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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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Now is the Time to Harden Your Grid and Make it More Resilient - Sponsored by: AMERESCO

  It was -15°C in Dallas on Family Day. Spot prices for electricity in Texas jumped 3.466 per cent and more than five million people across the region suffered power outages due to surging demand. The Southwest Power Pool told its members across 14 states to begin controlled outages as demand exceeded supply. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas declared an "energy emergency alert three" after the grid experienced a systemwide failure because the extreme winter weather forced generating units to trip and go offline. Regional utilities experienced outages that lasted for hours. This is what a climate-related risk looks like if you are a utility company or grid operator. Ontario Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) are fortunately investing in grid hardening initiatives such as pole replacement, strengthening and burying power lines, technologies like synchophasors, and operational strategies like load shedding. But efforts intended merely to harden infrastructure are not enough ...

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New Distributor Magazine Focuses on Striking the Balance – Modern and Flexible Regulation

This week, the Electricity Distributors Association was excited to release the digital version of the latest issue of The Distributor magazine. The theme for this issue is local hydro needs modern and flexible regulation and in it we explore whether regulation will enable or inhibit electrification as well as the value versus cost in getting the regulatory balance right.   The issue’s feature articles include Hydro One looking behind the meter for reliability improvement; London Hydro & Sidewalk Labs’ energy management solution where customers get a home scheduler, new hourly rate plan, predictable bill, and access to clean energy; plus, a summary of an EDIST session on integrated voltage management and conservation benefits from Jacob Weninger of Entegrus Powerlines.   Modern and Flexible Utility Regulation Benefits Everyone Local utility companies in Ontario – like all energy distribution companies across the country – are tightly regulated busine ...

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Virtual Reality: The Power of Resiliency

The Power of Resiliency was this year’s theme for the EDA’s annual Electricity Distribution Information Systems and Technology Conference and Exhibition (EDIST) because, in these extraordinary times, local utility companies in Ontario continued to deliver safe and reliable electricity. The resiliency that these utilities demonstrate is supported by constantly evolving information systems and technology, allowing them to provide better value for customers. As one of the EDA’s largest events, we had a successful virtual conference this year, with almost 400 participants. EDIST was, for the first time, launched in a virtual platform, and the team at the EDA worked hard to create an immersive virtual experience where our members, exhibitors and presenters could all connect. COVID-19 has posed some challenges, but the EDA used the opportunity to “think outside the box” to bring EDIST 2021 right to the comfort of your home. If you had the chance to attend this year’s virtual c ...

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Charging Ahead Towards Lower Emissions

If you want to know what Ontario’s largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is, look no further than your carport or curbside. And if you want to know who’s best positioned to help reduce that source – through large scale electrification – look no further than the EDA membership. In Ontario, transportation accounts for fully 38 per cent of all GHGs. Fortunately, there’s huge potential to cut those emissions through wider use of electric vehicles and electrification of mass transit. And that’s beginning to happen. But it has major implications for the electricity supply/demand balance and pricing, and for grid management more broadly. That’s why transportation is the focal point of the first of what is likely to be a series of EDA position papers on electrification. It elaborates on the need for LDCs to play a central role in providing charging and other infrastructure, and in working with the relevant agencies on rate design. Getting that right will n ...

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Indigenous Procurement: The Possibilities for Tomorrow

As part of the Electricity Distributors Association’s 2020 Webinar Series, we partnered with our platinum sponsor and member Hydro One on a December 7 event. The panel discussion highlighted Hydro One’s early successes and challenges with Indigenous procurement, while examining the role such procurement plays in supporting economic recovery in Ontario. Hydro One panelists discussed their commitment to continuing to be a trusted partner and to maintaining relationships with Indigenous communities. They also identified the many facets of Hydro One’s ongoing partnership with Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), and the company’s efforts to offer robust procurement and business opportunities to some of the many remote Indigenous businesses. In supporting economic opportunity in Indigenous communities, Hydro One has made it its mandate to secure contracts within those communities, building in part on the success of its annual Indigenous business fair and ongoing commun ...

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