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Emily Kirk's Articles

How Local Hydro Utilities are helping their communities during COVID-19

Across the province local hydro utilities are doing everything in their power to help customers through the difficult circumstances that the ongoing pandemic has created for so many. In particular, utilities are making it easier for those who have lost their jobs, or are struggling to keep up with their bills. Flexible payment arrangements are being made, the regular seasonal moratorium on service disconnections has been extended, and off-peak pricing is being provided around-the-clock. Utilities are also keeping customers informed of available relief measures, via their social media and other channels. EDA member utilities are also reaching out to help their communities more broadly. This week we highlight just a few examples: Last week London Hydro donated 3,000 N95 masks to London’s Emergency Control Group to be distributed to frontline health care workers. The utility also provided $250,000 to the provincial Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) to help customers struggling to pay ...

Working from home: Securing your new workplace

Working from home: Securing your new workplace Working from home is the “new normal” for many businesses and their employees. These arrangements may have been put together quickly and can often involve the use of unsecured devices and remote connections, but there are certain steps you can take to protect your employees and business. We’ve assembled an essential guide for you. Recoginize all the devices used by your employees Remote devices If you have employees working remotely, you should identify what kind of devices they’re using: company-provided PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones and perhaps all of the above. Some of these devices may not be configured securely, either because they were used as a stopgap measure due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, or maybe you never got around to doing it. Due to the lack of opportunity to plan and coordinate alternate work arrangements, there’s a good chance many of the current touchpoints with your business may be unsecu ...

Award-winning excellence on display at last night’s gala

This year’s EDA Excellence Award winners were announced last night. The recipients were once again exceptional examples of innovation, communications and customer service excellence, to name just a few of the categories. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the LDC sector, and their presentation is a highlight of each year’s AGM. Over 300 guests were on-hand at last night’s gala event at the Royal York in Toronto as the EDA’s new Chair Ysni Semsedini, President & CEO of Festival Hydro, unveiled the winners and presented the awards. Essex Powerlines took home top honours with this year’s EDA Local Distribution Company Performance Excellence Award, recognizing outstanding achievement across a range of key performance categories. Its accomplishments included prioritization of the necessary conversion work to simplify its distribution system, reduce inventory, shrink maintenance costs, and reduce its distribution losses. Last nig ...

What to Expect in the Upcoming Legislative Session

The mid-way point in any government’s mandate is an interesting point in time. It usually means beginning the transition of focus from strictly governing to thinking strategically about the next election. However, before they can switch to election mode entirely, this provincial government has a number of challenges to address before facing voters in June 2022. MPPs are returning to the Legislature following their winter break. While this gives the government the chance to propose new legislation, it also gives the opposition parties the chance to challenge the Premier and his Ministers in question period. Dominating the conversations in and around Queen’s Park are labour unrest in education, license plate issues, blockades, and COVID-19 to name a few. The government for its part has offered a bill to aid in delivering on a key priority investment in mass transit in the City of Toronto by streamlining planning processes – including those that involve utilities. They have a chance t ...

ENERCOM Speaker Profile: Hannah Parish General Manager-Head of Ontario Operations, for Lyft

This week’s blog is a speaker profile on Hannah Parish, the General Manager for Lyft, responsible for operations in Ontario. She will be at ENERCOM on Thursday, February 27 talking about The Impacts of Densification on Transportation & Culture. Hannah is a 17+ year business and marketing veteran specializing in developing and rebuilding brands through consumer-focused new product innovation. Her previous accomplishments include launching the ARIV brand and eBikes in Europe for General Motors and launching Voltaren in Canada. She has held various other business and marketing leadership positions in the CPG and Bicycle industries. Her talk will focus on how as our cities densify, and our public and private spaces combine, how transportation fits into our lives must change. From new vehicle types to how we power those commutes, travel will look very different in the next 15 years than it has in the last 5. With our audience she will closely examine the increasing interconnectedness of tr ...

Humans of Hydro One - Midhula De Gannes

Midhula De Gannes has made it her career goal to make positive change in peoples’ lives. As a network management specialist at Hydro One, she is focused on finding innovative ways to modernize the grid and meet the energy needs of Ontarians.  Having seen firsthand how electricity can empower people in rural areas of our province, the young electrical engineer recently took a volunteer position in Kenya to help provide off-the-grid communities with low-cost and sustainable solar-power kits. “The kits made a huge difference in their lives - more than I could ever imagine,” says Midhula. “Many people in these areas had been relying on Kerosene lamps, which are both toxic and a fire hazard. With solar light that’s renewable, clean and cost-effective, children in the community can now do their homework and education really has an opportunity to flourish.” Being a first-generation Canadian, Midhula says she feels a strong sense of responsibility to the commun ...

Hydro Utilities Consistently Recognized as Top Employers

Whether it is local or on the national stage – Ontario’s hydro utilities are consistently ranked or recognized as top employers.  There are many reasons why a company can be credited as a top employer. Characteristics include culture, integrity, credibility, flexibility, and core values. Whatever the criteria, Ontario’s hydro utilities are making and sustaining themselves as career destinations for an ever-increasing diversity of potential employees who have unique skills sets to offer an industry that has a bright future. Across the province and much of Canada, utilities are investing in employee potential. They are focused on professional and skills and trades development by engaging with post-secondary institutions, industry partners, and government to expand their own talent pools. Utilities continue to appeal to potential employees who are naturally community-focused and motivated to help keep the lights on in their cities and towns. However, utilities are also appeali ...

Thank you to the People of Local Hydro!

As 2019 comes to an end, we reflect on all the good work our local hydro utility members and volunteers do in the communities they serve all year round. You are great ambassadors for our industry and truly demonstrate the Power of Local Hydro. You are there when help is needed most: Hydro Ottawa sent frontline workers to Maine and Manitoba to help restore power when they were hit with extreme weather. You are constantly innovating: Energy+ was recognized for their outstanding communications effectiveness, design and e-publishing excellence with an international 2019 APEX Grand Award. Waterloo North Hydro won a Gold Award in the Psychological Safety category and a Silver Award in the Utilities category from Canada’s Safest Employers during a special award ceremony on October 22. And Oshawa PUC Energy Services completed the final milestone of the Toronto Zoo Biogas Project. You are putting customers first: Enwin warned customers about a new scam targeting customers with attempts to extor ...

Why work in the electricity sector?

Working in the electricity sector has many benefits, including playing a key role in keeping the lights on in our communities. Did you know that during a crisis utility workers are among first responders? Utility crews are often among the first on the scene of a disaster. Their hard work and commitment to safety make it possible for other first responders to do their job. They are on the frontlines of power and are responsible for delivering safe, reliable electricity across the province – they help power homes, businesses and industry. From Ottawa to Windsor – Kenora to the GTHA, local hydro utilities put our customers first, making sure they keep your lights on. They plug their customers into a modern, reliable hydro system that works for them. Utility crews are supported by dedicated energy sector professionals in many business functions and units including customer service, operations & engineering, finance & administration, policy & regulatory, safety, environmental s ...

EDA signs MOU with NYPA

  Since extreme weather events are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have formalized arrangements for mutual assistance to restore power after outages, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). With tornadoes, flooding and ice storms all causing power outages in recent years within the service territories served by our local hydro utility members the effort needed to get the lights back on quickly can sometimes be massive. Our members, and their counterparts in neighbouring states, have a long-standing practice of sending lineworkers and trucks from un-impacted areas to help. For our part at the EDA, we’re always pleased to help facilitate that. And we’re glad to formalize that commitment to mutual assistance with the NYPA through this MOU. When a utility is running full-out on restoration efforts, having some extra horsepower from outside its service territory can m ...

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