Electric Utilities Applaud Ontario's Shift in Conservation Strategy

Electricity Distributors Association (CNW Group/Electricity Distributors Association)

TORONTO, March 31, 2014 /CNW/ - The Electricity Distributors Association's (EDA) welcomes the new provincial conservation framework, announced tonight by Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli at the association's annual general meeting.

"The minister's announcement lines up well with what we've advocated for, and we commend him for hearing us and acting on our recommendations," says EDA President and CEO Charlie Macaluso. "If the framework as outlined is fully implemented, we expect to see more locally responsive and effective conservation programming."

Today's announcement responds favourably to the EDA's call for a leadership role for the province's electricity distribution companies in the design, development and delivery of conservation programs. This will harness their demonstrated capacity for innovation, cost-effectiveness and customer responsiveness. And it will mark a departure from the approach to date which relies on mandatory and standardized programs.

Under the new framework, local distributors will be required to deliver conservation programs comprehensively across all types of customers. "This is a major responsibility," says EDA Chair Jim Hogan. "It's also one that we are confident in taking on and believe our members are uniquely well qualified to deliver on."

And while the Ontario Power Authority will retain program approval responsibilities, a new 60-day service guarantee will ensure prompt decisions in this regard. "We're seeing welcome evidence here of an effort to balance scrutiny with efficiency and simplicity," notes Hogan.

Long-term, stable funding will be assured for distributor-delivered conservation programs, likely tied to allocated responsibilities for achievement of an overall target of seven terawatt hours. Programs will be required to demonstrate positive cost-benefit impacts.

Extensive work remains ahead to more precisely define implementation details, including the pending release of ministerial directives to the key regulatory bodies. The EDA and its membership will be closely engaged in this process. The framework will cover a six-year period beginning in 2015 with a mid-term review in 2018.

"There's a lot of work ahead to flesh out this framework, but we are certainly pleased with the direction the minister outlined for us tonight," says Hogan. "This signals a very significant shift in Ontario's conservation strategy - and it puts the prime responsibility in the hands of local utilities who are best equipped to deliver on the province's conservation needs. "

The Electricity Distributors Association is the voice of Ontario's local electricity distributors, the publicly and privately owned companies that safely and reliably deliver electricity to nearly five million Ontario homes, businesses and public institutions.

SOURCE Electricity Distributors Association

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Kevin Hanson
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