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The Time is Now to Take Our Moonshot - Sponsored by: AMERESCO

Jim Fonger, VP Asset& Advanced Technology Development, Ameresco jfonger@ameresco.com If, like me, you are of a certain age then you watched the Jetsons as a kid. Believe it or not that little cartoon successfully predicted the advent of video calls, robot vacuums, smart watches, drones, holograms, tablets, and flat screen TVs. But the thing everybody really wanted was the flying car.  I really like my electric vehicle and it looks like a Jetson car, but it does not fly.  I bought my EV and made other changes to my lifestyle because I am greatly concerned about one thing the Jetsons did not predict: climate change. At last count 1,935 jurisdictions in 34 countries have declared a climate emergency, according to the Climate Emergency Declaration. This reflects the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that we have only 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. Beyond this would significantly worsen the risk to hundreds of millions of people of extreme ...

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LDC Sector Celebrates Winners & Nominees at 2021 EDA Excellence Awards Gala

On May 20, over 200 members attended the EDA Awards Gala to celebrate LDC excellence in the sector. Thank you to EDA Board Chair Chris White, President and CEO of ERTH Corporation, for hosting the event, and to our corporate and event sponsors for their generous contributions. Hat offs to our LDC members for all the amazing work you do in the communities you serve. That’s why, this year, every LDC member will be recognized as a winner of the Public Electrical Safety Excellence Award, sponsored by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Congratulations to this year’s award winners in the following categories for all your hard work and well-deserved recognition: The LDC Performance Excellence Award recognizes outstanding performance in occupational health and safety, operations, finance, conservation, and contributions to the community. This year it was awarded to Entegrus Powerlines for accomplishments that included a comprehensive health and safety management system worthy of IHSA CORTM 2 ...

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Operational Technology (OT) at Risk: Key Takeaways Following the Colonial Pipeline and Oldsmar Water Treatment Breaches - Sponsored by: Grant Thornton

The latest breach to the Colonial Pipeline highlights the importance of cybersecurity in critical infrastructure. Following the ransomware infection, Colonial had to shut down its pipeline control system—which is responsible for approximately 45 per cent of the fuel for the East Coast of the US. This comes as the municipal water facility for Oldsmar, FL is recovering from a breach where an attacker attempted to raise sodium hydroxide levels in the water being treated to levels that could harm its residents. Although the Colonial breach details are not fully known, the Oldsmar breach occurred due to weak access controls and the use of insecure remote access software. Key takeaways: The Oldsmar breach was thwarted because a water utility technician noticed irregularities in changes to the sodium hydroxide level in the utility’s control system. The question is: how well are utilities proactively monitoring their OT environments for cybersecurity events? Luck should not be a factor in identif ...

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Minister Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Congratulates the EDA's LDC Award Winners

The following statement from Minister Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines was presented at the 2021 EDA Award Gala on May 20:   Statement by Minister Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Electricity Distributors Association Virtual Awards Event    On behalf of the Ontario government, I want to extend our congratulations to today’s award winners. Recognition of your service to Ontarians is well deserved.  I’d like to thank the Electricity Distributors Association and its members for your commitment, dedication and remarkable flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This has been an extraordinary year for Ontario’s electricity sector. The EDA’s members have remained nimble, resilient and committed to managing this evolving and complex environment. As the closest point of contact for Ontario’s electricity customers, your efforts helped to ensure that supply continued unin ...

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Advanced Meter Data Management and Utility Analytics: Beyond Meter-to-Cash – Sponsored by Utilismart

Utilismart Corporation is hosting a webinar on Thursday, May 20, where they will unpack what the future for utilities looks like beyond meter-to-cash. Experts from Utilismart will take a deep dive into some of the challenges, opportunities, and steps utilities in Ontario can take to leverage advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for efficient grid monitoring to improve grid visibility while looking at ways to reduce operational costs. Utilities will be able to gain greater insights into their distribution grid by understanding how they can leverage data analytic solutions that will allow them to engage and serve their base better.  This session will demonstrate how advanced utility analytics can enable utilities to journey towards a data-driven, digital utility. Specific topics include: Engineering analysis Asset performance (transformer and voltage monitoring) Grid visualization Outage management Interoperability Innovation Data confidentiality and security Utilities of today ...

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LDCs Should Capitalize on Low Interest Rates and Decarbonization Mandates - Sponsored By: AMERESCO

Jim Fonger, Vice President Asset Solutions Strategy + Outreach, Ameresco jfonger@ameresco.com Large energy consumers across the commercial and industrial (C&I) and municipal, academic, school and hospital (MASH) customer segments are making sustainability a priority because of stakeholder pressure and growing investor requirements to demonstrate alignment with Paris Agreement goals.  Key stakeholders are putting pressure on organizations to report environment impact awareness and commit to aggressive carbon reduction targets.  Companies are setting ambitious carbon targets and looking for partners to help meet these goals by providing technology expertise, advisory services, and no-CAPEX low-cost financing.  This is a perfect opportunity for local distribution companies (LDCs) and capable private sector partners to step in to fill this void with a self-financed, decarbonization service.   Energy as a Service (EaaS) options meet customers’ sustainability and defe ...

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Local Distribution Excellence Shines Bright in Ontario

The EDA Awards Gala Celebrates LDC Achievements In a year unlike any other, excellence abounded throughout the electricity distribution sector in Ontario, and our EDA Awards Gala was an annual celebration of the many noteworthy achievements of our LDC members. We developed this virtual gala with one thing in mind – to bring our amazing community together to celebrate the outstanding projects, organizations, and people in our industry. The EDA would like to congratulate all the EDA excellence award nominees – because you are all winners in our book. The multiple nominations in each award category are summarized below.     LDC Performance Excellence The LDC Performance Excellence Award recognizes the outstanding performance of a local electricity distribution utility member of the EDA for distinction in multiple categories including occupational health and safety, operations, finance, conservation, and contributions to the local community. Nominees: Entegrus Hy ...

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The Future of Distribution Utility Consolidation in Ontario - Sponsored by: Grant Thornton LLP

For the past few decades, the Ontario electricity distribution market has seen significant consolidation – with minimal changes to the process. Key aspects like rationale, deal process, and documentation have remained relatively unchanged; however, in the past ten years, we have noticed a shift in the following: Priorities – There is equal emphasis on innovation, customer impact and future proofing the entire organization, whereas in the past, the priority was solely financial gain. Regulatory impact – As a result of the changing OEB regulations and the downward pressure on rates and return on equity, there has been an increased requirement for additional financial analysis to ensure no harm to the ratepayers as well as an increased rationale towards diversification. Diversification – Many merger partners are looking for non-regulated capabilities, and/or increased financing capacity to be used for non-regulated opportunities/innovation. This has shifted a significant portion of the business ...

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Will Regulation Enable or Inhibit Electrification?

          Electricity is clearly going to fuel a great deal more of our economy and day-to-day lifestyles moving forward. This makes good economic sense – as those who have calculated the long-term payback on an electric car know – and is essential to achieving our climate change objectives. Local distribution companies (LDCs) are both electricity suppliers of this more important-than-ever commodity, and they have expertise and relationships that will be crucial to broadening its use. Local utility companies in Ontario are trusted by customers and have detailed insights into complex supply and demand conditions; they own the infrastructure via which growing electricity demand will be met; and they are natural partners to the municipalities who are often driving electrification in contexts such as transportation. It’s a good position to be in. But for LDCs to fully seize this opportunity – and for them to effectively manage the daunting ...

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Hydro One Looks Behind the Meter for Reliability Improvement

Hydro One distributes electricity to 1.4 million customers over a massive 961,000 km² service territory. This means Hydro One serves just over two customers per square-kilometer served. Some of these areas include heavily forested terrain, significant off-road areas and no tie capability, leading to a lack of redundancy in certain parts of the system.  While Hydro One is installing equipment to better pinpoint the location of outages and to decrease response time, some customers in remote locations still experience a disproportionate number of outages. Until now, there have been very few ways to level this disparity. Recently innovations in home battery energy storage have made new solutions possible to improve reliability for outlier customers. In August, Hydro One received regulatory guidance, as part of the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Innovation Sandbox, to engage in a pilot project to remediate outage disparities for outlier customers through behind the meter home batteries for ...

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