT:

RETURNING TO THE WORKPLACE:

HOW TO OPEN YOUR DOORS SAFELY By Nicole Deveau, National Leader, Human Capital Management, Grant Thornton LLP Canada The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt by businesses across the globe; resulting in loss of revenue, financial opportunity and human capital. It has disrupted the way we operate as individuals and as businesses, changing the way we live and work. After months of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders, many people may be excited to return to their workplaces. But employers and management teams must carefully consider how businesses can re-open their doors safely. The transition to our new normal is likely to be slow, uneven, and cautious as we navigate employees’ continued fears, government and public health restrictions, school and childcare closures, and – most of all – the prospects of a second wave of COVID-19. There are many things you need to consider as you plan your return to work strategy. Evaluate your workforce and working arrangements. Assess your workforce and the changes resulting from the pandemic. Have critical roles been created that need to be maintained; for example, have new ways of delivering service and interacting with customers emerged, and is someone in place to monitor workplace hygiene? Do you anticipate further changes in demand for services? Who can continue working from home and who will need to return to the workplace? Do you have enough trucks to continue social distancing and if not, can employees use their own vehicles? Additionally, the return of your workforce may need to be phased. Revaluate your mental health programs. Many working from home have indicated that their work days have been longer and more stressful with the increased volume of emails and calls. For those expected to return to the workplace, health and safety concerns are top of mind. Do you need to consider additional mental health supports? Get familiar with the safety guidelines in place. Continue to follow any safety recommendations made by governmental and healthcare agencies. Do you need to maintain physical distancing at work? Do you have to cap the number of employees onsite at one time? What personal protective and testing equipment should you provide? Ease the transition through flexible work options. You might find that some employees enjoy working from home, and some might have to continue to do so to accommodate child or elder care responsibilities. Some employees may be navigating health concerns. If an employee expresses concerns about a full-time work schedule, consider options for working from home, working flexible hours, or working part-time. Be openminded and creative.

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Communicate with your team. In the days before your workplace re-opens, communicate with employees to ensure they have everything they need for a successful return. Some may have lost child care options previously available and may be anxious about locating new resources. Assist them to connect with the right department or resources to help them meet their needs. When you’re back at work, make time for one-on-one catch-ups to check in on well-being and workloads. It is also a good idea to include a “Welcome Back” meeting for all team members. Seeing friendly faces will probably be a welcome change for those who have been working at home during the pandemic. Review compensation. Review the total cost of your workforce (e.g. on/off balance sheet workers, direct costs, indirect costs) and how you can reduce these costs over the short, medium and long-term. Do you need to reconsider bonus, equity-based programs and salary increases for the coming year? Plan your compensation strategy ahead and be prepared to have those discussions with employees. Be transparent. Reassess performance expectations. What we were holding employees to pre-pandemic may no longer be relevant. Do you have an adequate approach in place to handle performance reviews and discussions? Are there ways you can support both managers and employees to ensure that performance expectations take into account the new working and business environment? There are many aspects to a return to work plan that need to be considered. Although it is impossible to predict exactly what the new normal will look like or how long it will last, being prepared to provide a safe and flexible work environment will go a long way towards lowering negative impacts.

Planning your return to the workplace? Our advisors at Grant Thornton can help you plan for a smooth and safe return: Nicole Deveau National Leader, Human Capital Management Nicole.Deveau@ca.gt.com +1 902 835 5601 Brent Jackson Director, Power & Utilities Brent.Jackson@ca.gt.com +1 416 360 3067

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CON::NECT EVENTS SERIES

Continuing to Connect you with Expertise, Virtually and Otherwise Events programming was perhaps the most immediately and significantly impacted of association service offerings when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The EDA was fortunate to have hosted its signature ENERCOM conference, AGM and Awards Gala shortly before social distancing measures became necessary (see photos on pages 19 and 24-25). Since then, we have adapted our CON::NECT event series to meet emerging member needs and to maintain regular offerings, with appropriate safeguards for the health of all involved. As the situation remained dynamic at the time of writing, readers are encouraged to check for updates regarding future events at: www.eda-on.ca/EVENTS

Focusing on Pandemic Insights

CUEE is Canada’s largest trade show and marketplace for utility products and services.

Planning Remains Underway for CUEE

Through the spring, we were very pleased to partner with platinum and gold sponsors, Grant Thornton and Aird & Berlis, to offer a webinar series geared to key issues confronting EDA members as a result of the pandemic.

Planning remains underway for CUEE – the Canadian Utilities Equipment and Engineering show – scheduled for September 29-30 at the International Centre in Toronto. We are at the same time closely monitoring the progression of the pandemic and its implications for this once-every-two-year event, which is Canada’s largest trade show and marketplace for utility products and services.

These virtual events attracted more than 500 participants, who gained insights that included how to manage various legal and workplace issues, and LDC-specific financial implications arising out of the pandemic. The EDA thanks the sponsorexperts who made this possible. Webinar recordings are available for EDA LDC-member reference at no cost (contact mmacura@eda-on.ca to arrange access).

The latest and greatest in utility equipment, technology and other services from hundreds of suppliers will be showcased across more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. CUEE is a must for anyone working in the utility, infrastructure or community development sectors. For exhibitor and registration details please visit: www.eda-on.ca/EVENTS/CUEE-2020

Also this Fall: Member Forum and Women Connected Pandemic conditions allowing, lots more is on-deck for the fall, including two events re-scheduled from the spring. These are our annual Women Connected event, an educational and inspirational opportunity focusing on the personal and professional development of women in electricity, and a member-only Mergers and Acquisitions Forum, presented in partnership with Grant Thornton and Aird & Berlis. Women Connected is expected to take place in November. Check back at www.eda-on.ca/EVENTS for specific date confirmations and registration information for both of these events.

www.eda.on.ca

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Unfortunately, all EDA District AGMs, normally held in September, have been postponed to 2021. Alternative means by which the districts can conduct necessary business – including election of directors for the 2021/23 term – were being assessed at the time of writing. For more information on our CON::NECT Event Series and to discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marica Macura, Director, Member Relations and Events at 905-265-5346 or mmacura@eda-on.ca.

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Canada's largest utility exhibition.

Will you be there?

September 29-30th ∙ The International Centre ∙ Toronto, ON Pre-register now for FREE

Book Your Exhibit Space

CUEE is your one-stop-shop for everything utility related! With over 175 unique exhibitors showcasing products and services relevant to the utility sector, come see and demo the newest and most innovative equipment, tools and products first-hand!

With over 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space, CUEE showcases over 45 different categories of products and services relevant to the utility sector. Get exclusive access to over 3000 attendees.

Discover state-of-the-art products and services that can increase your company's productivity, achieve operational efficiencies and boost profitability. Contact the EDA to register today.

Don't miss out − book your booth today! www.eda-on.ca/EVENTS


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The Distributor Summer 2020  

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