CEA Member Utilities Improve Overall Sustainability Performance in 2008



    OTTAWA, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Canadian Electricity Association
(CEA) and its member utilities released the inaugural Sustainable Electricity
Annual Report outlining the overall sustainable development performance of the
electricity industry in 2008. The Sustainable Electricity program, launched in
February 2009, commits CEA members to pursuing business activities in a
sustainable manner so that the industry can meet the needs of present and
future generations. In order to ensure full transparency with industry
stakeholders, the Sustainable Electricity program is guided by a Public
Advisory Panel, chaired by the Honourable Mike Harcourt, 30th premier of
British Columbia. The panel is comprised of distinguished Canadians with
diverse experiences in government, academia, environmental non-governmental
organizations, industry, and the Aboriginal community.
    "The release of the inaugural Sustainable Electricity annual report marks
an important milestone in our efforts to be transparent and to communicate our
sustainable development performance to stakeholders", said Pierre Guimond,
President and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association. "We want the
electricity industry in Canada to be recognized as a true sustainability
leader around the world," he added.
    While challenges remain, the overall sustainable development performance
of CEA member utilities continues to improve. In 2008, absolute air emissions
of sulphur dioxide (SO(2)), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO(2))
declined by thirteen percent, seven percent, and eight percent respectively;
although emission intensity levels remained fairly constant. The decline in
emissions can be attributed to a combination of factors including a higher
level of production from non-emitting generation sources (such as hydro and
nuclear) and decrease in fossil generation in some provinces. Similarly,
health and safety performance of CEA member utilities improved overall, except
in regards to injury severity. The Average All Injury Rate across CEA member
utilities was 2.88 injuries per 200,000 hours worked (a 4.3 percent
improvement over 2007), and the Accident Severity Rate was 21.10 days lost per
200,000 hours worked (a 30 percent increase over 2007). In terms of economic
performance, CEA members continued to invest in new essential infrastructure
to enhance system reliability to meet the needs of current and future
Canadians.
    "Our objective is to encourage companies to continuously improve their
performance and to work towards excellence", said Pat Youzwa, President and
CEO of SaskPower and Chair of the Sustainable Electricity Executive Council.
"This is only the beginning. We are determined to build a sustainable
electricity future for future generations," she added.
    "The Public Advisory Panel is pleased to see proactive initiatives being
taken to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, reduce air emissions,
effectively engage Aboriginal peoples, and to improve health and safety
performance", said Mike Harcourt, Chair of the Panel. "We will work closely
with CEA and its members to continuously improve sustainability performance
and to ensure that the program principles are fully adhered to", added Mr.
Harcourt.

    CEA members generate, transmit, and distribute electrical energy to
industrial, commercial, residential, and institutional customers across Canada
on a daily basis. A national industry association, CEA includes all facets of
the electricity industry from vertically integrated electric utilities and
power marketers, to manufacturers and suppliers of materials, technology and
services. CEA represents the broad interests of this pivotal industry, whose
role in assuring safe, reliable, and competitively-priced energy is essential
to the prosperity of present and future generations.

    The 2008 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report is available at
www.SustainableElectricity.ca

    
    MEDIA BACKGROUNDER
    2008 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report
    Under embargo until August 6, 2009, 11:30 AM

    Overview
    
    The Inaugural Sustainable Electricity Annual Report outlines the overall
sustainable development performance of Canadian Electricity Association (CEA)
members in 2008. CEA members generate, transmit and distribute electrical
energy to industrial, commercial, residential, and institutional customers
across Canada on a daily basis. A national industry association, CEA includes
all facets of the electricity industry from vertically integrated electric
utilities and power marketers, to manufacturers and suppliers of materials,
technology, and services.
    Launched February 19, 2009, Sustainable Electricity is an industry-wide
sustainability initiative developed and implemented by the electric utility
members of CEA. The program, implemented under the strategic guidance of the
CEA Board of Directors, addresses the three components of sustainability -
environment, society, and the economy - enabling the electricity industry to
take a holistic approach to managing its impacts to secure a collective energy
future. CEA and its member utilities consider sustainable development to be so
important that participation in this program is a condition of CEA membership.
Through Sustainable Electricity, CEA members have made a commitment to
continuously improve their overall sustainable development performance and to
report progress in a transparent and timely manner. The Sustainable
Electricity program is guided by a Public Advisory Panel, chaired by the
Honourable Mike Harcourt, 30th premier of British Columbia.

    
    Sustainable Electricity is comprised of the following four main elements:

    -   CEA utilities must commit to the Policy for Sustainable
        Development - Corporate Responsibility
    -   CEA utilities must report annually on environmental, social, and
        economic performance
    -   The program will be guided by an external Public Advisory Panel
    -   Each utility must undergo independent external verification
    

    Through the Sustainable Electricity program, CEA member companies will
pursue practices and innovative business strategies to meet the needs of
members, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders, and the communities in which they
operate, while ensuring that they enhance the legacy they leave for future
generations.

    2008 Sustainability Issue in Focus

    The refurbishment of existing and the building of new infrastructure is
of paramount importance to CEA members; thus, the 2008 Sustainable Electricity
report provides an overview of this critical issue. Existing electricity
infrastructure in Canada is aging and demand for electricity continues to grow
due to population and economic growth. At the same time, the electricity
industry is facing a wide range of other challenges, including managing the
effects of climate change and the need for protection of biodiversity. These
are challenges that Canada's electricity industry must address in a
sustainable manner if Canada is to maintain its current standard of living and
continue to enjoy reliable, cost-effective electricity in the decades ahead.
The current economic downturn, while potentially causing a reduction in power
consumption in some provinces in the short-term, is not expected to
substantially affect long-term requirements. The International Energy Agency
estimates that in order to meet electricity demand in 2030, Canada will
require total investment in electricity generation, transmission, and
distribution of roughly $CAN 238 billion (2007 dollars). This amounts to
nearly $12 billion per year over the next 20 years - roughly equivalent to the
amount of annual investment that occurred during the investment boom of the
1970s and 1980s. Electricity is a fundamental driver of the Canadian economy.
It constitutes almost one-quarter of all the energy used by Canadians; in most
applications, there is no viable substitute. Reliable, cost-effective
electricity supply is vital for the economic growth and future prosperity of
Canada.

    2008 Sustainable Development Performance

    The overall 2008 sustainable development performance of CEA member
utilities was largely positive in many areas, including reduction of air
emissions, protection of biodiversity, early engagement of stakeholders and
Aboriginal people, and advances in energy efficiency and conservation.
However, there remain many challenges, from addressing climate change and
greenhouse gas emissions to enhancing system reliability by building necessary
infrastructure to replace aging assets.

    
    2008 Key Performance Highlights:

    -   CEA member companies had zero environmental non-compliance fines.

    -   Sixty five percent of CEA member companies reported they have a plan
        in place to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

    -   Between 2007 and 2008, absolute gross emissions of sulphur
        dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2)
        declined by 13 percent, 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

    -   The total number of priority spills fell to an all-time low of 67 in
        2008, down 37 percent from the 107 spills reported in 2007.

    -   Eighty eight percent of reporting CEA members had an ISO 14001: 2004
        consistent Environmental Management System in place at corporate and
        facility levels.

    -   CEA member utilities achieved an annual internal energy efficiency
        savings of 129 GWh and 690 GWh in demand side management.

    -   The Average All Injury Rate across CEA member utilities was
        2.88 injuries per 200,000 hours worked (a 4.3 percent improvement
        over 2007), and the Accident Severity Rate was 21.10 days lost per
        200,000 hours worked (a 30 percent increase over 2007).

    -   CEA member utilities donated over $21 million to registered
        charities.

    -   CEA members invested $6.4 billion to refurbish existing and to build
        new infrastructure, including $3.1 billion for generation,
        $1.5 for transmission, and $1.8 billion for distribution equipment.

    -   Sixty nine percent of CEA member companies had procedures requiring
        early consultation or engagement of Aboriginal peoples during project
        planning.

    2008 Key Challenges

    -   There was a marked increase in all injury severity rates. CEA members
        take this seriously and will put in place measures to address this in
        the future.

    -   Air emissions remain a challenge; however, CEA members are committed
        to improving overall air emissions performance. The 15th Conference
        of Parties meeting in Copenhagen is expected to provide further
        direction on international initiatives for mitigating and adapting to
        climate change.
    

    CEA members are committed to continuously improving their sustainable
development performance. To learn more about the Sustainable Electricity
program and CEA member performance, please visit us at
www.SustainableElectricity.ca





For further information:

For further information: Francis Bradley, Vice President, CEA, Tel:
(613) 230-5027, Cell: (613) 218-6548, Email: bradley@canelect.ca; Louisa Hood,
Senior Advisor, Communications, Tel: (613) 688-2954, Cell: (613) 513-6990,
Email: hood@canelect.ca

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