Electrical Utility Excellence Celebrated at 2016 Awards Gala

TORONTO, March 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Top-performing electrical utilities from across Ontario were honoured last night at the industry's awards gala, which took place as part of the Electricity Distributors Association's (EDA) Annual General Meeting.

"In a rapidly evolving system with increasing expectations from customers, we are proud of our utility members for their ability to adapt to change and deliver innovative and valuable services to Ontarians," says Todd Wilcox, Chair of the EDA.

Receiving the award for overall Performance Excellence – sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, was Oakville Hydro. An innovator in occupational health and safety, the utility has a remarkable 830,000 hours worked without a lost time injury and has collaborated with neighbouring utilities on a state-of-the-art shared health and safety system. That level of innovation extends to the utility's overall operations with a new, highly integrated outage manage system, a smart EV charging pilot program and a wireless electric distribution system monitoring project. Oakville Hydro also conducted a record number of commercial and industrial retrofit projects in 2015 – a solid demonstration of its commitment to excellence in energy conservation. All of this work shows in its customer satisfaction rating, which stands at 92 per cent.

Festival Hydro was recognized with the Conservation Leadership award – sponsored by the Independent Electricity System Operator. Ranked ninth in the province for total energy-savings, the utility has built a culture of conservation in the community by developing personal relationships with customers, using effective email marketing tactics and showing the value of conservation in face-to-face conversations with the community at various events. Festival Hydro continues to show its leadership in conservation by collaboration with London Hydro on Green Button – a standard for energy usage data that allows customers to take control of their energy use and become more energy efficient.

Burlington Hydro was recognized with the Communications Excellence award for its 'Shine' and 'Shine. Inside' campaigns that demonstrated the value of electricity to every aspect of community life, while also showcasing the utility as one of the best places to work.  Its powerful marketing tactics and employee engagement initiatives under the two campaigns earned Burlington Hydro multiple industry awards, including Top Employer in the Hamilton-Niagara Region and the Business Excellence Award from the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

London Hydro received two awards – one for Environmental Excellence and the other for Customer Service excellence. The utility took the lead in an industry conference aimed at developing alternative solutions to using molten lead to repair lead cable to save the environment and protect employees – and came up with two solutions that could become industry standards. It was also the first utility in North America to offer a travel rewards program to customers signing up for paperless billing. This unique, outside-the-box promotion tactic resulted in quick uptake and will pay for itself within 12 months of the launch date.

Niagara Peninsula Energy was recognized with the Public Relations Excellence award for its public centennial celebration. To commemorate the landmark achievement, the utility hosted various events – including the unveiling of the new company logo on the Floral Clock, created a micro site with a photo library to tell its story and had a special exhibit at the Niagara Falls Museum to get the community excited and involved in the celebration.

PowerStream's unique advantage power pricing pilot program for residential customers earned the award for Innovation Excellence. The utility offered a low price for off-peak periods and three variable prices for peak use based on actual provincial demand for electricity. To facilitate the program, residents were equipped with an intelligent thermostat and a Zigbee-enabled smart meter to adjust electricity consumption in response to price signals. With customers demanding more choice in services and how they're charged for those services, PowerStream's program illustrates the potential for utilities to adapt their business models to meet customer expectations.

About the EDA
The Electricity Distributors Association is the voice of Ontario's local electricity distribution sector, which consists primarily of municipally and privately owned local distribution companies. The distribution sector delivers power to Ontarians through 5.1 million residential, commercial and institutional customer accounts. The sector employs 10,000 people directly and makes hundreds of millions in direct contributions to both municipal and provincial revenues.

SOURCE Electricity Distributors Association

Image with caption: "Electricity Distributors Association (CNW Group/Electricity Distributors Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160301_C4966_PHOTO_EN_633043.jpg

For further information: Jana Manolakos, Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications, jmanolakos@eda-on.ca | 905-265-5337.


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