Ontario Electricity Distributors Stand Ready to Lead on Conservation

TORONTO, July 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) welcomes today's launch by the Ontario Government of a consultation to develop a new energy conservation framework for the province - as well as the government's indication that it is looking for a larger conservation role on the part of Ontario's electricity utilities.

"We're pleased to see this important first step in developing a new framework," says EDA Chair Rene Gatien. "We're going to need innovative, locally tailored and cost-effective programs to drive the change that Ontarians want to see. Local distribution companies (LDCs) are ready to step up and take on a greater role in the design and delivery of conservation programs for their customers."

With the existing provincial conservation and demand management (CDM) framework expiring at the end of 2014, the EDA has been urging the development of a renewed and longer-term plan to better entrench a conservation culture in Ontario. As consumer-facing and community-based companies, Ontario's LDCs are uniquely positioned to develop innovative CDM programs that are customer focused and well adapted to diverse local and regional circumstances.

This would represent a departure from the current situation of centralized conservation efforts, during which LDCs have been largely restricted to delivery of standardized provincial CDM programs.

"If you want to influence energy consumption, the players closest to the consumer need to be in the lead. With electricity in Ontario, that means local distribution companies," Gatien says. "So today's call for LDCs to take on greater responsibility for provincial conservation efforts makes a lot of sense. And we look forward to helping build a policy framework that will enable us to do that."

A discussion paper released today by the Ministry of Energy, titled Conservation First: A Renewed Vision for Energy Conservation in Ontario speaks to the value LDCs provide as the "face of conservation to their customers" and indicates a commitment to "expanding the role of LDCs in order to better support local needs and innovation". Empowering LDCs with more autonomy, streamlined oversight and reduced administrative burdens is identified as an objective of the new framework.

The distribution sector has proposed a business-based model that will ensure investments drive results, with the right tools and incentives for utilities, partners and customers. The EDA elaborated on this model in a vision document, entitled Innovation from the Ground Up and has advocated for its implementation.

The EDA strongly believes that culture change of the type needed to ensure meaningful energy-use reductions is a sustained and long-term exercise requiring greater policy certainty.  The consultation launched today begins an important dialogue with the potential to set Ontario on such a path, and represents a step in the right direction, Gatien says.

The EDA and its membership will actively participate in the consultations relating to Ontario's new CDM framework. The association will work to ensure this process delivers on the vision outlined today for innovation, effective leadership, and long-term commitment to conservation goals.

About the EDA
The Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) is the voice of Ontario's local electricity distributors, the publicly and privately owned companies that safely and reliably deliver electricity to over 4.8 million Ontario homes, businesses and public institutions.

SOURCE: Electricity Distributors Association

For further information:

Please contact the EDA's Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Kevin Hanson, at (905) 265-5337 / (647) 627-1826.

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