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Sari Maritzer's Articles

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Powering Local Communities and Economies

Ontario’s local hydro utilities play a vital economic role. In the newly released issue of The Distributor magazine, we highlight how utilities support businesses and job creation on ‘Main Street’ and beyond. The depth and breadth of these efforts are truly remarkable. In this issue – feature stories include: Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro plays a crucial role in making rapid transit a reality for their local community. Hydro One has been working behind the scenes to provide safe and reliable electricity for businesses and communities and those affected by COVID-19. Hydro Ottawa is powering the nation's capital from A to Z. From energizing Amazon’s newest distribution centre to partnering with the region's first zero-carbon district energy community with Zibi. Oshawa PUC stands in solidarity with their customers to provide efforts to minimize economic pain for their customers during the first phase of COVID-19. ENWIN Utilities Superheroes, for many years, has sup ...

EDA releases Connecting Devices: A Best Practice Guide for Standardized DER Connections Version 2.

Earlier this month the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) was pleased to release Connecting Devices: A Best Practice Guide for Standardized DER Connections Version 2. The experience of DER proponents and utility experts alike were tapped to inform this guide. This guide builds on the recommendations contained in the first version that we released last year, and you can access it here: https://bit.ly/3n6IusP. The new version of the guide reviews current practices of local hydro utilities/LDCs when connecting distributed energy resources (DERs). The recommendations within the guide deal with: - Enhancing communication with DER proponents and customers - the need for clear documentation, and - regular conferences that will promote information sharing. The recommendations are aimed at improving both customers’ and proponents’ experiences; they are practical, timely, and are readily implementable. We anticipate that operationalizing the guide's recommendations will supp ...

Utilities Show the Power of Local Hydro in their Communities

The EDA is pleased to recognize the community support and contributions made to their customers by our members. Ontario’s local hydro utilities are keeping customers first in all corners of the province and continue to demonstrate the Power of Local Hydro. Here are just a few examples for October: Hydro One partnered to award one coach with the Hydro One Safe Play Award and provide all award recipients with $500 to purchase sporting goods from local Canadian retailers of their choice. Hydro One also alongside the City of Hamilton, Dundas Turtle Watch, and the Royal Botanical Gardens, reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability through the completion of nearly 800 feet of turtle barrier fencing near Cootes Paradise to protect turtle populations. North Bay Hydro participated in the Hospital Walk/Run that raised over $84,000 was raised for the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation at the 14th annual event bringing the total from 2006 to $1.4 million. PUC Services Inc. Who donated t ...

Strong Participation and Discussion at EDA Mergers & Acquisitions Forum

The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) held a successful virtual Forum on October 22 focused on Mergers and Acquisitions. This event saw strong participation from utility executives and board members, government and agency representatives, and commercial entities. The EDA has a long-standing policy that supports LDC consolidation when it is voluntary between two or more willing participants.  “It is our belief that voluntary consolidation considers the best interests of the shareholders, the customers the utilities serve, and the communities in which they operate,” said Teresa Sarkesian, EDA President and CEO. Mergers and acquisitions take place for many strategic business reasons, but most reasons are economic at the core. Whether a transaction involves a utility or a non-regulated entity, the forum provided participants with insights that can be applied to overall business strategies on transactions. Topics covered included: View of a possible future: a renewable opp ...

EDA Industry Excellence Awards 2020 – Acknowledgment, Inspiration, Celebration

In a year unlike any other, demonstrations of excellence abound in the distribution sector. And now is the time to ensure that your utility and staff are recognized for their exceptional efforts and outcomes during 2020. The EDA’s annual industry excellence awards program is open for submissions from now until Monday, January 18, 2021, at 5:00 pm. The categories encompass your utility’s work across various core functions, for the benefit of customers, shareholders and others, and you can submit in more than one. Award winners will be announced at an event in 2021 (details to be confirmed) – where EDA members and senior representatives of our regulators and other key stakeholders will participate. No other awards program more meaningfully or prominently showcases distribution sector’s accomplishments and the Power of Local Hydro. We look forward to seeing your submissions.    Award Categories Corporate/LDC Awards LDC Performance Excellence Award Pub ...