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Emily Kirk's Articles

Utilities Stepped Up During a Summer of Support!

With fall on the horizon, the EDA wanted to take this opportunity to recognize all the work that our members did throughout the summer to support their customers and the communities they serve. Our members are always stepping up to the plate to help their communities even in these unprecedented times. Here are just a few examples: Energy+ donated $20,000 to the Brant United Way and the Waterloo United Way’s COVID-19 community response fund. The company matched donations made by employees and board members. North Bay Hydro funded the plating of 37 large tree species in three locations across their city. Hydro One donated $25,000 to the Markham Stouffville Hospital for ventilators and in partnership with GlobalMedic delivered 575 critical aid kits to the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Elexicon Energy donated $5,000 to four food banks to help support the community agencies amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Alectra’s employees and customers stepped up for their communitie ...

New Distributor details our sector’s embrace of innovation

Efficient, Resilient and Essential: LDCs are and intend to remain all three. And in the just-released issue of The Distributor magazine, we focus on the crucial importance of innovation in this regard, particularly as the electricity system continues to transform. This issue’s features include: Hydro One is helping to launch the Ivy Charging Network and to make range anxiety a thing of the past for EV drivers in the province. Essex Powerlines is going completely digitalized so that it can better leverage data and become even more customer centric. Halton Hydro, which was awarded the EDA Communication Excellence Award earlier this year, found an efficient and effective way to engage employees during COVID-19. Kitchener Wilmot Hydro has addressed concerns around safe underground-vault entry and exit. Utilities Kingston, which provides five core service under one roof, is delivering yet more value to customers with a smart thermostat program. Oakville Hydro was inspired by Google Map ...

Scammers continue to target hydro customers during pandemic

Throughout the summer many utilities across Ontario have been reporting fraudsters trying to scam their customers. This has included threatening customers with disconnection, both via text and directly at the door, and offering purported ‘assistance’ on energy savings. Utilities such as Orangeville Hydro are reminding their customers that they do not accept payments with Bitcoin or cryptocurrency.  “If you receive a call or email demanding payment by BitCoin, it’s a scam!” Orangeville Hydro warns. “Hang up the call or delete the email immediately.” When a utility account is in arrears, customers will be sent multiple bills. They will then receive a call from a utility employee, followed by a written notice. Another scam that Festival Hydro has become aware of involves fraudsters calling and claiming to be offering assistance on energy savings. North Bay Hydro was similarly made aware that some of its customers were receiving emails and texts with fak ...

EDA’s Frontline Campaign Shines in International Competitions

Local hydro is not only powerful, it’s positively golden. That according to the judges in two international marketing and digital-communication awards programs. This week EDA was very pleased to be notified of gold-level recognition for the current version of its Power of Local Hydro (PoLH) awareness and advocacy campaign. The campaign was refreshed last year and focuses on the crucial role of EDA members “On the Frontlines of Power”. The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. The gold-level designation for the EDA campaign is in the category of “Strategic Programs – Public Relations Campaign”, and acknowledges the success of PoLH’s overall strategic purpose, objectives, and implementation. The dotCOMM Awards is an international competition honouring excellence in web creativity and digital communication. The gold-level designation ...

ENWIN - Front-Line Worker Profile

It takes a certain kind of person to embrace front-line work for an electrical utility. And you don’t always know in advance if you’re going to be that person. Destiny spoke to Tim Stratichuk on his 63rd day at ENWIN. Working as an electrician/journeyman, he knew very little about the company or the sector when a catastrophic ice storm hit Windsor, toppling trees and powerlines, and damaging infrastructure on a broad scale. Within hours, Tim was part of a crew – on the job for days – with no thought of going home until the work was complete and the power restored. Tim describes those days as pandemonium. For him, they were a game changer. “Boy, did I learn fast,” he acknowledges. “You can’t teach that – It’s something you have to live through to understand. The storm happened, and boom, I wanted to stay…. It made my career.” Before the storm, Tim considered ENWIN just a brief stop in his life. He remembers betting some of ...

New Distributor magazine focuses on Powering Excellence

This week the EDA was excited to release the digital version of the latest issue of The Distributor magazine. It includes feature articles on each of this year’s EDA award winners, who were honoured at the February gala. This year the EDA Local Distribution Company Performance Excellence Award, was awarded to Essex Powerlines for accomplishments that included prioritization of the necessary conversion work to simplify its distribution system, reduce inventory, and more. The Communications Excellence Award was presented to Halton Hills Hydro for engaging customers from the outset in its latest Cost of Service rate application, using an innovative approach. It launched an interactive customer engagement website, to inform and collaborate with customers in preparation for the filing. The Customer Service Excellence award was presented to PUC Distribution (Sault Ste. Marie). PUC identified the Ontario government’s AffordAbility Fund Trust program as an effective way to support its custome ...

It’s a Woman’s World Too

Even in 2020, the electricity sector is still seen by many as male dominated. The current edition of The Distributor magazine includes an article looking at this perception – and at current reality – based on interviews with women in a variety of leadership roles across EDA member companies. Each of them have long track records in electricity, and they reflect on the progress towards gender equity to date. At one interviewee’s utility, for example, women represent more than a third of the management team and more than half the board. And our own president and CEO here at EDA is among the growing number of female senior executives in electricity. When discussing the barriers that have been broken down, the interviewees credit the many women who came before them for clearing the path forward. As in other industries, one can imagine it was not always an easy task. But even with the progress that has been made there is still some ways to go and some gaps to fill. We need to continue ...

Powerline Safety Week - Safety First Saves Lives

As Powerline Safety Week comes to an end we’d like to recognize and reflect on the good work our utility members and their affiliates do across the province, in reminding people of how dangerous powerlines can be and of why it is so important for people to stay away from them. As the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) has underscored this week, even the most seasoned of operators must be careful of powerlines. For example, dump truck drivers should always check for powerlines before they raise their load box, and if they do see a powerline, they should stay three meters away. The ESA would also like to remind people that even downed powerlines could have electricity running through them; and that as the warmer weather comes around, and many of us are pruning trees or cleaning our eavesdrops, we also need to keep a three meter distance from all powerlines. With so many people staying home during the current pandemic, a lot of outdoor improvement projects are no doubt underway and this require ...

Keeping up with COVID-19: The need for digital resilience By: Grant Thornton

Keeping up with COVID-19: The need for digital resilience Our world is evolving at a rapid pace, and organizations who fail to remain agile, or embrace an agile work environment, will no doubt be left behind. At the core of an organization lies a need for digital resiliency. Digital resilience is a fundamental understanding of your core technology combined with cyber risk management in order to adapt for long term success of the organization. While your strategy may be built and managed at the top, it is important that everyone understands the role they play and the risks that come with poor execution. It’s important to consider the following: What technology is essential to retain the day-to-day operations of your organization? What technology do you rely upon to maintain business? What technology will you require in the future to increase business? Have you completed a detailed risk assessment of potential threats against your company? Do you regularly rev ...

National Volunteer Week – Recognizing the EDA’s exceptional volunteers

As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to recognize EDA’s outstanding members and all the volunteer work they do. We now live in a new normal, but that new normal has not stopped the good work that our members do in their communities. Consider these examples: Alectra Utilities has donated to several foodbanks across the GTHA. It also provided 16,800 N95 particulate-respirator masks to hospitals across its service territory to help address shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Bluewater Power is in the process of creating two new Facebook sites called: Bluewater Power’s “The Power of Positivity” and Bluewater Power’s “The Power of Compassion”. These sites are intended to be a way for people to help people. Bluewater Power also hopes that they may help to spread some happiness in these uncertain times. Brantford Power donated 500 surgical masks and 260 N95 masks for healthcare workers in Brantford. Burlington ...

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